Australian Politics 2018-05-24 15:45:00

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Now the nanny state wants control of YOUR chocolate bar: Calls for graphic tobacco-style warnings on junk food - with claims 80% of Aussies will be overweight by 2025

Just a small problem:  How do we decide what is "junk" and what is not?  A big Mac was once said to be junk because it contained fat.  But fat is now said to be good for you. A big Mac may be unprestigious but there is no certainty that it is bad for you.  Its bad name seems just pure snobbery

There are calls for graphic warnings, similar to those on cigarette packets, to be introduced on junk food packaging to fight skyrocketing obesity rates.

Health experts want graphic images including fat-covered hearts, to be branded across junk foods after it was revealed 80 per cent of Australians would be overweight by 2025 if drastic action wasn't taken.

The call comes after a study found images like fatty hearts or decayed teeth displayed on packaging would successfully deter someone from making unhealthy choices.

Speaking on Sunrise on Thursday, commentator and lecturer Jane Caro supported the idea. 'It would literally put you off your food,' she said. 'It's proved very effective with [cigarettes] it's something we should look at with junk food.

'I think all of society has to come together and make junk food as socially unacceptable as cigarettes have become.'

Melbourne's 3AW presenter Tom Elliott disagreed. 'Can you imagine going to a kids party and having to display all these pictures of diseased organs?' he said. 'If you have it on junk food how do you separate it from kids and adults. 'If it's up there at a Maccas and kids are being taken to Maccas, kids are not going to enjoy the experience too much.'

The University of Melbourne and Cancer Council Victoria study, which was published on Thursday, found negative text combined with explicit images, was twice as effective at sending a message, than negative text without the image.

For the study, 95 hungry participants were shown colour pictures of 50 different snack foods ranging from chips, chocolate bars and biscuits to nuts, fruits and vegetables.

They were asked to rate on a scale how much they would like to eat each food at the end of the experiment.

In addition, participants' brain activity was monitored with electrodes attached to their heads.

The results revealed the warning labels prompted participants to exercise more self-control rather than act on impulse.

'The study shows that if you want to stop people choosing fatty and sugary packaged foods, health warnings actually work,' said study co-author, Dr Stefan Bode.

'It sheds light on the mechanisms in the brain that underlie the effects of health warning messages on food processing,' Dr Bode said.

Cancer Council Victoria behavioural researcher Dr Helen Dixon said the graphic images worked because they 'disrupt' the strong cues - like taste - that images of junk foods elicit. This then allows a person to consciously consider the health implications of their food choices, she explained.

Obesity Policy Coalition executive director Jane Martin says the use of packaging should be used for good, not for bad. 'This research demonstrates that powerful, relevant information on food packaging can influence people and push them away from junk food,' said Ms Martin.

'Poor diets and being above a healthy weight are risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. To address this Australia needs a comprehensive strategy, which should consider improved labelling,' she said.

The public health advocates have called on the government to make the graphic labelling mandatory, as part of the revised Health Star Rating System.

SOURCE 





Is Bill Shorten going to bring back the boats? Labor leader under pressure to bring 1,341 asylum seekers being held offshore to Australia within 90 DAYS if he's elected PM

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is under pressure from his own party to bring more than 1,300 asylum seekers to Australia within three months if Labor wins the next federal election.

A pro-refugee group from his own Victorian branch is demanding an end to offshore immigration detention, despite such a policy causing a dramatic surge in boat arrivals when Labor was last in government and the deaths of 48 people at Christmas Island.

The motion, revealed by the Guardian Australia, called on a Labor government to 'close offshore detention centres, transit centres and other camps on Manus and Nauru within the first 90 days, and to bring all the children, women and men who are refugees or seeking asylum remaining there to Australia'.

The cross-factional Labor for Refugees group within Mr Shorten's party is putting forward an urgency motion at this weekend's Victorian conference calling for all remaining asylum seekers to be transported to the Australian mainland within three months.

The activists are demanding an end to the detention of asylum seekers at Christmas Island, Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific island of Nauru, which would see 1,341 boat people brought to Australia.

However Bill Shorten said Labor was committed to offshore detention and clarified that state conference motions on border protection weren't binding on national policy.

'Labor's policy on asylum seekers is clear – we will never let the people smugglers back in business,' a spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia today.

'Labor believes in strong borders, offshore processing, regional resettlement and turnbacks when safe to do so because we know it saves lives at seas. 'Resettlement in Australia for those on Manus and Nauru is not an option.'

When Labor last won an election from Opposition a decade ago, it immediately ended the Howard government's Pacific solution.

This led to a surge in boat arrivals, rising from just three in the 2007/08 financial year, to 117 in 2009/10.

Or put another way, the number of asylum seekers surged from 25 to 5,327, figures from a Parliament House research paper showed.

The policy change also coincided with the deaths of 48 people, mainly asylum seekers from Iran and Iraq, as their boat sunk and washed on to cliffs at Christmas Island in December 2010.

Former federal Labor leader Mark Latham described the Labor for Refugees motion as a 'sickness inside Labor'. 'Labor For Refugees want to repeat all these errors, all those deaths,' he told his 64,892 followers on Wednesday.

'It's a tragic example of people losing their marbles in life, blindly putting ideology, a borderless world, ahead of practical policy lessons and common sense.'

The surge of boat arrivals in 2012 led to then Labor prime minister Julia Gillard reopening the Manus Island detention centre.

Since then, seven asylum seekers have died there, including a Rohingya refugee this week.

Ms Gillard's Labor predecessor Kevin Rudd took back his old job in a party room coup in 2013 and soon declared boat people sent to Manus Island would have 'no chance' of ever being settled in Australia.

Department of Home Affairs data shows there were 330 asylum seekers detained at Christmas Island and 269 at Nauru as of March 31, 2018.

It listed a zero figure for Manus Island, however that was because the detention centre there, which previously housed 742 people, was closed down with its residents transferred to the nearby, low-security Lorengau facility.

Were Labor for Refugees motion to become government policy, 1,341 asylum seekers would be brought to Australia.

The Australian mainland is already housing 1,059 asylum seekers, including 101 in Bill Shorten's own Melbourne electorate of Maribyrnong.

SOURCE 





Pauline Hanson claims immigrants are forming 'dangerous ghettos' in Sydney - after Labor leader said white families have been forced to leave a suburb that took in 6000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees

Pauline Hanson says immigrants are forming ghettos in parts of Australia and the situation is becoming so bad there will be 'no-go zones' that even the police will avoid.

Appearing on the Today show on Thursday, the One Nation Party leader praised New South Wales Opposition leader Luke Foley for starting a conversation on the 'white flight' from parts of Sydney.

Mr Foley said on Wednesday white families were being forced out of western Sydney suburbs, such as Fairfield, after it took in 6000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

'I've been saying this and I said it 20 years ago. I said there'll be places in Australia that we won't even recognise as being Australian,' Senator Hanson said.

'I said they're forming ghettos and that is exactly what is happening and people are starting to talk about it.'

Senator Hanson again backed the NSW Opposition leader, and claimed 'people are forced out of their homes that they grew up in'. 'They don't want to live in these suburbs anymore because [immigrants] are not assimilating,' she said.

Senator Hanson warned the situation would only become more extreme as the Australian government accepted more immigrants.

'There'll be ghettos here, and there'll be places like there are in France and Sweden and other countries around the world that will be no-go zones,' she said.

'We won't even go in those places, the police will be told not to go in those zones. Even now, the police don't want to go in those areas. 'Good on Luke Foley, because it needs to be debated.'

Senator Hanson acknowledged it was a sensitive subject, but said it was an important conversation people needed to stop tip-toeing around.

'Let the people have their say. Stop shutting us down because the lefties believe that you're offending people,' Senator Hanson said

Mr Foley said on Wednesday he was particularly concerned about Sydney's south-west suburbs taking in a disproportionate number of refugees and forcing white Australians out.

'It's all right to come up with a grand gesture of we'll take 10,000 Syrian or Iraqi refugees but where's the practical assistance?' he told The Daily Telegraph.

'I'm saying, what about that middle ring of suburbs that have experienced, if anything, just a slow decline. In terms of employment, in terms of white flight - where many Anglo families have moved out?'

'I'm not prepared to see the people of those suburbs denied opportunities that are taken for granted elsewhere.'

In January, it was announced at least half of the 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees coming to Australia would be settled in Fairfield City Council, a trouble-prone area with nine per cent unemployment and high levels of drug use. 

Fairfield and the surrounding area is home to more than 200,000 people, many from non-English speaking backgrounds. Fairfield has settled 75 per cent of the Syrian and Iraqi refugees moving to western Sydney.

One of the fastest growing areas in Australia is Cobbitty-Leppington in Sydney's south-west, due to high immigration. Iraqi-born residents make up more than a third of the recent arrivals, which is more than 10 times the Sydney average of three per cent.

SOURCE 





Sexism? Medical clinic comes under fire for charging patients an EXTRA $7 to see a female GP

Patients have been left outraged after a medical centre charged MORE money for them to see female GPs.

The Melbourne clinic, Myhealth North Eltham, has come under scrutiny after it was found charging patients more for standard consultations with female GPs than it does for a consultation with male GPs.

A sign displayed in the clinic showed the discriminatory pricing policy - and it's attracted criticism online.  

The photograph was uploaded to Twitter with the caption: 'This is so f***ed. My friend goes to Eltham North Clinic in #Victoria, and they've just instituted extra fees for female doctors because "women's issues take longer". Surely this is illegal ... if it's not illegal, it's still outrageously sexist.'

The post was shared online by the user's followers, who also vented their anger.

One user said: 'If you're asking people who are paid 30 per cent less to fill that 30 per cent wage gap, it doesn't help. It means even greater financial inequality for those at the bottom.'

Another added: 'I don't think this is the scandal you think it is. I'd pay more to see a female colleague knowing they get ~30% less take home pay than their male counterparts. On top of fewer opportunities, and institutional/societal sexism.'

According to Fairfax, Federal Health Minister Greg is calling for an urgent investigation of the matter.

Kristen Hilton, Victoria's Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner told The Guardian, the Melbourne clinic may be breaking the law and it can be considered discriminatory for charging patients more to see female GPs.

'It is against the law for doctors to treat someone unfavourably because of their gender,' Ms Hilton said.

SOURCE 





Claims emerge that a mass exodus is afoot at 2Day FM with staff refusing to work with controversial feminist host

Tensions at Sydney radio station 2Day FM are reportedly reaching 'breaking point' after an insider claimed that people just 'can't work' with host Em Rusciano.

The Daily Telegraph reported that 'several people' had departed the show while others were seeking new employment.

A source told the publication: 'Things are at breaking point, people just cannot work with her [Em's] energy. There have been... casualties at the hands of Em Rusciano.' 

The insider added: 'The audio producer is now working on another show, the publicist is refusing to work with her and one of the producers has told the company that they are looking for other work.'

Meanwhile, Em's previous co-host Harley Breen departed the show last November following just one year on air.

The comedian herself has spoken out about the changes at 2Day FM.  Talking to Wil Anderson on his podcast last week, Em expressed her frustrations at the radio station.  Em, 39, claimed the breakfast program was 'her show' and that she has 'taken all these big ego hits' since new co-hosts Ed Kavalee and Grant Den­yer were brought in at the beginning of the year.

She said: 'It was hectic. It was the Em Rusciano Radio Show - it was my show! 'And then all of a sudden Ed's anchoring and the show's called "The 2Day FM Breakfast Show."'

The mother-of-two confessed she was 'hurtling towards an implosion in the next six months' and said the solution to her problems could be to 'leave' morning radio for good. 'I don't think I'm suited to breakfast radio - I struggle with it,' Em added.

SOURCE 

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here



GE Deflocks from the SP 500

It didn't last very long. At all. But it was still beautiful when it happened!

In case you missed it, we're referring to what happened to the stock price of General Electric (NYSE: GE) just one day after it had finally converged with the main flock of stocks that is the (Index: SPX) after months of having so sharply deviated from the trajectory of so many other stocks, where our leading paragraph in this article is a play on the final paragraph in our previous entry!

We live to capture "before" and "after" moments like this, and what happened to GE's stock price on Wednesday, 23 May 2018 was truly a thing of chaotic beauty, because after finally catching back up to the S&P 500, investors collectively decided that GE didn't belong anywhere near it. The following chart shows how decisively investors made that call....

Percentage Change in S&P 500 and GE Stock Price Since 26 January 2018, 26 January 2018 through 23 May 2018

Now, let's talk about why it happened. Something happened on 23 May 2018 to specifically provoke this kind of negative reaction from GE's shareholders and stock market investors, so let's see if we can pinpoint exactly when it happened. The following chart provides a timeline for GE's stock price during 23 May 2018.

GE Stock Price, 23 May 2018, Source: Yahoo! Finance

Shortly after opening, we see that GE's stock price dropped a little over 2% below its previous day's closing value of $15.29 per share. Not great, but also not greatly out of the ordinary for the kind of volatility that GE's stock price has shown since the end of January 2018.

More importantly, we see that after dropping early in the morning, GE's stock price was fairly stable at that lower level. Until about 11:40 AM EDT, when it suddenly dropped nearly another half a percent.

But that downward move would pale against what happened after 11:55 AM EDT, when GE began steadily dropping over the next two and a half hours, losing another 5% of its value before bottoming for the day. It improved a little after that, but by the end of 23 May 2018, GE's stock price had dropped by nearly 7.3%.

So what happened to cause GE's investors to become so demoralized about the company's future prospects so quickly? We can't put it any better than MarketWatch's Tomi Kilgore:

Shares of General Electric Co. plunged in very active trade Wednesday, putting them on track for the biggest selloff nine years, with losses accelerating after Chief Executive John Flannery started talking at an industry conference.

The industrial conglomerate’s stock GE, slid 7.4% in afternoon trade, enough to pace the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s DJIA losers. Volume ballooned to nearly 110 million shares, well above the full-day average of 61.0 million shares, to make the stock the most actively traded on major U.S. exchanges.

The stock was headed toward the biggest one-day drop since it plummeted 7.2% on Nov. 13, 2017 after Flannery, then newly named CEO, unveiled a transformation plan, including the halving of the company’s dividend. It was down only about 2% at 11:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, which was just before Flannery started speaking at the Electrical Products Group conference in Florida.

Ah yes, we're narrowing in on the problem.... What could John Flannery possibly have said at the conference to send GE's stock price into a tailspin?

The Motley Fool gets straight to the heart of the matter:

Shares of General Electric (NYSE: GE) took a dive today after CEO John Flannery cooled off hopes of a speedy turnaround at the struggling conglomerate. He warned that the industrial giant's power division wouldn't see profit growth until 2020, and also said he couldn't guarantee the company would be able to keep paying a dividend.

As a result, the stock finished down 7.3%.

Oops! That kind of statement is pretty much the last thing that investors are ever looking to hear. Especially for a company with a long history of paying dividends. But what exactly did Flannery say? Reuters has that part of the story:

Asked by an analyst if the 2019 dividend was assured, Flannery said that while payout is important to investors, it depended on multiple factors.

“It’s ultimately a function of the free cash flow of the company and that’s ultimately a function of operating performance and things that we do with the portfolio,” Flannery told analysts at the annual Electrical Products Group conference in Florida.

GE’s decision to merge its transportation business with rail equipment maker Wabtec Corp (WAB.N), announced on Monday, was among the changes that could affect the dividend, he said.

“We have to see how this plays out,” he said.

Reuters also describes what investors heard:

Analysts read this as a sign that GE is likely to reduce its dividend, which is 48 cents a share.

“The primary takeaway is the dividend will be cut as assets are sold,” said Jeff Sprague, an analyst at Vertical Research Partners.

“Proceeds from sales have to go to debt reduction. Cash flow from assets sold is obviously gone making dividend unsustainable.”

In the section above, Reuters is referring to GE's annual dividend payout of 48 cents per share. What that tells us is that the following chart, which we first presented just over a week ago, has suddenly taken on increased relevance.

GE Market Capitalization vs Expected Forward Year Aggregate Dividends on Dates of Dividend Change Announcements and Declarations, February 2010 - February 2018

Assuming that investors would continue to set GE's stock price as they have since 2009 with respect to their anticipated annual dividend payouts (as indicated by the dotted blue line on the chart), for its current market capitalization of $123.2 billion at $14.13 per share, GE's closing stock price on 23 May 2018, investors are effectively speculating that GE will further reduce its quarterly dividend by 25% from its current 12 cents per share (48 cents per share annually) to about 9 cents per share (36 cents per share annually).

Or will investors take the stock price even lower in anticipation of even larger dividend cuts that have been suggested at by GE CEO John Flannery's comments? In the next few weeks, GE will declare its next quarterly dividend, which would be the optimal time for the company to change its current dividend policy if they're going to do so, now that investors are well primed for it. We'll revisit the question after they have.

23/5/18: Contingent Workforce, Online Labour Markets and Monopsony Power


The promise of the contingent workforce and technological enablement of ‘shared economy’ is that today’s contingent workers and workers using own capital to supply services are free agents, at liberty to demand their own pay, work time, working conditions and employment terms in an open marketplace that creates no asymmetries between their employers and themselves. In economics terms, thus, the future of technologically-enabled contingent workforce is that of reduced monopsonisation.

Reminding the reader: monopsony, as defined in labour economics, is the market power of the employer over the employees. In the past, monopsonies primarily were associated with 'company towns' - highly concentrated labour markets dominated by a single employer. This notion seems to have gone away as transportation links between towns improved. In this context, increasing technological platforms penetration into the contingent / shared economies (e.g. creation of shared platforms like Uber and Lyft) should contribute to a reduction in monopsony power and the increase in the employee power.

Two recent papers: Azar, J A, I Marinescu, M I Steinbaum and B Taska (2018), “Concentration in US labor markets: Evidence from online vacancy data”, NBER Working paper w24395, and Dube, A, J Jacobs, S Naidu and S Suri (2018), “Monopsony in online labor markets”, NBER, Working paper 24416, dispute this proposition by finding empirical evidence to support the thesis that monopsony powers are actually increasing thanks to the technologically enabled contingent employment platforms.

Online labour markets are a natural testing ground for the proposition that technological transformation is capable of reducing monopsony power of employers, because they, in theory, offer a nearly-frictionless information and jobs flows between contractors and contractees, transparent information about pay and employment terms, and low cost of switching from one job to another.

The latter study mentioned above attempts to "rigorously estimate the degree of requester market power in a widely used online labour market – Amazon Mechanical Turk, or MTurk... the most popular online micro-task platform, allowing requesters (employers) to post jobs which workers can complete for."

The authors "provide evidence on labour market power by measuring how sensitive workers’ willingness to work is to the reward offered", by using the labour supply elasticity facing a firm (a standard measure of wage-setting (monopsony) power). "For example, if lowering wages by 10% leads to a 1% reduction in the workforce, this represents an elasticity of 0.1." To make their findings more robust, the authors use two methodologies for estimating labour supply elasticities:
1) Observational approach, which involves "data from a near-universe of tasks scraped from MTurk" to establish "how the offered reward affected the time it took to fill a particular task", and
2) Randomised experiments approach, uses "experimental variation, and analyse data from five previous experiments that randomised the wages of MTurk subjects. This randomised reward-setting provides ‘gold-standard’ evidence on market power, as we can see how MTurk workers responded to different wages."

The authors "empirically estimate both a ‘recruitment’ elasticity (comparable to what is recovered from the observational data) where workers see a reward and associated task as part of their normal browsing for jobs, and a ‘retention’ elasticity where workers, having already accepted a task, are given an opportunity to perform additional work for a randomised bonus payment."

The findings from both approaches are strikingly similar. Both "provide a remarkably consistent estimate of the labour supply elasticity facing MTurk requesters. As shown in Figure 2, the precision-weighted average experimental requester’s labour supply elasticity is 0.13 – this means that if a requester paid a 10% lower reward, they’d only lose around 1% of workers willing to perform the task. This suggests a very high degree of market power. The experimental estimates are quite close to those produced using the machine-learning based approach using observational data, which also suggest around 1% reduction in the willing workforce from a 10% lower wage."


To put these findings into perspective, "if requesters are fully exploiting their market power, our evidence implies that they are paying workers less than 20% of the value added. This suggests that much of the surplus created by this online labour market platform is captured by employers... [the authors] find a highly robust and surprisingly high degree of market power even in this large and diverse spot labour market."

In evolutionary terms, "MTurk workers and their advocates have long noted the asymmetry in market structure among themselves. Both efficiency and equality concerns have led to the rise of competing, ‘worker-friendly’ platforms..., and mechanisms for sharing information about good and bad requesters... Scientific funders such as Russell Sage have instituted minimum wages for crowd-sourced work. Our results suggest that these sentiments and policies may have an economic justification. ...Moreover, the hope that information technology will necessarily reduce search frictions and monopsony power in the labour market may be misplaced."

My take: the evidence on monopsony power in web-based contingent workforce platforms dovetails naturally into the evidence of monopolisation of the modern economies. Technological progress, that held the promise of freeing human capital from strict contractual limits on its returns, while delivering greater scope for technology-aided entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as the promise of the contingent workforce environment empowering greater returns to skills and labour are proving to be the exact opposites of what is being delivered by the new technologies which appear to be aiding greater transfer of power to technological, financial and even physical capital.

The 'free to work' nirvana ain't coming folks.

23/5/18: American Exceptionalism, Liberty and… Amazon


"And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

The premise of the American Exceptionalism rests on the hypothesis of the State based on the principles of liberty.

Enter Amazon, a corporation ever hungry for revenues, and the State, a corporation ever hungry for power and control. Per reports (https://www.aclunc.org/blog/amazon-teams-law-enforcement-deploy-dangerous-new-face-recognition-technology), Amazon "has developed a powerful and dangerous new facial recognition system and is actively helping governments deploy it. Amazon calls the service “Rekognition."

As ACLU notes (emphasis is mine): "Marketing materials and documents obtained by ACLU affiliates in three states reveal a product that can be readily used to violate civil liberties and civil rights. Powered by artificial intelligence, Rekognition can identify, track, and analyze people in real time and recognize up to 100 people in a single image. It can quickly scan information it collects against databases featuring tens of millions of faces, according to Amazon... Among other features, the company’s materials describe “person tracking” as an “easy and accurate” way to investigate and monitor people."

As I noted elsewhere on this blog, the real threat to the American liberal democracy comes not from external challenges, attacks and shocks, but from the internal erosion of the liberal democratic institutions, followed by the decline of public trust in and engagement with these institutions. The enemy of America is within, and companies like Amazon are facilitating the destruction of the American liberty, aiding and abetting the unscrupulous and power-hungry governments, local, state and beyond.


Australian Politics 2018-05-23 15:46:00

Uncategorized


"Righteous" critics of a reasonable statement

In the age of Twitter, you must emote appropriately.  A plea for balance is not possible amid grief

Former Queensland premier Campbell Newman is standing by a series of tweets he made about police "creating total and utter chaos" around the Brisbane CBD when responding to a pedestrian hit and killed by a bus this morning.

A woman was crossing Ann Street near the intersection of Wharf Street just before 7:00am when she was struck by a bus. She died at the scene.

Police closed the intersection for hours and asked motorists to avoid the area.

In response, Mr Newman shot out a series of tweets, saying police could have handled the situation better to minimise traffic disruptions:

"There must be a better way for the Qld Police to deal with a tragic pedestrian death than to shut down the entire northern side of Brisbane and create total and utter chaos extending more than 5 km from the CBD."

"And for those of you who don't agree, what about the surgeons and doctors who didn't get to the hospitals on time, the cancer patients who were heading for treatment, the kids who had exams, the people who missed job interviews etc. etc.

 Gee. What would they say if someone had died in the back of an ambulance this morning that had been injured in an incident elsewhere but couldn't get to the RBH in time due to the traffic? Let's stick to the point rather than name calling and invective"

They were quick to attract criticism.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Mr Newman's criticism was uncalled for. "Someone has lost their life, a family will be grieving tonight and I think it's very sad to hear that Campbell Newman has come out and criticised police," Ms Palaszczuk said. "The police have to undertake an investigation as quickly as they can where that event occurred."

Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan said police took appropriate action at the scene.  "I must say that I was appalled by comments made by former premier and former Brisbane lord mayor Campbell Newman about the police management of traffic while they were taking the necessary steps to investigate and respond to this morning's tragedy," Mr Ryan said.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington also voiced her disappointment at the comments made by her party's former leader. 

Speaking to the ABC, Mr Newman said he stood by his tweets, that he recognised the tragedy of the situation, but there was a need to examine if there was a better way of handling such incidents.

Mr Newman said police needed to consider the potential danger of delaying medical staff on other urgent tasks elsewhere in the city. He said if he were still premier, he would have invited the Police Minister and Police Commissioner to his office to discuss the matter.

A Queensland Police Service (QPS) spokesman said it handled the scene of Tuesday morning's fatality by the book. "It is standard procedure to close a road where a fatality has occurred while investigators from the Forensic Crash Unit conduct thorough scene examinations without interference from traffic," the spokesman said. "The QPS is also conscious of ensuring scenes of fatalities are managed with dignity and respect for the victims and their families.

"On this occasion, a traffic alert was issued to the public within minutes of the incident and local diversions were put in place while the intersection was closed to traffic for two hours."

SOURCE 







'Lucy Turnbull has a way of life most people don't': Pauline Hanson slams the Prime Minister's wife for 'out of touch' comments that Sydney has plenty of room for more immigrants

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has slammed Lucy Turnbull for saying Sydney is far from full.

Speaking in a television interview on Tuesday night Ms Hanson said the Prime Minister's wife has a standard of living and way of life many Australians don't.

The Queensland senator said Mrs Turnbull, head of the Greater Sydney Commission, is out of touch and unable to judge whether the city can accept more immigrants.

'I don't think she's in a position to say whether Sydney is full or not full, Ms Hanson told Alan Jones on Sky News.  'For Lucy to say "Oh, Sydney can take more people" you might have your standard of living Lucy ... she's got her way of life, many many Australians don't have that.'

Ms Hanson, who sensationally withdrew her support for the government's corporate tax plan earlier this week, said people are 'screaming' for immigration to be halted.

On Tuesday Mrs Turnbull, former Lord Mayor of Sydney, told The Daily Telegraph the city is far from full, while discussing the commission's recommendations.

Social media users backed Ms Hanson's comments, bringing up Mrs Turnbull's multi-million dollar mansion in exclusive Sydney suburb of Point Piper. 'Lucy needs to venture out of that harbourside abode of hers and see what's happening in the real world,' said one Twitter user. 'Her husband's high-immigration program is overloading and trashing our major cities.'

'Point Piper's not full. Plenty of room for a refugee camp,' said another.

Callers to talkback radio agreed, flooding an open line to slam Mrs Turnbull's comments on 2GB.

'With all due respect Mrs Turnbull, it mightn't be full at Point Piper, but come to south-west and western Sydney and you'll see it's more than full,' said one caller.

'But let me tell you, and it's an open invitation to you Lucy, I'll chauffeur you around.' 'I'll show you the explosion of many high-rise apartments, particularly in my area in north-western Sydney, which are unwanted,' said another.

Mr and Mrs Turnbull bought one harbourside property for $5.4million in 1994, and purchased a neighbouring home for $7.1million five years later. They used the second purchase to expand the waterfrontage of the first property - now estimated to be worth tens of millions - and sold the rest for $13million.

Mr Turnbull's net worth was estimated to be over $200million dollars in 2015.

SOURCE 






Bringing a new meaning to nanny state: Primary teachers forced to answer 1,000 questions about their students' progress every five weeks so school's can assess their 'feelings and needs'

Teachers are being made to fill in over 1,000 questions about the progress of their students every five weeks under a new system that will assess how children 'express feelings and needs.'

The new Assessing Literacy and Numeracy (ALAN) program is 'over the top,' according to NSW Primary Principals Association executive Rob Walker.

Mr Walker told the Daily Telegraph some schools had been forced to hire relief teachers just to enter data.

The process involves grading every K-2 child on 791 literacy and 307 numeracy indicators every five weeks.

A spokesperson for the program said it will 'help track students movement along the literacy and numeracy continuum.'

Teachers will need to fill out an online form marking each child on listening, speaking phonics, grammar punctuation and interaction.

The Assessing Literacy and Numeracy program is being implemented at 661 schools across NSW this year.

The questionnaire software, called PLAN 2, will be available to all teachers by the end of 2018.

A spokesperson for Education Minister Stokes said PLAN 2 is just one way the department is hoping to improve the learning experience.

'The Department is always looking at better ways to help students and support teachers,' the spokesperson said.

SOURCE 







'Just work a little bit harder': Liberal politician is heckled by an ABC audience for calling on women to stop being 'bitter' about not being promoted at work

A female politician was heckled by an ABC studio audience for declaring women needed to work harder and stop being bitter if they had failed to get promoted in the workplace.

First-term Victorian Liberal senator Jane Hume told the Q&A program that women, being half of the population, needed to stop thinking of themselves as a minority.

'I really dislike being patronised as if I am a minority,' she said.

The 47-year-old Melbourne-based senator, who is opposed to gender quotas, stirred up the Monday night audience when she suggested women needed to get by on their abilities instead of demanding special treatment. 'We are capable of anything but we are entitled to nothing,' she said.

'We have to work for what we want and for women that don't get there, the trick is work that little bit harder.

'Don't get bitter, get better. Work hard. Nothing that is worth getting doesn't come without hard work.'

Senator Hume's call for women to work harder antagonised the Q&A audience, where 41 per cent of the studio spectators identified as either Labor or Greens voters, compared with 32 per cent who declared themselves as Liberal or Nationals supporters.

The panel discussion took a tense turn when Senator Hume, a former banker, suggested an African schoolgirl in the audience from Melbourne's western suburbs, Sarah Ador Loi, could get ahead if she joined the Liberal Party and was mentored.

Macquarie University research fellow Randa Abdel-Fattah hit back by referencing the senator's skin colour. 'Spoken like a white, female politician,' she said as she sipped on a glass of water.

The Muslim academic, who grew up in Melbourne, suggested Sarah would not have the same connections to become a politician as someone who came from the wealthy suburb of Toorak.

The discussion had also focused on how just 21 per cent of federal Liberal Party politicians were women, compared with 44 per cent in the Labor Party, which has had gender targets since the mid-1990s.

SOURCE 






Commuters are ditching public transport and choosing to drive to work because their travel times are DOUBLING as Sydney struggles to cope with population growth

Sydneysiders are spending almost twice as long on public transport as commuters living in bustling cities like San Francisco and Madrid, a new report has revealed.

Urban growth experts claim the city is approaching a tipping point where fed up residents will boycott public transport and further clog up roads by driving to work. 

International urban expert Professor Greg Clark, who authored the report, said the problem was made worse by Sydney's inability to cope with population growth.

'Public transport is struggling with capacity as passenger demand from new developments around train stations increases,' Professor Greaves told the Sydney Morning Herald.

'Sydney's population is growing at a higher rate than many other global cities and we're playing catch up.'

The report found that Sydney's commute times are well above what is normal for the population.

It also found Sydney's brand didn't reflect the reality with the city performing lower than its reputation in about 300 benchmarks.

The city is fragmented by over 30 local councils which was identified as contributing to the issues with other cities such as Totonto, Copenhagen, and even Brisbane having more efficient larger centralised governing bodies.

Property Council of NSW executive director Jane Fitzgerald said Sydney is not operating as well as it could be.

'We need to get our planning and city policies right to ensure we don't fall behind comparable cities across the world,' she said.

When all performance benchmarks were taken into account Sydney ranked 13th in the report, Melbourne 20th, and Brisbane ranked 40th.

Coming in at the top of the best performing cities across the 300 benchmarks were London, Singapore, Paris and New York.

SOURCE 

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