Australian Politics 2016-09-05 15:49:00

Rebel Chinese movement promotes ‘Australian values’

Australians were long accustomed to immigrants fitting in well with us.  But that was when most of our immigrants came from the very similar cultures of Britain and Northern Europe. Only minor changes of expectations rendered such people completely compatible with traditional Australian practices. 

More recent immigrant flows, however, have presented greater challenges of adjustment and we now know that people can come here and want to live here and yet have no respect for the foundation population of this society or their ways.  And that ingratitude and disrespect can have serious behavioural consequences on occasions. 

So it is heartening to read below of a group who have encountered a large cultural transition and arrived at a real appreciation of the wisdom and kindness of their generous hosts

A new “pro-Australia” movement, and a leader, have emerged out of controversies swirling around Australia’s Chinese community of almost a million people.

The new Embracing Australian Values Alliance is in most ways the antithesis of the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China that has emerged as the common denominator between major ­Chinese donors to politicians and parties in Australia.

John Hu, founder of the ­alliance, which is being registered officially, said that recently publicised donors to Australian parties and politicians appeared to have two main aims.

“One is for personal gain. But often they show a communist way of thinking, that if for ­instance as a real estate developer you donate to the top person, whatever you want to do in Australia will be fine,” Mr Hu said.  “It doesn’t work that way … If, for instance, they bribe a mayor, she or he only has one vote in a meeting.  “They don’t understand how democracy works.”

The second thrust of donations, he said, was “to please ­people back in their old country. So they may donate on behalf of the Chinese government to influence Australian politics, to penetrate and control positions, for example, on the South China Sea — and some of the money may actually be coming from China. In China, business and government work extremely closely”.

Some donate, he believed, “to get favours when they do business in China. A lot depend on wealth brought from China, or on their Chinese businesses to generate income to spend in ­Australia”.

Mr Hu believes — from his ­experience on the Parramatta City Council “watching how they conduct business” — that many Chinese real estate developers are not making money in Australia.

The events that provoked members of the Chinese community to set up the new alliance were the concerts planned to celebrate Mao Zedong in Sydney and Melbourne town halls, in the days around the 40th anniversary of Mao’s death on Friday. They succeeded in forcing the cancellation of the concerts, as organisers and city councils feared the fallout from the conflict they were arousing.

Supporters are now meeting in Sydney to decide on the next steps for the alliance, which has attracted followers in Melbourne as well.  There was strong agreement, Mr Hu said, that the cause required both long-term and broad-based efforts.

“The Chinese community is divided by their political opinions and many other matters but we believe if you live here, you should agree to the values of Australia — and if you don’t like this country’s values, and think ­constantly of another place as your country, then go back there,” he said.

The values the alliance ­espouses are based on the government’s Australian value state­ment for immigrants. Mr Hu summarised them as freedom, democracy, equality and ­tolerance.

He stressed the ­alliance had no ­allegiance to any political party.


Another mad Muslim

Sevdet Besim sentenced to 10 years’ prison over planned Anzac Day terror attack

A Melbourne teenager who planned an Anzac Day terrorist attack has been sentenced to 10 years in prison at the Victorian Supreme Court.

Sevdet Ramadan Besim, 19, had planned to run down and behead a police officer at an Anzac Day march in 2015.

Besim pleaded guilty to doing an act in preparation, or planning for, a terrorist attack — an offence which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

He will be eligible for parole in seven-and-a-half years.

Besim, from Hallam in Melbourne’s south-east, had discussed his plans with a British teenager, who is now serving a five-year jail term after pleading guilty to inciting the Anzac Day terrorist plot.

The court previously heard that Besim and the UK teen also discussed painting a kangaroo in Islamic State symbols, packing its pouch with explosives and letting it loose in the city.

The teen was a friend of Numan Haider, who was shot dead by counter-terrorism officers after he attacked them with a knife in Endeavour Hills Police Station in 2014.


Blinded by beauty: Good-looking pupils get better marks at university and school because teachers are biased towards attractiveness

Students could be failing classes because markers are penalising them for their race or looks, new research suggests.

Academics claimed grading bias among markets in all levels of education could give students with ‘unfavourable characteristics’ up to five per cent less.

These include being unattractive, belonging to a certain ethnic group or gender, being labelled with a learning disability, or poor past results (a ‘halo effect’).

Teachers may also give higher marks to better-looking students, those of the same race, or those they know to be hardworking or ‘gifted’.

In a study published in the Australian Journal of Education, University of New England associate professors John Malouff and Einar Thorsteinsson conducted a meta analysis of 20 studies on grading biases involving 1,935 markers.

They found the biases were consistent across the studies and resulted in students with supposed negative traits receiving four to five fewer marks – which could be the difference between passing and failing.

The researchers said the studies did not explain why the bias happened, but hypothesised that they would affect a marker’s expectations.

‘When the grading has subjective elements involving opinions as to quality based on characteristics external to the assessment piece, these expectancies may colour the work of the student enough to affect assigned scores,’ they wrote.

Grading bias was largely irrelevant in objective studies like maths, or in exams with multiple choice questions.

Dr Malouff said teachers did not wanted to be biased and it was likely to be unconscious.  ‘They would swear in a court of law that they did it fairly but they just would not know,’ he told The Age.

University of New England associate professors John Malouff (L) and Einar Thorsteinsson (R) conducted a meta analysis of 20 studies on grading biases involving 1,935 markers

He started studying grading bias when he found it difficult to mark a the essay of a friendly and hardworking student whose life story of suffering and abuse he was aware of. ‘It was very hard for me to put all that aside – that she was such a pleasant hardworking person bringing herself up,’ he said.

The researchers suggested blind marking could help minimise grading bias, as they noted was done at University of Melbourne and La Trobe University.

This was where students’ work was kept anonymous and ideally marked by someone from another class.


The problem with superannuation reform

Simon Cowan

Both parties took substantial superannuation reform packages to the last election. Unfortunately both packages had the same failing: they focused primarily on how to generate more revenue, not how to make superannuation work better.

Superannuation is a poor savings vehicle. At a fixed percentage of income regardless of age or wealth, it doesn’t reflect how people would choose to save. It disadvantages those with broken work patterns or variable income, who might wish to save more in some years and less in others. It forces people to save for retirement when they might be better off buying a home.

Worse still, it compels low income earners to save money they would otherwise consume, effectively forcing government to make up this lost income with billions of dollars of additional income support. A family of four with a single income earner on $75,000 has $7,125 deducted from their income in superannuation contributions but receives more than $7,500 in family tax benefits alone.

However superannuation savings are mandated by government and taxed substantially more generously than other forms of savings. This preference cannot be put down simply to the efficient taxation of savings, particularly when other forms of savings are taxed much more heavily.

Nor can it be about creating a safety net against old age poverty or alleviating retirement savings myopia: the age pension already fulfils those needs. Yet superannuation is singled out for special treatment.

The only rationale for taxpayers to incur such a substantial cost for superannuation that makes sense is if it reduces government pension expenditure. Yet superannuation will not substantially reduce the cost of the pension (2009 estimates suggest only a 6% cost reduction when the superannuation system is mature) nor will it make many more people independent of government in retirement.

Before government looks at how to take more money out of the system in revenue, or forces people to put more money in through higher compulsory contributions, it needs to look at how to make the system work better. Neither the reforms proposed by Labor or Liberal will cut the rising cost of the age pension.


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