Archive for February, 2011

Is this the start?

February 28, 2011

The begining of the end

This looks wonderful. After the sudden reversal of Sportsbet odds for Julia — strangely ignored by any of our papers over the weekend — this new poll from Essential Report is promising.

Two Party Preferred: 28 Feb 2011

Labor
48     -3
Coalition
52    +3
These figures are a two week average, so presumably also includes figures from before Julia’s big lie and her promotion of the Greens to her new cabinet….


The ABC and Fairfax must think

February 27, 2011

What does the Left not understand about bad policy?

Henry Ergas does it again. It is very frustrating that our left wing dominated media and ALP supporting commentators can’t see a bad, destructive policy.

Coming on the heels of Terry McCrann’s scathing critique of the CO2 tax, Ergas examines the four claims that supporters of the Gillard CO2 tax make, and finds that none stand up to scrutiny. He concludes that in “the national interest” — such a blighted Gillard term — it would be hard to think of a more harmful tax.

The four claims

The first is to deny our tax would be unilateral,

In effect, it will be.

The second claim is that even if unilateral action did cause income losses, the creation of green jobs would offset them.

They don’t.

The third claim defenders of the tax make is that by acting now, we increase the prospects of global agreement.

It will have the opposite effect.

Fourth and last, supporters of a unilateral carbon tax claim it will bring certainty.

It won’t, and the government knows it.

In conclusion, Ergas asks the sober and essential question that the press refuses to ask, or perhaps even understand:

The question remains, therefore, why we would act unilaterally, creating costs for so few environmental benefits. To that question, the community still awaits a sensible answer.

French 101

February 26, 2011

Mais non!  Ca se dit pas comme ca !!

The poor old French. Resistant to all things anglo-saxon, their government feels it a sacred duty to control the way the French speak, or the way they engage with anything innovative that lies outside their borders .

Charles Bremner explains:

The government has just decreed that all state employees must use the terms tablette or ardoise (slate) or tablette tactile for what it defines laboriously as as ‘Ordinateur portable et ultraplat, qui se présente comme un écran tactile et qui permet notamment d’accéder à des contenus multimédias.’

The term iPad may only be used for the specific brand, said the General Commission for Terminology and Neology.

This is the body that defines the official French equivalent of the American terms imported mainly from the world of high tech, business and entertainment. Once a substitute has been decreed, state employees can be punished for using the foreign original in the course of their work. That includes broadcasters on the public radio and TV networks…

Most of the linguistic inventions are clunky and long-winded and come over as naff.

Mon dieu. La France est ridicule.

[Thanks to reader Andrew R]

Gillard lies …. UPDATE

February 24, 2011

Oopsees !!!

Many thought it was a gamble, but the reaction has been very sudden. Whilst much can change, there is strong reason for hope. This may indeed be Gillard’s death knell.

FURY over Julia Gillard’s carbon tax backflip sees punters shift their money to powerbroker Bill Shorten as likely to lead Labor to the next election.
Punters have also backed the Coalition to win the next federal election as Ms Gillard faced the fallout from the carbon tax.
The Coalition has firmed from $2.20 to $1.67 as favourites to win the 2013 poll, Sportsbet says.
Labor are now $2.20 outsiders to win the election, out from $1.65 when the market opened in September last year.

On the Herald Sun website there was also a vote with over 16,000 participants. :

Do you support a price on carbon?
• Yes14.97% (2422 votes)
• No85.03% (13762 votes)

I know it’s just Herald Sun readers, but, ”Ouch” nevertheless.

Gillard lies

February 24, 2011

“… hypocrisy, stupidity and deceit rolled into one”

Meet our new government 

There has been a massive, outraged reaction to Julia Gillard’s carbon tax announcement.

Terry McCrann says it all, clearly and concisely.

It sets out to hurt every Australian – to absolutely no point. It can make not the slightest difference to the local climate, far less the global climate.

It purports to cut our emissions of carbon dioxide when we are happily pocketing the billions from selling coal and iron ore to China and the rest of Asia.

Talk about hypocrisy, stupidity and deceit rolled into one.

Putting one hand on heart, Gillard says we have to save the planet by cutting our emissions, while the other hand seeks to grab a bigger share of the profits of the mining companies from helping China double and even triple its emissions.

Tony Abbott is hoping — like the rest of us — that this does not get up.

I don’t think anyone should assume that this tax is going to get up,” he told ABC Radio this morning.

Mr Abbott said a popular movement could stop the carbon tax in the same way a campaign killed the Rudd government’s original mining tax.

“There will be a people’s revolt against this.”

Let us wait for the next polls. Either Gillard gets a boost, or, if the scepticism of the public on climate change is any indication, and if the distrust of the government’s swing to the loony green left bights, it might be her death knell.

The Age breaks an extraordinary record

February 22, 2011

Official: Victoria’s summer rainfall record broken, and it is NOT global warming

Is this a first for The Age? It is a shock when you think about it, and it certainly deserves congratulations. In a detailed account of Melbourne’s wettest summer on record there was not one mention of global warming in the article. . No where!

Congratulations to Megan Levy, the journalist, and to two staffers at the Met Bureau. I may have missed other articles like it, but this would appear to be a first.

[Image: joannenova.com.au]

Glass ceiling truly shattered

February 21, 2011

A long time coming

It is still a struggle for committed gender feminists to accept a truth staring us in the face. A new study by the the UK Institute of Leadership and Management has declared that the long envied glass ceiling may be all in the mind. Penny de Valk, chief executive of the Institute was surprised at the results that suggests it is a lack of ambition and self-confidence, not overt male sexism that is holding women back from senior management roles.

For many years I have been writing about this issue and it is nice to read a news article that confirms what so many previous studies have shown. I concluded in an article in September 2000, in response to a bogus piece of research on salaries by the Australian Institute of Management, and which elicited the predictable “shocking finding” bleating of organizations like the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency,

Could it not be thought, in present day Australia, that the so called glass ceiling is really a glass mirror? Some women, when looking up, see themselves reflected in it. Equal opportunity and a society free from sex discrimination are obvious, necessary and good things. A dogged belief in equal outcomes is ultimately profoundly reactionary and patronizing.

Barrie Cassidy does not understand balance

February 20, 2011

Not quite crocodile tears … but nearly

Barrie Cassidy still does not understand what bias is. He complained last week in a letter to The Australian of being treated dishonestly, misleadingly and unfairly.

That he criticised the ALP at least as much as the Liberals is a common argument in the ABC. They hit the Liberals and they hit Labor. They hit the Liberals from the left and that is understood. But almost always, they hit the ALP from … err, the left of the ALP. And this is the game Barrie plays. This has been the game the ABC has been playing since Hawke took Australia to the first Gulf War.

Another instance is green policies. The ALP is never green enough for the ABC, just as refugee policies are never compassionate enough. Barrie was all for compassion for the nine year old boy in Sydney, but that compassion would never extend to questioning why the nine year old boy’s parents died in the first place, or how many millions of other potential refugees, who waste away in the vilest conditions in refugee camps throughout the world, will never get the chance to come to Australia … because of smuggled boat people. When, for instance, will the ABC commentators start insisting on questioning the Gillard government’s inability to stop the boats,  and the drownings?

A letter in reply to Cassidy’s dummy spit suggested that “when Barrie dares to have three conservatives on the same day to discuss politics, maybe then his feigned hurt at being called biased can be taken more seriously.”

That would be an interesting excercise, but more importantly, the ABC does not even understand what the important issues are, and so never really asks the right questions. Take for instance this morning on Insiders. They discussed multiculturalism, but as Andrew Bolt correctly points out, the media does not even understand the debate it is trying to stop, and refuses in effect to discuss the malaise and disquiet growing within Australia, or indeed why Chris Bowen is suddenly talking up multiculturalism.

However, with more genuinely representative journalists — by this I mean those that represent mainstream views — Barrie might just be confronted a little more with what it means to be balanced.

Penny Sackett resigns

February 18, 2011

“A breath of fresh”, yes, but “courage” Senator Milne?

Penny Sackett, astronomer and climate change activist — aka Australia’s Chief Scientist — resigned yesterday after only half way through her five-year appointment, citing personal and professional reasons.

As we know, Professor Sackett, was a very outspoken proponent for the need to act on climate change, but like so many in this area, somewhat light on facts. Gilding the lilly, as one does with departures, gloden handshakes and at funerals, Julia Gillard said that she,

has offered objective, clear and constructive advice during her 2 1/2 years at the helm of this important office.

Kim Carr, who apparently doesn’t like her, talked of her “substantial contribution” to scientific debate.

The reward for the most fatuous comment comes from Senator Christine Milne. She applauded Professor Sackett for being a “breath of fresh air” and courageous.

Her courage in responding to and advocating about the climate challenge has been noted and appreciated by many Australians.

In such a prestigious post, with so many billions flowing from governments world wide and so many institutions pushing the climate change agenda, and of course not forgetting the trips overseas and the compliant media circus, it is hard to see where courage comes in.

The National Curriculum: A Critique

February 16, 2011

How to deprive our children of their heritage

A timely and invaluable monograph, The National Curriculum: A critique, has just been released by the Institute of Public Affairs in the context of their ongoing Foundations of Western Civilization Program. As Chris Berg, the editor, says in his introduction,

The release of the federal government’s national curriculum gives us an opportunity to take stock of how Australia sees itself, its role in the world, and its position in the grand sweep of history – in other words, how it imagines itself not just as a nation, but as part of a civilisation.

Alas, the way Australia sees itself, according the analysis of the writers in this book, is pretty dismal. It would appear that almost all the conventional and traditional understanding that most of us have for the origins of the uniqueness of Western Civilisation and the qualities that Australia has inherited and shares with other western societies, is almost completely absent. Worse, this understanding and these qualities appear to be wilfully and deliberately ignored in this shiny new curriculum. Antonio Gramsci in his grave would be thrilled beyond belief. Conservatives should be horrified.

The book is organized as a set of six essays on particular areas of the syllabus by six writers.

Greg Melleuish takes a swipe at the history syllabus and concludes that it is a mishmash of disconnected study areas with no “organizing principle”, leaving the subject areas open to arbitrariness and prejudice. In this way, year nine students can choose in depth studies of the Ottoman Empire followed by Polynesian expansion, followed by a study of Spanish conquest. This leads, as Melleuish puts it, to human history of the past ten thousand years reaching its climax with AC/DC and Kylie Minogue.

Richard Allsop takes a closer look at Australian History, announcing the sad news that in less than 30 years Victorian students taking Year 12 history has declined from 42 percent to 5 percent. It seems students like facts. This syllabus wants to focus on “method rather than substance, on developing skills rather than imparting knowledge”. Australian exceptionalism is ignored, or avoided –– forget that Australia was, before Federation, one of the richest countries on Earth.

Augusto Zimmermann takes to task the way the syllabus ignores concepts like the separation of powers or the Westminster system, and only passingly touches on the Magna Carta, the 1688 Glorious Revolution or the American Revolution. Unsurprisingly, the curriculum will thus give students the impression that freedom and human rights only began with the United Nations.

Barry Spurr shows how English has been corralled into po-mo gibberish. Spurr finds the mandated imperatives in the new English curriculum as “platitudinous, philosophically vacuous-unsubstantiated feel-good rhapsody”. He astutely observes that the academic study of English language and literature –– the discipline of English –– has been “transmuted into an agent of social change”. Discipline in the study of language is absent. Further, Spurr sees the gutting of the greatest poets as “cultural philistinism, indeed barbarism on a grand scale.”

David Daintree tackles the issue of our Christian heritage and the importance of the Bible as a reference point to our cultural literacy. The most perverse aspect of this new syllabus is that over the 2000 years of European history, Christianity and its contribution is not specifically mentioned; as Daintree observes, there is “deliberate, pointed, tendentious and outrageous silence”.

To finish off, Julie Novak gives us an analysis of the failure of the new curriculum to explain Australia’s prosperity by excluding any explanation that involves free markets, enterprise or the capitalistic system. It reminds this reviewer that this tendency has already happened with disastrous results in France and Germany. Novak finds the new curriculum does not recognise the role economics plays in our historical development and when mentioned is largely negative. She concludes that students will not be able to understand our economic achievements of the past, nor those of the present, and will be “unable to capitalise on the exciting economic opportunities that lie ahead”.

This book is important. Its aim is to look at the national curriculum and to see how much it explains the foundations of Western Civilisation to our children. Clearly, it fails. If it is not stopped or changed, we will fail our children utterly in developing their understanding of themselves and their society.

This review first appeared at  Quadrant Online

Buy The National Curriculum: A Critique here…



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