Monthly Archives: November 2021

Australian Politics 2021-11-28 07:23:00


CSIRO study proves climate change driving Australia’s 800% boom in bushfires

This is a childish level of logic. There is no doubt that weather changes impact fires but PROVING that the weather changes are due to global warming shows no awarenes of the scientific and philosophical requirements for proving anything. As David Hume pointed out, you have to show constant conjunction between two things to substantiate a claim of causation and there is NO constant conjunction between any meteorological phenonena. Weak probabilities are all we have.

And there is no recognition below that Greenie restrictions on good forest management have increased the risk and severity of fires. There IS constant conjunction between restrictions on backburning and the severity of fires in the area

I have read the academic article concerned ("Multi-decadal increase of forest burned area in Australia is linked to climate change") and it goes to great length to prove what was in no doubt -- that fires have been on the increase in recent years

Of greater interest is what they found to correlate with fire incidence and severity. Their contribution there is assertions plus some desultory modelling. And the data they put into modelling is of the low quality that we have come to expect of modelling in this area. Let me quote their look at preventive burning:

We found no changes in the mean annual area of prescribed burning over the past 32 years, although we have no information on how successful those burns were in reducing fuel loads. However, given the lack of trend and the fact that on average, only 1% of forests are subject to fuel reduction burns every year, it is very likely that fuel management had no effect on the observed multi-decadal increasing trend in the burned area of forest fires

They correlate "prescribed" burning and admit that such figures tell us nothing. What is prescribed and what Greenies allow to happen are two different things. Their figures are clearly rubbish, as are their conclusions

But here is the clincher. I quote:

"The research also found Australia is bucking an international trend of decreasing fire activity"

If nobody else is getting the trend, how come it is due to global warming? Can you have global warming in one country? Is it global or is it not? Yet another logical failure in this pathetic study.

Climate change is the dominant factor causing the increased size of bushfires in Australia’s forests, according to a landmark study that found the average annual area burned had grown by 800 per cent in the past 32 years.

The peer-reviewed research by the national science agency, CSIRO — published in the prestigious science journal, Nature — reveals evidence showing changes in weather due to global warming were the driving force behind the boom in Australia’s bushfires.

Lead author and CSIRO chief climate research scientist Pep Canadell said the study established the correlation between the Forest Fire Danger Index – which measures weather-related vegetation dryness, air temperature, wind speed and humidity – and the rise in area of forest burned since the 1930s.

“It’s so tight, it’s so strong that clearly when we have these big fire events, they’re run by the climate and the weather,” Dr Canadell said.

The bushfire royal commission identified climate change as a key risk to ongoing bushfire catastrophe but did not make recommendations about reducing greenhouse emissions to curb the threat.

The CSIRO report found other factors have an impact on the extent and intensity of bushfires such as the amount of vegetation or fuel load in a forest, the time elapsed since the last fire, and hazard reduction burning. But Dr Canadell said the study showed the link between weather and climate conditions and the size of bushfires was so tight, it was clear these factors far outweighed all other fire drivers.

“Almost regardless of what we do the overall extent of the fire, really, is dictated by those climate conditions,” he said.

Climate scientists have found climate change is exacerbating the key fire risk factors identified by CSIRO’s study, with south-eastern Australia becoming hotter, drier and, in a particularly worrying trend, more prone to high wind on extremely hot and dry summer days.

The weather system that drove a blast furnace’s worth of westerly wind across NSW and Victoria’s forests, sparking some of the worst fires of the Black Summer in 2019-20, will be up to four times more likely to occur under forecast levels of global warming.

“All the various climate trends, which are so important, are all on the rise and they’re all connected to various degrees with anthropogenic climate change,” Dr Canadell said.

The study shows fires are becoming bigger and more common even when the Black Summer is not factored in. When the first half of the study period, from 1988 to 2001, is compared to the period between 2002 and 2018, the average annual forest burned area in Australia increased 350 per cent. That figured ramps up to 800 per cent when the fires of 2019-20, which burnt more than 24 million hectares of land, are included.

Mega-fires, which burn more than 1 million hectares, have “markedly” increased with three of the four recorded from 1930 occurring since 2000, while the gap between big blazes has had a “rapid decrease”, the study says.

Last year, the bushfire royal commission reported fuel-load management through hazard reduction burning “may have no appreciable effect under extreme conditions” that typically cause loss of life and property.

The CSIRO findings bolster that conclusion and call into question calls for native forest logging to be used as a bushfire management tool.

“This is happening regardless of anything that we might or might not do to try to stop the fires,” Dr Canadell said.

The increased frequency of bushfires is giving the bush less and less time to recover, which is changing ecosystems and threatening the survival of many plants and animals that are struggling to adapt to the pace of change and loss of habitat.


Melbourne's anti-vaxxers have started placing Nazi-themed stickers around city. Stickers show Star of David, image of Adolf Hitler and a syringe with messaging

image from

I am a great fan of vaccines. I have had them all. But I fundamentally object to compulsion in the matter. I had no side-effects at all from my two Astra Zeneca shots but most people do get side-effects of varying degrees of severity, including death. In the circumstances, people are surely entitled to say "No thanks".

So using Nazi imgery is a very clear way of emphasizing that government tyranny can be a very bad thing. I think the handling of the coronavirus by methods copied from Communist China will go down in history as one of the great medical disasters

Melbourne's anti-vaxxers have started placing stickers around the city controversially comparing themselves to Jews in the Holocaust as they continue to protest against mandatory vaccinations.

The stickers, which have been spotted around the Victorian capital in recent weeks, show three images - the Star of David, Adolf Hitler and a syringe.

'What's the difference between vaccine papers and a yellow star? 82 years. We are increasingly living under National Socialiam. Stop medical apartheid,' the message reads.

The stickers have caused outrage in the Jewish community, with community leaders calling for the government to take a stand against the propaganda.

They have been placed on walls, street signs and crossings around the city, usually in areas of high foot traffic.

The Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission said the comparison between anti-vaxxers and slaughtered Jews was 'hateful and cruel'.

'To hijack the Holocaust, in which six million Jews and millions of others were slaughtered and burned, to suggest that Hitler's Final Solution is comparable to lifesaving vaccination efforts is to trivialise and downplay humanity's most immense tragedy,' Dr Dvir Abramovich said.


New Australian laws to unmask anonymous online trolls and make tech giants pay

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced he is set to introduce new internet safety legislation as a way to allow 'real world rules' to exist in the digital world.

If the companies refuse or are unable to identify who made the defamatory comments, then they will have to pay the defamation costs.

Announcing the measures on Sunday, Mr Morrison said the internet should not be a “wild west where bots and bigots and trolls” can harm people without consequence.

He said women and children were the people most affected by anonymous bullying and defamatory abuse online and there needed to be a “quick and fast way” for people to raise these issues with the platforms and get it taken down.

“Free speech is not being allowed to cowardly hide in your basement and sledge … and harass people anonymously and seek to destroy their lives,” Mr Morrison said. “That is cowardice — and there is no place for that in this country.”

Mr Morrison said the online giants needed to be held accountable for the world they had created, to ensure there was a “quick and easy” method for users to address harassment.

“They have created the space, and they need to make it safe, and if they won’t, we will make them laws such as this, and I will campaign for these all around the world as I have done on so many other occasions with Australia taking the lead.”

Social media giants will also have to establish online customer shopfronts in Australia to make sure they comply with orders as part of the measures.

The centrepiece crackdown on online trolls will be a change to the law to make it clear social media providers are responsible for payouts arising from defamatory comments on their platform where the troll cannot be identified.

The measures will force social media companies, such as Twitter and Facebook, to create a complaints scheme which will allow victims to know if comments were made in Australia and, if so, to obtain the contact details of the poster, with their consent.

If that is unsuccessful, a complainant will also be able to seek a new form of court order, to be called an “End-user Information Disclosure Order”, which will allow a social media company to unmask trolls without consent.

Mr Morrison said the government would seek test cases because it was aware that most litigants in defamation cases against social media giants will be outgunned financially.

He said the government was prepared to intervene in defamation disputes involving social media companies to support victims and make it clear to the courts how it thinks the Commonwealth legislation should be applied.

The laws were first flagged by Mr Morrison at last month’s G20 summit in Rome, where he proposed a new round of coordinated action to protect people online.

Australia and other countries have joined forces at previous G20 summits to impose tougher rules on digital companies, including an agreement in Osaka two years ago when France backed a push to halt the spread of violent terrorism online after the Christchurch attacks.

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash said the measures would also “bring clarity” to the High Court decision in September when it dismissed an appeal by some of Australia’s biggest media outlets including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian, finding they are the publishers of third-party comments on their Facebook pages.

The court found that, by running the Facebook pages, the media groups participated in communicating any defamatory material in the case of former Northern Territory detainee Dylan Voller which were posted by third parties and were therefore responsible for the comments.

“Social media services, they need to step up and they need to understand that they have a responsibility in this regard, and that is why this important step, providing clarity to all Australians, but in particular to social media companies - you will be deemed to be publisher,” she said.


‘Grotesque, leftwing back-scratching’: failed Senate inquiry into ABC leaves Coalition enraged

A coalition of Labor and Green senators managed to head off an inquiry into the ABC complaints process – which was labelled “politically motivated” by ABC chair Ita Buttrose – but the manoeuvre left some Liberal senators apoplectic.

Queensland senator James McGrath described the 11th hour block as a “grotesque, leftwing, back-scratching orgy of flatulent arrogance from the ABC and those on the left” and called for the ABC to be broken up and Triple J to be sold off.

Related: Senate inquiry into ABC suspended after Labor and Greens motion gets cross-bench support

The deputy whip’s personal attack on the prime minister’s captain’s pick for ABC chair was unprecedented, seemingly more personal than Michael Kroger’s spray in June, when the former Victorian Liberal powerbroker said Buttrose was a “hopeless failure” and should resign.

“This ABC who sneers at us is led by an arrogant chair who sees the ABC as a country apart from Australia,” McGrath told the Senate. “And that is quite sad. The inevitable result of decades of free rein, of grossly excessive budgets and diminished accountability, is that we’ve ended up with an inner-city hive of woke workers, hiring woke friends to do their woke work in their quest to ‘wokify’ the world.

“But in conjunction with the first-night crowd, the chair of the ABC and her fellow first-nighters are at the opera, chinking their champagne glasses, sneering at middle Australia and at those who believe in a pluralistic, diverse media market.”

The decision by the Senate to delay the inquiry was a win for Buttrose who had called a week ago on the upper house to act to “defend the independence of the ABC”.

The government inquiry was sprung on the ABC days after the ABC’s complaints division told Fox News it had not upheld any of the complaints made in a lengthy submission about a Four Corners program on the News Corp broadcaster aired in August.

The ABC, which returns to Senate estimates on Monday, declined to comment.

An issues paper by the ABC’s independent review of its complaints handling is due to be released on Friday, and it will call for public submissions.

Professor John McMillan, a former commonwealth and NSW ombudsman and one of the co-reviewers, said a story in the Australian claiming the aborted parliamentary inquiry had put pressure on the external inquiry to call for public submissions was wrong.

“It is incorrect to suggest that the independent inquiry into ABC complaint handling I am conducting with Jim Carroll has only recently decided to invite public submissions,” McMillan said on Friday. “A public inquiry and submission process was planned from day one.

“A standard inquiry practice is to invite public submissions following initial consultations and preparation of an issues paper. That practice has been followed in this inquiry. An issues paper will shortly be released.”




Turkey Day Leftovers for Breakfast!

We're posting this super early in the morning to help get you off to a strong start in solving a problem you already have. That problem? What to do with the leftovers now crowding your refrigerator from yesterday's Thanksgiving dinner!

Sam the Cooking Guy has a solution for what to do with your leftover stuffing: use it in your breakfast omelette! We've queued up the following video to get you going. Just a quick note before you start watching - he does a commercial for SimpliSafe's home security system during it, so when you get to it at about the 4:47 mark, you can skip past nearly all of it by advancing the video to the 6:06 mark:

Here's the quick list of ingredients in the order they're added to the non-stick skillet (at low heat):

  • Salted butter
  • Leftover stuffing
  • Eggs (he uses three eggs beaten with salt and pepper)
  • Cheese (he uses two slices of American singles)

And that's pretty much it. If you want help with the rest of your leftovers, we have some options listed below from previous Thanksgivings....

Australian Politics 2021-11-26 09:50:00


Top Australian Official: We’re Transferring COVID-19 Patients to Quarantine Camps

The story below is from an American publication, apparently based on a Facebook post and a story in The Guardian.

To comprehend it you need to know that it refers to Aboriginal settlements. The inhabitants are totally welfare-dependant and famously inert in response to all government initiatives and requirements

Australian authorities are removing COVID-19-positive patients and residents in the Northern Territory to a quarantine camp in Howard Springs, after nine cases were identified in the community of Binjari, according to a local official.

Hard lockdowns were implemented in Binjari and nearby Rockhole on Nov. 20, according to Northern Territory’s chief minister.

“Residents of Binjari and Rockhole no longer have the five reasons to leave their homes,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner said in a Facebook post dated Nov. 20. Australia’s five allowable reasons for people to leave their homes include going to work or school, buying food or supplies, exercising, caregiving, or getting vaccinated.

Officials have “identified five additional close contacts in Borroloola that had not previously been known to us. … They have all tested negative, and they are being transferred to Howard Springs,” he said.

Gunner said on Nov. 21 that eight people have been taken to a facility in Howard Springs, the Guardian reported.

“It’s highly likely that more residents will be transferred to Howard Springs today, either as positive cases or close contacts,” Gunner said. “We have already identified 38 close contacts from Binjari, but that number will go up. Those 38 are being transferred now.”

According to the Northern Territory government website, those who are taken to Howard Springs or the other quarantine camp, the Alice Springs Quarantine Facility, and “do not undergo a test, you will be required to remain in quarantine a further 10 days at your own expense.”

On Nov. 22, Police Commissioner and Territory Controller Jamie Chalker confirmed to news outlets that a 77-year-old man who was on an international repatriation flight died at the Howard Springs quarantine site over the weekend.

“He was an international repat. Obviously, he was a 77-year-old individual,” Chalker said, local media reported. “We’re just looking at whether they had any existing other issues, but certainly the initial advice is not indicating that it was a death relating to COVID.”

Over the weekend, thousands of people demonstrated in multiple Australian cities against vaccine mandates. About 85 percent of the eligible population is currently vaccinated as of Nov. 19.

In recent months, concerns have been raised about Australia’s federal and state governments’ COVID-19 emergency lockdowns and restrictions. For example, Melbourne has endured likely the longest lockdown in the world.

“There are concerns among parts of the community about some pandemic management legislation that the state government is currently trying to pass through the upper house of Parliament,” Melbourne-based journalist Dana Morse told Al Jazeera. “That bill has stalled, but people are concerned about the amount of power that the state government will have if the bill passes.”


Commonwealth to support private sector in gas push

Taxpayers will fund the private sector to accelerate gas exploration across Australia, with the federal government’s new strategy pinpointing locations off the coast of Victoria and the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin as priorities for development.

The national gas infrastructure plan, released on Friday, says the government must act to alleviate the risk of gas supply shortfalls and support companies to open up new gas basins and construct gas pipelines.

A fortnight after nations at the Glasgow climate meeting, including Australia, affirmed the need to keep global warming within 1.5°C and phase out “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies, the new plan has angered climate and environment groups, which describe it as “corporate welfare”.

Under the plan, the Commonwealth will support the private sector to search for viable gas fields and develop an extensive network of new pipelines and related infrastructure. The plan’s modelling suggests at least one new basin will be required to meet projected domestic and export requirements.

“There may be circumstances where private sector investment is not available in time to ensure priority infrastructure projects are in place when required,” the plan says. “In such conditions, the government stands ready to drive new infrastructure development.”

The 36-page plan document, which does not mention climate change, was released along with an investment document that details which types of projects would be prioritised.

Australia’s energy market operator, AEMO, has warned that Victoria and the other southern states face a shortfall of natural gas on peak-demand winter days by 2024, and probable gas price rises.

To date, $285 million has been committed by the federal government to the development of private gas projects, including $224 million for the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory and $21 million for Queensland’s North Bowen and Galilee Basin.

The gas industry’s expansion sets Australia at odds with the global shift towards renewables. Earlier this year the International Energy Agency released analysis that found the global route to net zero emissions was “narrow and extremely challenging”, and that no new fossil fuel projects should be approved.

The federal priorities include the development of the Port Kembla gas terminal in NSW, and envisages opening up new gas basins. The Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory should be brought into production by 2025, Narrabri in NSW from 2026 and Queensland’s Galilee and North Bowen basins in production by 2028, the plan says.

The plan also identifies potential offshore supply from the Bass, Otway and Gippsland basins. But the majority of new southern fields within these basins are in the ‘discovery’ phase, and it is unclear when production might start.

Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Graeme Sawyer said the fracking industry in the Northern Territory, still in an exploratory phase, was being supported by “corporate welfare”.

“The Morrison government would be better off giving taxpayer money to just about any other industry if it wanted to seriously stimulate the economy,” Mr Sawyer said.

The Climate Council’s head of research, Dr Simon Bradshaw, described the plan as a “disaster”. “What part of gas is a polluting fossil fuel does this government not understand? The science is very clear: to avoid a climate catastrophe, fossil fuels must stay in the ground,” he said.

The plan underlines the government’s interest in developing its so-called “clean” hydrogen industry, noting hydrogen may be produced using gas and that carbon emissions could be stored using the controversial practice of carbon capture and storage. This would not be classed as “green” hydrogen, which is produced with renewable energy.

Not everyone is convinced Australia faces a looming gas shortage. Environment Victoria analysis found there is enough gas supply capacity in Victoria until 2027.

Over the following three years there is a shortfall of between 26 petajoules (PJ) and 85 PJ, but the adoption of gas-demand reduction measures, like increasing energy efficiency and electrification, eliminates the forecast shortfall.


Iron ore prices back up

Iron ore producers are holding steady this morning, avoiding a post-rally sell-off after iron ore grasped at the significant US$100/t mark overnight.

Iron ore US$100© Stockhead Australia Iron ore US$100
It came after a day of barnstorming trade in iron ore futures and producers, following signals China was planning to ease its fiscal policy to recover lost economic growth.

That has fuelled suggestions China will unwind steel production curbs in December, with October figures suggesting its ambitious plans to constrain steel output to 2020 levels will be met.

Steel output across the world fell 10.3% in October to 145.7Mt, a fall almost entirely attributable to China, which produced 3.5 year lows of 71.6Mt (down 23.3% on October 2020).

Production was well up in other markets like the US, Brazil, India and Japan, but China’s role in the steel sector is so substantial its trade with Australian iron ore producers effectively sets iron ore prices.

Benchmark 62% fines were trading for US$99.83/t on Tuesday according to Fastmarkets MB.

Fortescue (ASX:FMG), Rio (ASX:RIO), Champion Iron (ASX:CIA), MinRes (ASX:MIN) and BHP (ASX:BHP) will fall well short of the radical gains they posted yesterday – FMG was up almost 10% – but are all comfortably in the green this morning.


Melbourne council to ditch slave-link name

This is absurd. "Moreland" is a perfectly normal Anglo name. Google records 17 million uses of it. Are they all wrong and racist?

A Melbourne council is making moves to change its name after discovering its namesake was a Jamaican slave estate.

Traditional owners and other community representatives presented the City of Moreland with information showing the name came from land between Moonee Ponds Creek to Sydney Road, that Farquhar McCrae acquired in 1839.

He named the land 'Moreland' after a Jamaican slave plantation his father and grandfather had operated from 1770 to 1796, which produced sugar, rum and slave trading with 500 to 700 enslaved people there in any one year.

In 1994 the local government areas of the City of Brunswick, the City of Moreland and part of Broadmeadows were amalgamated and the state government named the new local government area Moreland.

Mayor Mark Riley said the council was "shocked and deeply saddened" by the discovery. "The history behind the naming of this area is painful, uncomfortable and very wrong. It needs to be addressed," he said.

"Moreland stands firmly against racism, we are one community, proudly diverse. Council is committed to working with Wurundjeri people and we take the request very seriously."

A new name would be developed after a consultation process with the Moreland community, but ultimately it is the state government that must make the change.




How to Cook a Turkey

For as long as we've celebrated Thanksgiving at Political Calculations, we've never once provided any information for doing the one thing most Americans' Thanksgiving dinners depend upon. Cooking a turkey.

Sure, we've featured information on how to carve a turkey. We've twice featured information on how to avoid hurting yourself and others when cooking a turkey. And we've featured the Swedish Chef cooking a turkey, although to be fair, no turkey was actually cooked during that production.

So we're going to rectify that situation today by featuring two videos that will take you through the process of cooking a turkey! But before we begin, let's just say that if your turkey is still frozen rock solid, you should skip the videos and find out what restaurants might be open near you instead....

Our first featured video will take you through the basics of what you need to know about the full process of cooking a turkey in about 12 and a half minutes. Please be aware the process in real life takes much longer....

Our second video runs a little over eight minutes and features much of the same information, but is aimed for a slightly different audience. An audience that's somewhat intimidated by not just cooking a turkey, but being judged for how well they might cook it.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and good luck with your turkey this year!

P.S. We're not done with cooking tips, so check back in tomorrow for an idea of what to do with your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers!

Australian Politics 2021-11-25 07:31:00


Regulator decided against cancelling the license of a tradesman guilty of sex assaults

The grub took advantage of women when he was in their house doing building work

Internal documents have revealed the real reason why the building regulator delayed taking action against a tradie who had pleaded guilty to multiple sexual assaults.

Queensland’s embattled building industry watchdog decided against immediately cancelling the licence of a convicted sex offender earlier this year because he was considered “unlikely’’ to break the law again.

Internal case file notes from the Queensland Building and Construction Commission seen by The Courier Mail also reveal that bureaucrats failed to get a copy of the judge’s sentencing remarks when making the decision.

Instead, they relied on the text of an ABC news article online which quoted the judge saying Townsville tradie William Emanuel Camilleri was not likely to reoffend.

Mr Camilleri pleaded guilty and was convicted in August of eight counts of sexual assault against five women while he was carrying out renovation work in their homes. He was given a 12-month sentence, suspended for three years.

The QBCC documents show the agency became aware of the charges against Mr Camilleri when they were first laid in May 2019.

“The QBCC immediately opened a fit and proper investigation but could not take any action as the Human Rights Act section 32(1) states person (sic) charged with a criminal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law,’’ the notes say.

That contradicts subsequent comments from the responsible minister, Mick de Brenni, who blamed two former senior licensing officers for failing to immediately revoke the license right after Camilleri was charged.

“On 11 August 2021 QBCC received verbal advice that Mr Camilleri had been convicted of sexual assault charges. We immediately commenced action, sending Mr Camilleri a Notice of Reasons for Proposed Cancellation or Suspension (NRPCS) of his license,’’ the notes say.

“The QBCC considered an immediate suspension at the time however it was determined that we cannot meet the legislated test for an immediate suspension that we reasonably believe there is a real likelihood that serious harm will occur to the parties identified in Section 49A.’’

The parties referred to in that section of the QBCC Act include consumers, as well as other licensees, employees and suppliers.

“The known offending occurred between 25 May 2016 and 27 March 2019, the QBCC has no evidence to suggest that any offending has occurred after 27 March 2019,’’ the notes say.

“In addition, while we do not have a copy of the sentencing remarks to consider the statement in full, the abc (sic) news article states ‘The judge said Camilleri had no criminal history and was unlikely to reoffend’.

“Based on the above we cannot meet the legislated test for an immediate suspension.’’

The notes indicate that Mr Camilleri’s solicitors contacted the QBCC and requested an extension of time to respond to the proposed licence cancellation or suspension. They were given until October 6.

When The Courier Mail revealed in late September that Camilleri remained able to work in the industry despite his conviction more than a month earlier, Mr de Brenni responded immediately that “regulatory action to cancel or suspend the license has been commenced and will be rigorously pursued’’.

It still took another two weeks after that comment for the QBCC to finally cancel the license.

Last week, Mr de Brenni announced an independent governance review of the QBCC which will be led by Jim Varghese, a former government department director-general and current Springfield City Group director.

That move followed months of damning claims of improper ministerial and board intervention into regulatory matters. Largely as result of this alleged interference, more than two dozen senior executive have resigned from the QBCC over the past two years.

“There is an awful management culture at QBCC,’’ one of these former executives said.

“They seem to have forgotten that the QBCC exists to protect the community and the honest builders and tradies. What’s worse is that when things do go wrong, they seem to either pretend not to see it or blame others to deflect personal accountability.”

Tim Mander, the shadow Minister for Housing and Public Works, said the case “proves the state’s building watchdog is an out-of-touch, rudderless mess’’.

“It beggars belief that the QBCC didn’t do its proper due diligence after such a serious offence was brought to light,’’ Mr Mander said.

“Camilleri’s offences weren’t ‘one off’ … he was convicted of serial sex offences. The risk to the community is too great for him to ever be considered a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold a builder’s licence.

“Instead of checking with the courts, the QBCC did a Google search. This man pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting women in their homes but the QBCC allowed him to continue operating due to a technicality and a Google search.

“The organisation has no genuine leadership and that starts with the Minister.’’

A spokesman for Mr de Brenni declined to comment on Tuesday.

A QBCC spokesman confirmed the licences for both Mr Camilleri and his building company were cancelled on October 7. But he would not elaborate on the decision-making process leading up to that point.

“The QBCC determined that he was not a fit and proper person to hold a contractor’s licence, having regard to his conviction for an indictable offence,’’ he said.


Fanatical warmist high school teacher allegedly berated students who wanted airconditioning turned on in 30C-plus heat

Schoolteachers are refusing to turn on classroom airconditioning, citing climate change as the reason to keep the kids sweating, a frustrated parent has claimed.

The father of a student at Corinda State High School in Brisbane’s west claims the teacher refused cool air relief to uncomfortable Year 9 pupils on November 4, saying she would consider turning it on if the temperature hit 40C.

The Courier-Mail has been told the aircon has remained off since that date, including days over 30C with extreme humidity

The parent claims the teacher berated the class about their lack of interest in climate change and called them “ignorant and selfish”. Corinda State High School has solar panels generating 266.6kW of power.

As the Queensland Government works towards completing its $447 million program to install airconditioners in all state schools by next June, the parent said teachers needed to be aware of what the Department of Education’s policy was on airconditioning, and needed to adhere to the policy regardless of any personal climate change beliefs.

“Several pupils spoke up to the teachers requesting aircon,” the parent said. “She advised the students she’d reconsider the request if the temperature reached 40C – a preposterous position by any reckoning.

“She didn’t appreciate the way the students were thinking about the issue of climate change and they should be grateful previous generations are doing things to prevent climate change.

“Her comments are unwarranted, abusive and harassing — contrary to her obligations under the fiduciary relationship which exists in her classroom.”

The parent claims the school has not responded to an email asking for an apology to the Year 9 students.

The use of airconditioning and its impact on the planet is a hot topic as the warmer it gets the more airconditioning is used.

A Department of Education spokeswoman said that the department is aware that an anonymous complaint email was received.

“To date, the anonymous complainant has not responded to the principal’s invitation to address their concerns,” she said.

“The school has diligently investigated these claims, however, none of the classroom students confirmed the allegations or expressed concerns regarding classroom temperatures or the teacher’s conduct.

“Teachers use airconditioning in their classrooms as needed to ensure that everyone in the classroom benefits from the best conditions for learning.”


Dan Andrews' government is slammed as lockdowns leave thousands in agony while they wait months for life-changing surgery

After years living with an aggressive form of endometriosis, Danielle Noon has spent the past six months waiting for life-changing surgery.

It took four years for her to be diagnosed with the condition which can cause painful periods, cramping, nausea, back and bowel pain.

Earlier this year she found out she had deep infiltrating endometriosis and was booked in for surgery. But Ms Noon will have to wait in agony for at least another six months.

Last week she was told her private hospital procedure, scheduled for mid-December, had been delayed due to surgery caps imposed by the Victorian government.

"I basically spent two days crying. I'm exhausted and this has completely broken my spirit," she told AAP. "I was literally counting down how many periods I'd have to go through until I could get surgery."

Her operation has been postponed until March or April 2022. She will soon enter her last year at university, with a busy few months of work placements ahead. "The thought of navigating all my placements next year, still in this amount of pain each month, seems unbearable," she said. "I honestly don't have the tools to be able to deal with a setback like this."

The surgery is needed to stop tissue growing, which could break through her bowel wall. Despite this, her procedure is considered non-urgent.

Ms Noon is one of thousands facing delays, after 18 months of changing COVID-19 restrictions led to significant wait lists. As of September 30, 67,000 Victorians were waiting for elective surgeries.

Two weeks ago the state government allowed hospitals to increase surgeries up to 50 per cent capacity, but health bodies say this is not enough.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons says government plans to gradually increase elective surgeries are "too slow" and risked running into Christmas, when many health workers will take holidays.

RACS has sent a proposal to the state's health department to support "rapid" change to the current system, calling for the 50 per cent cap to be removed.

"We believe that the current stabilisation of the COVID-19 situation with high vaccination rates, fall in the number of COVID-19 cases and a gradual reduction in hospital in-patient ICU cases presents an ideal window of opportunity for government to restore surgery to full capacity," president Sally Langley said.

It is calling for more transparency about how these decisions are made, and said many small private hospitals should be permitted to recommence surgery with no cap, since they do not form part of the COVID response.

Additionally, larger hospitals "have significant unused operative capacity" that could be used to address private and public sector wait lists.

The Australian Private Hospitals Association said anyone waiting for surgery at a private hospital is facing "long waits for some time to come".

APHA chief executive Lucy Cheetham said deferred procedures included total knee and hip replacements and cataract surgery, impacting a patient's ability "to move around or to see".

A Victorian government spokeswoman said it would "continue to adopt a staged approach" to increasing non-urgent surgeries.

"We always said we would increase our elective surgery capacity when we could and we'll have more to say soon on any further capacity increases," she said.


Morrison's religious discrimination bill could face High Court showdown as Victoria digs in

The Andrews government has vowed to fight attempts by the federal government to override state anti-discrimination laws, paving the way for a possible High Court stoush over religious rights.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison plans to personally introduce his controversial Religious Discrimination Bill within days, to deliver on a pledge three years ago to protect religious freedom.

At the same time, the Victorian Parliament is debating equal opportunity law amendments that ban religious schools and other institutions from sacking or refusing to employ teachers because of their sexuality or gender identity or marital status.

The clash of the two bills, the latest battle in Australia's long-running culture wars, comes with both levels of government due for election next year.

On Wednesday, Victorian Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said while it was a "little unclear" what the Coalition's intentions were, she would not rule out any action - including a High Court challenge - to defend state laws.

She said she was waiting for legal advice before a decision about how to respond. "If there are any attempts to water down the Victorian laws, which aim to protect people in organisations from being discriminated against based on their sexuality, their marital status, etc, then I will be very firmly opposed to any measures that do that."

Rachel Colvin is a committed Christian who was effectively forced to resign from her job at Ballarat Christian College in 2019 after refusing to sign the school statement of faith that declared "marriage can only be between a male and a woman". Ms Colvin has a husband, Mark, and she has three children. She grew up in an evangelical Christian household and has been a missionary.

She had taught happily at the evangelical college since 2008 but in the wake of the marriage equality debate, the school sought to firm up its position on issues such as marriage and homosexuality.

"When I read this [the belief statement] I was immediately concerned. I knew that this didn't align with my Christian beliefs. I believe that God loves all of us," she said.

Ms Colvin offered to teach that the school had one view about marriage but there are other Christian views. "I was hoping we could agree to disagree."

But one morning she was called into a meeting and asked to resign. "It was such a devastating time for me. I truly loved my job. I loved the students. I worked with a great bunch of people."

After a long stand-off leaving Ms Colvin anxious and in poor health, she decided to leave the school as requested.

Under the Andrews government amendments to the Equal Opportunities Act, Ms Colvin would be better protected from discrimination. Under the Morrison bill, protections for people in Ms Colvin's position would be rolled back.

The revised federal bill includes a new provision to protect the right of religious schools to positively discriminate in their employment practices.

If passed, it would shield people who make a statement of belief as long as it is made in good faith, is in line with the teachings of their religion, is not malicious and does not vilify or harass.

In contrast, Victoria's proposal would leave religious schools in the state prohibited from sacking or refusing to employ teachers because of their sexuality or gender or marital status.

Victorian upper house MP Fiona Patten said if the federal bill were to pass in any form that threatened to override Victoria's anti-discrimination laws, the state government should launch a High Court challenge.

"Were it to pass, it would sideline Victoria's anti-discrimination tribunal