Australian Politics 2022-10-30 09:22:00


Mayor leads push to bring back Queenslander-style homes in flood-prone regions

Traditional Queensland timber homes are very prestigious in Brisbane.  I live in one. Vast sums are being spent by their owners to renovate them. Building new ones is a problem, however.  They were built when timber was cheap.  It is no longer.  New ones would cost a bomb

Homes on stumps – such as the traditional Queenslander-style house – would be built in place of concrete-slab developments under a push from local government to boost flood resilience.

Townsville City Council – led by Mayor Jenny Hill – is calling for local governments to have more powers to block slab-on-ground developments in high-risk flood zones.
Fellow councils have backed the move, with a motion passing at a recent Local Government Association of Queensland conference calling for the state government to introduce law changes.

“When you looked at Townsville, in a lot of the older areas, people built on stilts,” Ms Hill said.

“And when we went through some of the flooded areas in 2019, a lot of people who were in highset homes that particularly hadn’t built in underneath were able to stay in place for the few days required until the water levels got down.”

Deputy Premier and Planning Minister Steven Miles said councils had existing powers to stop development in flood areas, but he was open to ideas on how to bolster them.

Ms Hill said the “Queenslander” home was a great example of what could be built instead of slabs – pointing out that they were constructed on stumps with water able to flow through. She also suggested building codes needed to change to ensure homes could be built in a certain way.

The motion that passed the LGAQ conference called on the state to make law changes to allow councils to prevent slab-on-ground developments in areas where “sufficiently detailed mapping” showed there was a high flood risk.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said his council asked for proposed housing developments in flood-prone areas to be lifted as part of their planning rules.

“But I guess this particular LGAQ motion points out … there is very little prohibited development in Queensland,” Mr Schrinner said.

“By prohibiting certain types of things in the planning scheme, it gives councils more power when it comes to unacceptable development outcomes.

“People have, I think, over time, lost the reason why the ‘Queenslander’ house was the ‘Queenslander’ house. “It was designed for our climate, for our challenges, for flood-prone areas – and that’s why ‘Queenslanders’ were on stilts effectively, and not on a slab on the ground.” 

Mr Miles said that local councils, through their planning schemes, were already able to set minimum floor levels or ensure that development did not occur in flood areas.

“That said, I’ll always consider feedback from councils and will ask my department to look at ways this can be streamlined,” Mr Miles said.

“We’re also working to make our communities more resilient to flooding.

“For example, following flooding across (the) southeast earlier this year, the $741m Resilient Homes Fund includes retrofitting or raising single-storey existing housing.


Petticoat tyrants running faculty recruitment in Australin universities

Males need not apply for many university teaching jobs

ANU is not alone with its women-only recruiting. Swarms of other universities are at it too. Australia’s 40-year legal progress towards equal opportunity for males and females is white-anted by these progressive academics (the same ones who aren’t sure who’s a woman in the first place). Their flimsy rationale is to level up the sex ratios in their fields.

How successful are the women-only ads at hoovering up qualified women? Not very, apparently.

In November, the RMIT node [2] of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems provided feedback from its “women-only recruitment round”. This involved 13 women-only jobs and two “First Nations” slots (any gender). Maybe “First Nations” males in academia count as honorary females. Using the insane leftist jargon now blanketing academia, Chief Operations Officer Dr Mary Gray began by announcing how

“Patriarchy and racism are systems that exclude women, people of colour, and those living with disability from accessing the full benefits of the post-industrialised workforce.”

I feel sorry for Dr Gray because her centre rashly set a target of 40 per cent woman researchers by 2026 and now “we are being held accountable to this target by the Australian Research Council.”

Her recruitment exercise included beating away pathetic male optical physicists and engineers, many of whom — desperate for consideration — insisted on applying anyway. Qualified women hung back, needing strokes and reassurance, forcing the recruiters into what Dr Gray called “dozens and dozens of conversations.” In the end they got 311 applicants and filled a meagre five positions with women (37.5% of the advertised jobs). “We consider this an outstanding achievement, especially in the context of 2020!” she wrote, referring to covid issues.

Their attempt to fill an Aboriginal-only optics job at ANU was aborted as just too hard. I guess Aborigines with transformative meta-optical expertise aren’t all that thick on the ground, even in Canberra let alone Wadeye. Dr Gray says that on the challenge of recruiting women

"We appear to be in a position of an ugly compromise between delivering on our scientific objectives and building our diverse workforce. Globally there are enough women, with the right expertise to fill every single postdoctoral position in our Centre! However, Australia has been one of the world’s most locked-down countries globally and, in our disciplines, we are reliant on the international job market. Effectively, the pandemic has reduced the flow of new postdoctoral students and researchers into Australia to a trickle and competition is fierce to obtain women researchers. 

The competition is excellent for women, which we applaud … In practice, we have struggled to stick to our gender target in 2021. We must keep proving that it doesn’t have to be research goals versus diversity goals. The big picture objectives of building a diverse workforce for research excellence and the creation of transformative technologies in meta-optics is paramount. Integrity, accountability, and taking steps forward to recruit more women when international travel resumes is a priority for 2022 and 2023."

All this women-only monopolisation might be lawful, but it doesn’t pass the pub test. The legislative loophole was designed, according to the Human Rights Commission, for helping groups “who face, or have faced, entrenched discrimination so they can have similar access to opportunities as others in the community.” ANU-wise, there aren’t a lot of women, women-identifiers and LGBTQIA+s with space-optic ambitions now sleeping rough in Petrie Plaza after being cruelly knocked back for space jobs. Probably young women just don’t care about space-optics, and gravitate instead to school-teaching, law, health careers or Virgilian poetics.

There’s no university push to encourage males into female-dominated sectors, let alone go the whole hog and offer male-only student admissions and male-only faculty positions. More on that aspect shortly.

You might be wondering how the female-only ads square with equal opportunity – considering that they give males zero opportunity. Well, all the various Acts have permitted exemptions or “special measures”, originally intended for women’s refuge staffers or corsetiers and the like. They were uncontroversial despite their broad wording.

For example, the Federal Sex Discrimination Act has a get-out clause (7D) saying an employer “may take special measures for the purpose of achieving substantive equality between men and women” and between, for example, “women who are breastfeeding and people who are not breastfeeding.” [Disclosure of interest: I am among the “people who are not breastfeeding”].

The Victorian Act equivalent, similarly, says (S12) “special measures” are “for the purpose of promoting or realising substantive equality for members of a group with a particular attribute.”

From 2015 the universities began using the loophole for their women-only ads. Initially, there were doubts in legal circles that they’d get away with it. Employers in Victoria invoking the “special measures” in effect got a letter of comfort from Victoria’s Equal (sic) Opportunity and Human [i.e. Female] Rights Commission as follows:

“A university may identify an inequality – that women are under-represented in its academic workforce within a particular faculty. The causes of the under-representation may include a lack of female candidates for positions, a lack of female academic staff to act as role models, unconscious bias in recruitment practices or other societal and organisational-specific factors.”

The Australian Human Rights Commission defined “identified positions” , e.g. for women only, as helping “people who experience disadvantage to access equal opportunity in employment.” In fact, a woman associate professor ensconced in a useless gender studies department suffers no disadvantage over not being in a STEM area. The women-only push is coming from employers who feel disadvantaged by having too many blokes around. No bragging rights there. The Victorian commission in a case study actually rules out a co-ed high school offering an academic scholarship for girls under 14, on the basis that such girls don’t have any disadvantage and the school is really just doing a marketing exercise to attract girl students.[3] 

Note that the Victorian HR Commission has shown no interest that in Victoria in 2019, male students were only 24% in university school-education courses (27% nationally), 27% in health (26%), and 31% in “Society and Culture” (34%), according to  data from the federal Department of Education. In the hot-button field of “natural and physical sciences”, women students are well represented nationally at 51%. Conversely, they’re slightly under-represented in management/commerce (46%) and architecture (41%), and greatly under-represented in IT (19%), and engineering (18%).

Overall, universities have become bastions for female students. For domestic (non-overseas) undergrad and post-grad students (total 1.086m in 2019), the ratio is 59% females to 41% males. Yet universities continue to cosset female students with “women’s centres” and other privileges not offered to males.

In pre-school teaching, males nationally comprise a near-invisible 2% versus females’ 98%, according to last year’s census.[4]

WA sports a mere 27 men pre-school teachers vs 3507 women; NSW and Victoria combined muster a mere 448 men pre-school teachers vs 16,768 women. Not much of that oh-so-necessary “diversity and inclusion” there. But imagine the clamour from feminists if a pre-school tried to correct these gross imbalances via “men-only” recruitment ads. Indeed, men seeking pre-school and primary teaching roles would have a valid case of discrimination, given the general unfounded fear that they might sexually abuse children. (Another reason they’re opting out is that the only other male employee is often just the gardener). In school teaching, the lack of male teachers is not only concerning but deteriorates annually. Overall, males have slipped in 50 years from 41.3% to barely 28%. ABS 2021 data show that male primary teachers were 20.2% in 2006, decreasing annually to a mere 18.0% last year. In secondary teaching, males have slipped from 43.4% in 2006 to 38.8% last year.

Universities advertising for women-only and gender-diverse-only positions will soon be the new normal. Move along, nothing to see here. You “cis males” can just suck it up. The petticoat tyrants are on the march!


Why an Australian woman does NOT want transgenders competing against biological females who are being 'sacrificed on the altar of woke'

Popular YouTube right-wing pundit Sydney Watson says allowing gender transitioned women who have gone through male puberty to compete in female sports is 'crazy'.

The Melbourne-raised commentator, who has nearly 800,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, said female athletes are being sacrificed 'on the altar of woke' by having to compete with biological men.

Ms Watson, who is visiting family in Australia but has lived in the US since 2019, says that she will calls a trans person by their preferred pronoun but won't pretend they are something they are not.

'I think it's pretty simple, I think there are two sexes male and female,' she told Daily Mail Australia. 'Are trans women women? No,' she said.

'There's an inescapable biological reality that I am not going to deny simply because it makes them feel better.  'We have understood that men and women are fundamentally different for hundreds and hundreds of years. 'They are different, we are different. 

'The fact we deny this in order to appease a very, very small portion of the population and an even smaller proportion of the population who can afford it (to transition) is crazy. 

The 29-year-old said she 'feels' for trans women who can't compete in their sport because 'they don't neatly fit into either category anymore' but that did not make them women.

'You have these biological men, who go through a male puberty and people will not admit this and I do not know why,' she said. 'It is so crazy to me. 

'I realise it is an evolving topic and it is not easy to deal with but I don't think that sacrificing women on the altar of woke is the way to go.' 

She pointed to the examples of trans New Zealand weight lifter Laurel Hubbard, who was the first Kiwi to win international weight-lifting competitions, and US trans swimmer Lia Thomas, who won a national college title in March. 

'For these and other people to absolutely smash their female competitors it is just so regressive,' Ms Watson said.

'They think that's somehow being positive for women and then to post their names and say they are woman of athlete of the year - you're not a woman.' 

Ms Watson said she had no issue with people transitioning and would use the pronouns that people requested or best fit their appearance. 

 'If you are adult and you are making your own choices and it doesn't affect me and I don't have to pay for it and you want me to call you a male or female, he or she, man or woman I will do that for you,' she said.

'But I am not going to say "hey guy, you can participate in female sports if you have gone through male puberty and transitioned after the fact".

'I am not going to say "hey you male, who is completely intact but now identifies as a woman, come into my changerooms".' 

Ms Watson argued that such trans behaviour was actually 'the erasure of women'.

She also thinks that, paradoxically, gender preconceptions are being reinforced by the trans activists.

'In this quest to dismantle stereotypes the regressive left and the trans rights activist movement have actually enforced their stereotypes,' she said. 

'So, if a girl like Tonka trucks, the colour blue, wears baseball caps and plays sports there is a cohort of parents who say "my kid is trans" rather than "hey, my kid really likes that stuff and I am just going to let her do it because it is what she likes".' 

Ms Watson described herself as a utilitarian that wants 'things to make sense'.

'Let's say you have a transgender sports person who is devastated because they love their sport and they can't really play anymore because they have transitioned and they are on hormones it has shifted the game for them,' she said.

'I think we can have compassion for people who don't feel comfortable in their skin, however there is a bigger mental issue at play.

'What these (trans) advocates are advocating for is affecting kids, it's affecting women. it's putting women in danger in some cases it's harming others and I just think why do their interests supersede the rest of the population.'

Ms Watson said that it was important to keep trans issues in perspective. 

'I think the fact that the transexual conversation dominates every area of life and we are expected to walk on eggshells around these people to me is not appropriate,' she said.

'The vast majority of the population does not participate in this and you can sympathise and have empathy but letting them dictate the way we live our lives the language that we use I don't think that is OK.'


Rogue insurers

She was in a bad way when I first spoke to her. “I’m frightened of everything”, she said, crying.

Linda and her husband, Harry, are in their eighties. Two years ago a violent storm sent a huge tree crashing through the roof of their home. Luckily they were unhurt, yet their home was unliveable.

Thankfully, for years they’d diligently paid their home insurance. Even better, it was ‘replacement cover’, which entitled them to a new roof. Or at least it should have.

Instead, the insurance company offered the elderly pensioners a cash settlement. The first offer was for $80,000.

When they rejected it, the insurance company came back with $120,000. They still rejected it. You see, they didn’t want the money – they wanted the insurance company to fix their bloody roof! Yet when they rejected that offer, they were basically put on the bottom of the pile, and ignored.

A few months later Linda tragically lost Harry, the love of her life and her protector. And so for the past 18 months she’s been living alone in temporary accommodation.

“All I want is to move back into my home and feel like I’m around my husband”, she sobbed.

Now generally I like to approach my financial counselling work with a collaborative mindset. Yet this time, the sage advice of my mate Darren (an old chestnut farmer) was ringing in my ears:

“Look, everyone throws around some fertiliser, so you should be gentle most of the time. Yet every now and again you just need to pull out your pruning shears and cut off some nuts.”

So, with pruning shears in hand, I called up the insurance company and started negotiating. Hard.

When it went up the chain, they realised very quickly how badly they’d screwed this one up. And then we waited.

And then they came back with an offer. But this time it wasn’t $120,000 …

It was $370,000 (it turns out it was indeed a total structural write-off). Plus an extra $50,000 for being total jerks.