Australian Politics 2017-09-19 15:46:00



ZEG

In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is profoundly skeptical of "gender fluidity".  The delusions of a few are now to be accepted as normal?





ROUNDUP OF LEFTIST HATE

Three current articles below

Gay student heckled after declaring his support for ‘No’ campaign.  Skywriters harassed

And they call conservatives haters!

A GAY man campaigning against same-sex marriage has claimed there are thousands of homosexual Australians like him whose views are being “drowned out” by the “yes” campaign.

The Queensland university student is seen proclaiming his views to a heckling crowd in a video shared online by former prime minister Tony Abbott.

“We’re here today because we support marriage as it has always been, between one man and one woman,” the man says at the demonstrated at the University of Queensland. “I am here, specifically, because I’m gay and I am standing up against them.

“They want to drown us out. They want to drown me out. They want to speak for me. They want to speak for me because I’m gay and I am standing up against them.”

The man goes on to claim there ae “thousands” of gay Australians who are against same-sex marriage, and says they are being vilified for their views.

“There are thousands of gay people in this country who are against same-sex marriage, who see the effects that it will have on the family, on schools, on politics, on churches,” he says.

Referring to supporters of changes to Australian marriage laws, he says: “These people hate us. They call us Nazis, bigots, homophobes. Where is the real hatred?”

Sharing the video with his followers, Mr Abbott, who has become a leading voice in the campaign against marriage reform, inferred the clip was a “case in point” that supporters of same-sex marriage were “responsible for bullying and hate speech”.

The former Liberal leader shared a second clip from the event in which it could be seen same-sex marriage campaigners had attempted to take over the demonstration, chanting “yes” over the top of the man’s words.

The demonstration, held on Monday, comes as the electoral watchdog has received complaints about the “Vote No” skywriting over Sydney on the weekend not being properly authorised.

Skywriting

The words “vote no” appeared four times over the city on Sunday morning, a day after the Coalition for Marriage launched its campaign against same-sex marriage.

A grassroots campaigner against same-sex marriage crowd-funded more than $2500 on GoFundMe to pay the pilot to write the message in the sky. One woman donated $1000 to the cause.

The anonymous author of the GoFundMe page declared it was “time for traditional Australian’s (sic) to take a stand”. “It’s time we all sent a clear message that we will not put up with our way of life been (sic) deconstructed any further,” the page said.

The author later announced the money had been frozen by the website “until we give our names and locations”.

The page was inundated with messages of condemnation. “I feel sorry for all of you,” one woman wrote.

“What an awful way to live your lives. I can’t imagine being so hateful.” Organisers said they were “keen to stay fairly anonymous” and defended their actions.

According to the Daily Mail, flight tracking information confirms a Cessna owned by Skywriting Australia left the message in the sky. The company’s charges start from $3990. Social media users began to circulate the company’s contact information and posted the abusive messages they’d sent.

One message called the business owner an “a***hole” while another post said it was “probably the end of your business”.

One text message to the business owner read “usually fighting hate with hate isn’t my style, but you really are a sh** human. You’re definitely the biggest piece of sh** in Australia today. Probably tomorrow too. Hope you’re proud of yourself. Don’t be surprised by the hate coming for you. Titt for tatt, it’s only fair, right? You stupid, ignorant, remorseless, pathetic, old, LOSER”.

Another read “I hope the weather gets hotter this week. It might help to warm your cold black heart #loveislove”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is encouraging a “yes” vote, told reporters people were entitled to express their views.

“If you want people to respect your point of view you’ve got to be prepared to respect theirs,” Mr Turnbull said.

SOURCE

Leftist hate leads to a firing

A Canberra businesswoman says she 'fired' a contractor who posted to social media that 'it's okay to vote no' to same sex marriage.

Madlin Sims, who runs a party entertainment company, posted a blunt message to Facebook this week announcing she had a staff member go.

'Today I fired a staff member who made it public knowledge that they feel "it's okay to vote no"',' Ms Sims wrote.  'Advertising your desire to vote no for SSM is, in my eyes, hate speech. Voting no is homophobic. Advertising your homophobia is hate speech. 'As a business owner I can't have somebody who represents my business posting hate speech online.'

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Ms Sims explained the contractor had been representing her business by often posting photos of parties she worked at. 

The small businesswoman said she didn't want the woman's views associated with her company. 'It's all quite public she worked for the business... That's not something I want to be affiliated with,' she said.

She compared it with employing a staff member who posted racist material online. Ms Sims added she had gay friends, staff members and clients. 'It's just like if I had a racist person working for me especially someone who's so vocal with their beliefs.'

In the post, Ms Sims urged her friends to vote 'yes' in the upcoming same sex marriage survey and listed three justifications for her staffing decision. 

'1. It's bad for business.

2. I don't like s*** morals.

3. I don't want homophobes working for me, especially in an environment with children.'

The 'yes' and 'no' campaigns are currently canvassing the country for votes

The apparent sacking is likely to spark the ire of the No campaign, which has made concerns about freedom of expression a major plank of its argument. 

But Yes campaign representatives have said it's 'misleading' to suggest same sex marriage would affect freedom of speech. 

SOURCE

Same sex marriage supporters hostile towards billboard


Even a church is not allowed to preach Christian teachings, apparently

A BILLBOARD outside a Brisbane church has sparked outrage ahead of the same-sex marriage vote.

The Bellbowrie Community Church posted the sign: “God designed marriage between a man & a woman”.
The sign that caused outrage at a Bellbowrie church.

It was condemned on social media, and critics took to the church’s Facebook page to object.

“Hopefully there are churches in the area that cater to ALL Christians and not just the ones who fit in the narrow minded view of this “Church of God”. I’m sure Christ would be very disappointed in your view of Christianity,” one post said.

Others started taking to the church’s review section and posting one-star reviews.

“A closed-minded group which overtly discriminates against members of our valued community and their (very reasonable) quest for marriage equality,” one woman wrote.

Cartoons of same sex couples and sailors waving rainbow flags were posted in the comments under unrelated posts by the church.

All the reviews and comments about the issue later disappeared.

A spokeswoman for the group 4070 Says Yes said the message on the church sign was not representative of the majority of residents.

“Our community has implored the church to remove the offensive sign, making phone calls, writing letters, emails and meeting with officials to point out the damage and distress it is causing,” she said.

“The church, self-appointed spokesperson of our community, has instead increasingly closed down avenues for feedback.”

But Pastor John Gill said it was not a message of hate, and simply presented God’s view.

“There are two sides to this debate so it was no surprise that some do not agree with the sign. But what did surprise me was the degree of malice expressed by some, which could only be described as hate speech,” he said.

Pastor Gill said freedom of speech was important to Australians.

“This means gay people are entitled to speak their minds, and anybody who does not agree with their views should still respect them and not abuse them for expressing their opinions,” he said.

“In a free country, Christians also have this right. They do not expect everyone will agree, but should they not expect the same freedom to speak and be given the same respect that they give to others?”

Pastor Gill said the Facebook activity had been “difficult” for many in the church. “And as a result, many now realise that it is no longer easy to hold and express a Christian viewpoint in Australia,” he said.

He said he had answered every negative email and extended an invitation to everyone who contacted him to meet in person.

“There have also been a few occasions where a protester with a signboard has protested on the street outside the church,” Pastor Gill said.

“The beauty of a free country is that they are welcome to do this and we don’t begrudge it. It can be hot out there, so we have tried to give any protester some bottled water when somebody has been at the church.”

“There are however some in the community who are supportive of the sign and have thanked me for our stand, but are afraid to say anything on Facebook for fear of being abused,” he said.  “But apart from Facebook, I have had more supportive emails, phone calls and visits than I have had negative ones.”

Pastor Gill said his congregation is free to vote in the plebiscite however they choose.  “As a pastor, it is not my place to tell people how to vote,” he said.

“Many of us have friends and family who are gay, and it is absurd to think we hate them. We love them very much. It is possible to hold different views, yet still love people. So this does not need to be a source of division throughout Australia. We can differ, yet still respect and care for each other and let the voting determine the issue.”

SOURCE






Australia's fraudulent Bureau of Meteorology

Enough is enough. The Bureau of Meteorology yet again stands charged with fabricating temperature records.

This time, thanks to the diligence of scientist Jennifer Marohasy, the bureau has been caught red-handed regulating temperatures to keep them above a predetermined minimum — at least for two NSW automatic weather stations, one located in Goulburn, the other at Thredbo.

The BOM initially admitted it had set an arbitrary limit of minus 10C for the Goulburn station, but then changed the story to the equipment being “not fit for purpose” — because it got too cold — even though the same instruments are used in the Antarctic. The actual temperature measured was a record July low for Goulburn, at minus 10.4C, so why, if the equipment was faulty, didn’t the bureau leave a blank instead of rounding up to minus 10C?

Allowing the bureau to defend itself, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg called for an internal review.

In 77 pages, it acknowledged that, indeed, Goulburn and Thredbo were governed and, minimum limits were set. This was blamed on a filter being installed into these weather stations 15 and 10 years ago respectively. No limits were imposed on maximum temperatures. Yet implicitly, we are asked to believe that the historical temperature record has not been compromised.

Before filters were installed, Goulburn recorded minus 10.9C in August 1994 and, in that cold winter, Thredbo went down to minus 13.6C and nearby Charlotte Pass to minus 23C on June 29, a record low for Australia. Charlotte Pass weather station was decommissioned in March 2015.

Ironically, the bureau’s newest location, near White Cliffs in NSW, home to some of the nation’s hottest temperatures, last August recorded minus 62.5C, due to a “hardware fault”.

A BOM-friendly technical forum, part of former minister Greg Hunt’s plan to buy time and “kill off” a proposed Abbott government probe, has foreshadowed “the need for a major revision of the dataset”.

Predictably, though, it did not address specific claims by Marohasy and others, and seems satisfied the bureau’s dataset is well maintained. Really? This may fool ministers, but for a sceptical public, time has run out.

British author and journalist Christopher Booker says: “When future generations look back on the global warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records — on which the entire (global warming) panic ultimately rested — were systematically ‘adjusted’ to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.” He says this practice has been observed by experts around the world and “raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface temperature record”.

He is joined by John Theon, retired chief of NASA’s Climate Processes Research Program and responsible for all weather and climate research, who testified before congress that “some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it.”

Take the article NASA published in 1999 showing 1934 was the US’s warmest year. Across the ensuing decade, by cooling the past and warming the present, 1998 jumped five places to become the warmest. Whistleblower John Bates, recently retired principal scientist at US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, described how his agency manipulated data to manufacture a non-existent increase in global temperatures.

Why should Australia be any different? We remember the Climategate emails from despairing programmer Ian Harris: “Getting seriously fed up with the state of the Australian data, so many new stations have been introduced, so many false references”.

Science writer and blogger Joanne Nova has raised scandal after scandal concerning the BOM’s record-keeping.

She refers to historic data being destroyed, and the influence of adjustments on Australia’s warming trend. She reports private auditors advising the bureau of almost a “thousand days where minimum temperatures were higher than the maxes”.

Taxpayers outlaying $1 million a day for reliable temperature data deserve better than this.

When Australia’s bureau transitioned from mercury thermometers to electronic sensors more than 20 years ago, to ensure readings from these devices were comparable with the old thermometers and complied with World Meteorological Organisation guidelines, parallel studies were undertaken at multiple sites.

A key conclusion was that readings from the new electronic sensors needed to be averaged over one to 10 minutes. However, rather than implement practices consistent with their finding, the bureau records one-second extremes (or noise), which can be announced as new record highs.

Inherent inconsistency aside, this calls into question whether Australian data is WMO compliant. Marohasy discovered this as part of her investigation and believes it is more damning than even the imposition of minimum limits, as it affects the recording of temperatures from all 695 automatic stations.

Marohasy is a respected scientist, known for her forensic work. While attempts will be made to dismiss her evidence as an arcane academic skirmish over recording methodology, it is a smoking gun that threatens the integrity of global temperature records.

It affects every Australian. It strikes at the heart of renewable energy policies. Globally, trillions of taxpayer dollars are at stake.

The government has a duty to inform the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, should it have sufficient grounds, that the bureau is not complying with WMO guidelines. Sooner or later, closed eyes must open.

Now, with Marohasy’s evidence adding to the credible findings of other experts, there can be no confidence in any future official assurances. Further delay of a proper independent audit, which includes dissidents, can be interpreted only as a cover-up. One way or another, the truth will out.

SOURCE





Students to undergo literacy and numeracy tests from YEAR ONE as part of new national assessment plan

There have always been assessments of one sort or another done in all years so I see no problem with them being nationally co-ordinated

A new national assessment will see students in the first grade undergo literacy and numeracy tests so they don't 'fall between the cracks.'

At present the NAPLAN system tests children from years three, seven and nine on their reading, writing and mathematics skills but there isn't a national standard for students younger than those year groups.

Minister for Education Simon Birmingham explained that Australia's results in primary and secondary academics had declined and was hoping a new system could prevent errors learned in the earlier years from carrying forward, the Herald Sun reports.

At the moment the idea of a nationwide check hasn't been developed but there are reports it could be integrated into the syllabus by 2019.

A panel of researchers and experts advised the Minister that a 'light check' on school students that age could help bolster results in the long term.

'By identifying exactly where students are at in their development early at school, educators can intervene to give extra support to those who need it to stop them slipping behind the pack.'

Instead of being a test conducted in anxiety-inducing school halls the year one 'check' would be far more relaxed and be administered by teachers known to the students.

An online system would then tally up the child's score and release the information to the principal and parents alike.

Mr Birmingham said he would hold discussions with state and territory leaders and education authorities over a trial and implementation roll out.

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



Pace of Dividend Cuts Slows Near End of 2017-Q3

The pace of dividend cuts in 2017-Q3 has decelerated from what we were observing a month ago, where suddenly, 2017-Q3 is perhaps shaping up to be the best quarter to date in 2017. The following chart compares where the cumulative number of dividend cu...

Sneaking across the U.S. border from Mexico is tougher than ever before

Just in case you wrongfully assumed that President Trump and Attorney General Sessions were credible authorities on border security, read this summary of a recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report.
Sneaking across the U.S. border from Mexico is tougher than ever before, and U.S. agents are catching or stopping the majority of those who attempt to do so, according to a new report by the Department of Homeland Security.
The report, published last week by the agency’s Office of Immigration Statistics, estimates that 55 to 85 percent of attempted illegal border crossings are unsuccessful, up from 35 to 70 percent a decade ago. In one telling sign of the difficulty, the number of illegal migrants and deportees who make repeated attempts to get in has also fallen dramatically, because so many would-be migrants are giving up.
The report’s findings challenge depictions of the U.S. border as a place where American law enforcement is overwhelmed and ineffective. President Trump has ordered DHS to make preparations for the construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico, and last week he met with Democratic Party leaders to negotiate additional border security improvements.
The new DHS report indicates the agency has already made significant progress in its ability to stop people from sneaking in or consider trying. Arrests along the Mexico border fell to historic lows during the Obama presidency, then dropped further after Trump took office vowing a crackdown.
 Trump’s defective posture on immigration.

Australian Politics 2017-09-18 15:42:00



We've turned our unis into aimless, money-grubbing exploiters of students (?)

As an economist, Ross Gittins often has substantial things to say.  But as a Leftist he is also a compulsive moaner.  So the points he makes below are cogent but most of them are disputable.

The one area wherein I agree wholeheartedly with him is his condemnation of relaxed assessment standards for overseas fee-paying students.  This practice is, I think, still a minority one but will surely be a big negative eventually when our universities send home to Asia students whose knowledge and skills don't match what is on the pieces of paper we give them.  It devalues our degrees.

Gittins may also have half a point in saying that Lecturers are poorly paid.  In my day we were paid well above average and there does seem to be some slippage from that.  But with salaries closing in on $100,000 pa it's still a long way from  poverty.  Many junior software engineers get about that and they are undoubtedly bright sparks.

And Gittins again has half a point in saying that tenure is now harder to get.  I was appointed with tenure, a rare thing nowadays. But there has to be a balance.  Tenure protects divergent thinking but it also promotes laziness. Once you can't be fired, why work?  I suspect that the delayed granting of tenure that we now see is not a bad balance.  It ensures that for at least a large part of one's academic life we do some work.

But his other points are contentious.  Recorded Lectures are bad?  I would think they are wholly good.  They relieve students of the pressure to take notes, though they can still take notes if they want or need to.  There was only one course I did in my undergraduate days in which I took notes.  Otherwise I concentrated on listening instead. And I am sure I learnt far more that way.  My grades certainly did not suffer from it.

"Overcrowded" lecture halls?  I don't know what he is talking about.  A lecture hall is not a high school classroom.  In my academic career I often fronted up to a lecture in an auditorium with 1,000 or more students in front of me.  And I was able to allow students to interrupt with questions.  So I would think it was a poor lecturer who couldn't handle that.

He says that universities put too much pressure on academics to do research.  I would say that they do too little.  There are now whole tertiary institutions which devalue research.  And many lecturers in all institutions do little of it. But it is only by doing research that you get a real hold on knowledge in your selected field.  You cannot be at the cutting edge without doing your own research.  Otherwise you are just reading the conclusions of others.

But in the end, Gittins's big beef is that the present system of running our universities amounts to a sort of "privatization", which is of course anathema to Leftists.  I think he should throw off those ideological blinkers and look at what is actually happening.  He looks at that so far only "through a glass darkly"



Of the many stuff-ups during the now-finished era of economic reform, one of the worst is the unending backdoor privatisation of Australia's universities, which began under the Hawke-Keating government and continues in the Senate as we speak.

This is not so much "neoliberalism" as a folly of the smaller-government brigade, since the ultimate goal for the past 30 years has been no more profound than to push university funding off the federal budget.

The first of the budget-relieving measures was the least objectionable: introducing the Higher Education Contribution Scheme, requiring students – who gain significant private benefits from their degrees – to bear just some of the cost of those degrees, under a deferred loan-repayment scheme carefully designed to ensure it did nothing to deter students from poor families.

Likewise, allowing unis to admit suitably qualified overseas students provided they paid full freight was unobjectionable in principle.

The Howard government's scheme allowing less qualified local students to be admitted provided they paid a premium was "problematic", as the academics say, and soon abandoned.

The problem is that continuing cuts in government grants to unis have kept a protracted squeeze on uni finances, prompting vice-chancellors to become obsessed with money-raising.

They pressure teaching staff to go easy on fee-paying overseas students who don't reach accepted standards of learning, form unhealthy relationships with business interests, and accept "soft power" grants from foreign governments and their nationals without asking awkward questions.

They pressure academics not so much to do more research as to win more research funding from the government. Interesting to compare the hours spent preparing grant applications with the hours actually doing research.

To motivate the researchers, those who bring in the big bucks are rewarded by being allowed to pay casuals to do their teaching for them. (This after the vice-chancellors have argued straight-faced what a crime it would be for students to be taught by someone who wasn't at the forefront of their sub-sub research speciality.)

The unis' second greatest crime is the appalling way they treat those of their brightest students foolish enough to aspire to an academic career. Those who aren't part-timers are kept on serial short-term contracts, leaving them open to exploitation by ambitious professors.

However much the unis save by making themselves case studies in precarious employment, it's surely not worth it. If they're not driving away the most able of their future star performers it's a tribute to the "treat 'em mean to keep 'em keen" school of management.

But the greatest crime of our funding-obsessed unis is the way they've descended to short-changing their students, so as to cross-subsidise their research. At first they did this mainly by herding students into overcrowded lecture theatres and tutorials.

An oddball minority of academics takes a pride in lecturing well.

Lately they're exploiting new technology to achieve the introverted academic's greatest dream: minimal "face time" with those annoying pimply students who keep asking questions.

PowerPoint is just about compulsory. Lectures are recorded and put on the website – or, failing that, those barely comprehensible "presentation" slides – together with other material sufficient to discourage many students – most of whom have part-time jobs – from bothering to attend lectures. Good thinking.

To be fair, an oddball minority of academics takes a pride in lecturing well. They get a lot of love back from their students, but little respect or gratitude from their peers. Vice-chancellors make a great show of awarding them tin medals, but it counts zilch towards their next promotion.

The one great exception to the 30-year quest to drive uni funding off the budget was Julia Gillard's ill-considered introduction of "demand-driven" funding of undergraduate places, part of a crazy plan to get almost all school-leavers going on to uni, when many would be better served going to TAFE.

The uni money-grubbers slashed their entrance standards, thinking of every excuse to let older people in, admitting as many students as possible so as to exploit the feds' fiscal loophole.

The result's been a marked lowering of the quality of uni degrees, and unis being quite unconscionable in their willingness to offer occupational degrees to far more people than could conceivably be employed in those occupations.

I suspect those vice-chancellors who've suggested that winding back the demand-determined system would be preferable to the proposed across-the-board cuts (and all those to follow) are right.

The consequent saving should be used to reduce the funding pressure on the unis, but only in return for measures to force them back to doing what the nation's taxpayers rightly believe is their first and immutable responsibility: providing the brighter of the rising generation with a decent education.

SOURCE




Town of the damned: the Australian town with ‘staggering’ child sex abuse rate

Aboriginal men very commonly abuse their women and children but it seems to have got really out of hand in this community.  Only a much increased police presence would seem to offer any hope of control

ONE tiny town is in the grip of a paedophile epidemic which in a population of 1400 has seen 184 sexually abused. Warning: Confronting.

ROEBOURNE, Western Australia, is in the grip of a paedophile epidemic that has seen such a high incidence that child sex abuse is “normal”.

Police have charged 36 men with more than 300 offences against 184 children from Roeburne and surrounding communities.

West Australian Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan has described the rate of alleged child sex offending in Roebourne as “staggering” and the problem as “a cancer”.

The former gold rush town, which has a greater population of around 1400, lies in the Pilbara region 1500km north of Perth.  The Pilbara, with vast mining resources and sparsely populated Aboriginal towns, covers 500,000 square kilometres stretching from the Indian Ocean to Central Australia.

Roebourne, where the streets are lined with brick and stone colonial buildings, has dwindled since its 19th century boom as the largest settlement between Darwin and Perth.

It has now been singled out as a festering mess of intergenerational child sexual abuse where kids are more likely to be raped than almost anywhere else on earth.

“It’s a war zone out there and the victims are little kids,” Mr O’Callaghan told the ABC in a recent news report following the multiple arrests of local men under ­Operation Fledermaus.

In a nine-month operation across areas including Roebourne and the neighbouring city of Karratha, police identified almost three times as many suspects as the number arrested.

The scale of the abuse uncovered was the worst WA Police had ever seen and the communities were in an “almost unrecoverable crisis”, Mr O’Callaghan claimed.

Earlier this month, The Australian reported that child sex abuse in Roebourne was so “normal” that even jailing known paedophiles was not enough to end it.

That was the opinion of West Australian Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk who visited Roebourne following the ­Operation Fledermaus arrests. “Yes, you would have to say that, through the sorts of numbers we are starting to see,” she told West Australian Bureau Chief, Paige Taylor. “It’s intergenerational. Many of these perpetrators were victims themselves.”

Alcohol, drugs and violence afflict the Roebourne and surrounding communities whose population is more than half indigenous.

In September last year, police made a public announcement to residents encouraging them to report child abuse.

Several Aboriginal women, young people and children came forward and in the same month, police charged three Roebourne men with child sex offences against girls aged between 13 and 16.

A 45-year-old man was charged with indecent dealing with a child over 13 and under 16 years, offering a prohibited drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A 52-year-old man was charged with two counts of sexual penetration of a child over 13 and under 16 years and one count of indecent dealing with a child over 13 and under 16 years.

A 39-year-old man has been charged with indecent dealing with a child over 13 and under 16 years.

Minister McGurk said “child protection workers, specialist police officers and other dedicated resources [were] on the ground giving support to the families and the community”.

“I’d like to acknowledge the strength of the children, the families … who have the courage to come forward,” she said.  “Actually coming forward is a first step in systemic change.”

Commissioner O’Callaghan, however, identified another factor in the community, which is 80 per cent on welfare. In an article he wrote for The West Australian, Mr O’Callaghan said child sex offenders were spending welfare money on drugs and alcohol to lure children.

“A further pattern emerging is that offending activity seems to increase when offenders receive substantial amounts of money and spend it on a combination of alcohol, drugs, gambling and sex.

“Knowing that welfare payments contribute to increases in many types of offending, particularly alcohol and drug-related offending, is hardly rocket science.

“Linking such payments to an increase in sexual abuse of children, however, is a much newer phenomenon.”

Communities in WA and South Australia were trialling a cashless debit card for welfare recipients, which cannot be used for alcohol, gambling or illicit substances.

Seven years ago, a WA government report painted a bleak picture of the life of Aboriginals in Roebourne.

The Roebourne Report said alcohol abuse, child neglect, violence and crime were occurring at an alarming rate.

Annual alcohol consumption in Roebourne Shire was 26.8 litres per person, three times the state average.

Cannabis use was rife among young people.

On fortnightly welfare pay days, gambling soared and children were left to their own devices. Unsupervised children roamed the streets at night and house break-ins were viewed “as the rite-of-passage for many Roebourne youth”.

A high proportion of Roebourne children considered vulnerable in terms of their physical, social and emotional development.

According to Roebourne local, Violet Sampson alcohol abuse has turned the town’s grandmothers into safe house operators.

Ms Sampson told news.com.au that she began looking after her grandchildren when their parents were out drinking. “I have three kids here,” she said. “When their parents split up and went off drinking, the kids came to me.

“When they need a good sleep, without overcrowding and a feed, I take them. “And they can go to school in the morning.

“It’s what grandmothers do here in Roebourne, Karratha. Aboriginal families we look after the kids.”

SOURCE






'If you don't know, vote no': Gay, conservative professor joins the push to oppose same-sex marriage

Flinty was a good-looking guy in his early years so I always suspected that he had a good time with the ladies. It seems I was wrong

Professor David Flint, who is openly gay but discreet about his personal life, quoted another gay conservative, Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones, to argue why voters should vote 'no' in the federal government's postal vote survey.

'As Alan Jones said in 1999, if you don't know, vote no,' the 79-year-old academic told Sky News Australia.

'We just don't know what's going to happen.'

Jones, a perennial top-rating broadcaster on radio 2GB, is actually in favour of gay marriage but shares former Liberal prime minister John Howard's concerns about religious freedom.

'I'll be voting 'Yes' for same sex marriage. But John Howard is right. We must protect parental & religious freedoms and freedom of speech,' Jones tweeted last week.

The phrase 'if you don't know, vote no' was used by opponents of Australia becoming a republic during the November 1999 referendum on whether to cut ties with the Queen.

That phrase actually belonged to future prime minister and Howard government minister Tony Abbott, who was the leader of the 'No' case 18 years ago as an ardent constitutional monarchist.

Mr Abbott is now a leading 'No' case campaigner, despite having a lesbian sister, Christine Forster, who supports gay marriage.

Professor Flint, who is also a monarchist, has joined gay couple Ben Rogers and Mark Poidevin in publicly speaking out against gay marriage.

The men from Wollongong, south of Sydney, fell in love 15 years but don't want to tie the knot. Mr Poidevin, a practising Catholic, opposes gay marriage on the grounds it could be a slippery slope that leads to polygamy.

'If we make one exception for one community - that being the same-sex couples - where does it stop?,' he told the ABC's 7.30 program earlier this month.

'Do we then see other cultures being allowed to have multiple marriages?  'Do we allow, see the age of consent being lowered for another group of minorities? 'That is my concern of where it would lead.'

Mr Poidevin hasn't always opposed the idea of same-sex marriage, having popped the question to his partner five years ago.

Professor Flint, a former head of the Press Council and the Australian Broadcasting Authority, is a former Labor Party member turned conservative with close ties to John Howard, who is spearheading the 'No' campaign.

Gay former High Court justice Michael Kirby is a monarchist who supports gay marriage and will be voting 'Yes'.

The Coalition for Marriage launched its 'Vote No' campaign at Sydney's Darling Harbour on Saturday night.

Ballots are being sent to Australian households and are due back by November 7.

SOURCE






AGL gets more from Greenie subsidies than it get from burning coal

No wonder it wants to shut down its coal generators -- thus leaving Australia with insufficient base-load power

Australians are on track to pay more than $500 million to AGL to fund its flagship solar generators, as the energy giant prepares to shut down its Liddell coal power station, a move that has prompted warnings of a power shortfall that could lead to blackouts and price hikes.

The company has already ­secured $230m in direct grants and is forecast to gain far more under the renewable energy ­target, deepening the political divide on energy policy as the federal government considers cutting ­future aid to make coal more competitive.

The scale of the subsidy is now a key question in the government’s debate on whether to ­embrace a clean energy target, as opponents of the idea challenge AGL and others to prove that wind and solar schemes can work without taxpayer handouts.

Malcolm Turnbull and his cabinet ministers are yet to decide on whether to adopt a clean ­energy target but are unwilling to continue the heavy subsidy, ­putting a priority on more reliable power supplies, including coal and gas.

The two AGL solar farms in western NSW generate a combined 359,000 megawatt hours of electricity, just 4 per cent of the ­capacity of Liddell, but have ­secured more long-term investment than the coal power station under laws that continue the ­renewable subsidy until 2030.

Investors are warning the ­government against a halt to the taxpayer assistance for renewables, arguing this would lead to an investment freeze that would ­intensify the energy shortages in the decade ahead.

Former resources minister Matt Canavan said the subsidy going to AGL from taxpayers and electricity consumers contrasted with claims that renewables would be more efficient than coal regardless of government assistance.

“AGL keeps telling everybody that renewables no longer need a subsidy — well, if that’s the case, why do we need a clean energy target?” Senator Canavan said.

The Australian understands the government is aiming to encourage more investment in reliable power with a “capacity pricing” structure that could favour coal and gas and meet Mr Turnbull’s stated aim of improving the ability to “dispatch” power at short ­notice.

Even so, AGL is seeking to shut Liddell in 2022, rejecting a ­government push to keep it open a further five years, and is planning to replace it with renewable power and “peaking” gas that can fire up when electricity supply is low.

AGL chief financial officer Brett Redman told The Australian the subsidies for the solar farms would shrink in the decade ahead as the value of renewable energy certificates declined.

Mr Redman also sent a clear warning that the government’s looming decision on a clean ­energy target would not change the company’s assessment that a new coal-fired power station was not viable.

“The economics are now somewhat overwhelming — the world of electricity generation is heading down the renewables path,” Mr Redman said.

“Even without the impact of carbon-emissions policies, we would absolutely be heading down the path of building more renewables. Coal-fired power will not be built in that world.”

The AGL solar projects at ­Nyngan and Broken Hill received $166.7m in direct grants from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and another $64.9m from the NSW government, as well as qualifying for credits under the renewable energy target.

The Australian estimates the Nyngan project receives more than $18m a year for its 233,000 megawatt hours given an $80 price for renewable energy ­certificates, while the Broken Hill project receives about $10m a year for its 126,000 megawatt hours.

While taxpayers funded the initial grants, households pay for the renewable certificates because the cost is passed on to them in their electricity bills.

TFS Green analyst Marco Stella wrote in RenewEconomy on September 4 that the spot price for these certificates rose above $85 in late August.

AGL stands to receive $589m from the original grants and consumer subsidies for the two solar projects over the period to 2030 if the price holds at $80 until 2020 and then falls to $60 for the ­subsequent decade, an outlook described as conservative by two sources familiar with the market. This falls to about $480m if the renewable certificates fall to $30 in the next decade. It drops to $375m in the unlikely event the certificates fall to zero from 2021.

AGL sold the two projects to its Powering Australian Renewables Fund last November, making no cash profit in the sale. It owns 20 per cent of the fund while 80 per cent is held by Queensland Investment Corporation for clients including the Future Fund.

Mr Redman said the two projects were built in response to government calls for early investors to demonstrate large-scale solar and when the cost of the technology was much higher than it is today.

He said “we’d build a wind farm in every backyard” if the spot price of certificates stayed at today’s levels, but added this was unrealistic and the values were likely to fall in the early 2020s as they had in the past.

The government is weighing up whether to embrace a “reliability energy target” or a “strategic reserve” to offer financial rewards to AGL and others to build gas power, given the industry belief that major new coal power stations will not be viable.

This will get a higher priority than new schemes to subsidise renewables.

However, the rewards to AGL and others for their existing solar or wind projects cannot be altered because the Senate is highly unlikely to allow a change to the renewable energy target rules that apply until 2020 and continue payments until 2030.

The government has decided it has nothing to gain from ­starting a fight over the RET that it cannot win, leading it to keep the rules as they were agreed by Tony Abbott as prime minister in 2015.

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




Shift in Expectations Boosts S&P 500 in Week 2 of September 2017

U.S. stock prices during the second week of September 2017 were largely driven by two news events:

  1. Actual damage from Hurricane Irma in Florida proved to be considerably less than had been projected.
  2. Inflation data put rate hikes back onto the Federal Reserve's table in the near future.

By "near future", the likelihood that the Fed would next hike short term U.S. interest rates went from last week's zero percent chance of happening anytime soon to a greater than 50% probability that they will act to make it happen in December 2017, where the CME Group's FedWatch Tool indicates that the market expects no change in rates to be announced at the Fed's meeting this week.


Probabilities for Target Federal Funds Rate at Selected Upcoming Fed Meeting Dates (CME FedWatch on 15 September 2017)
FOMC Meeting Date     75-100 bps 100-125 bps 125-150 bps 150-175 bps 175-200 bps 200-225 bps
20-Sep-2017 (2017-Q3) 1.4% 98.6% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
13-Dec-2017 (2017-Q4) 0.6% 41.6% 55.6% 2.2% 0.0% 0.0%
21-Mar-2018 (2018-Q1) 0.4% 31.7% 52.0% 15.0% 0.8% 0.0%
13-Jun-2018 (2018-Q2) 0.3% 22.6% 45.9% 25.6% 5.1% 0.3%

The effect of this new information on stock prices can be seen in our alternative futures "spaghetti" chart.

Alternative Futures - S&P 500 - 2017Q3 - Standard Model - Snapshot on 15 September 2017

With investors shifting their forward-looking focus from 2018-Q2 to 2017-Q4, the S&P 500 rose to reach a record high during Week 2 of September 2017, although right now, the data suggests that investors are splitting their attention between 2017-Q4 and 2018-Q2, where stock prices are reaching toward the very top of the echo effect-adjusted range we indicated for 2018-Q2 just last week.

The thing to pay attention to this week that might more fully cement investor focus onto 2017-Q4 is the statement that will be issued by the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Comittee at the conclusion of its upcoming meeting on Wednesday, 20 September 2017, as well as the statements of individual Fed officials in the following days.

Looking backwards, here are the more signficant market moving headlines that caught our attention during Week 2 of September 2017.

Monday, 11 September 2017
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Thursday, 14 September 2017
Friday, 15 September 2017

Meanwhile, Barry Ritholtz succinctly summarized the positives and negatives for Week 2 of September 2017.