Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

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…


An end to dhimmitude in the UK?

February 4, 2011

Only 170 years late


I posted comments from Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore musing about the requirements necessary for Muslims to be able to integrate into advanced, democratic societies.

He was excoriated by the usual intemperate suspects for saying so.

Now David Cameron will today declare an end to “passive tolerance” of divided communities, and say that members of all faiths must integrate into wider society and accept core values.

To be British is to believe in freedom of speech and religion, democracy and equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality. Everyone, from ministers to ordinary voters, should actively confront those who hold extremist views.

Well, isn’t it about time for some sanity on this issue. I remember a much earlier warning — try 1840 — in Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Considered by many as the best book ever written on democracy, it still contains remarkable insights into the importance and fragility of present day democratic systems. In particularly, he noted that Islam, because it came with “political maxims, civil and criminal laws, and theories of science” as well as a “body of religious doctrines”, was inimical to democracy.

It is just this conflict that Cameron distinguishes, as does the wise ex Prime Minister of Singapore, and as did Aayan Hirsi Ali in Australia recently, but to deaf media ears.

Mr Cameron will draw a clear distinction between “Islamist extremism” as a political ideology, and the Islamic faith itself. “We need to be clear: Islamic extremism and Islam are not the same thing,” he will say.

The Government is reviewing its entire strategy for counter-terrorism and community cohesion amid concern that the state is working too closely with Muslim groups that do not fully endorse liberal values. Mr Cameron will say that community groups will be scrutinised in future to see if they promote democracy, equality and integration. Those that fail the “tests” will be cut off. “No public money, no sharing of platforms with ministers,” he will say

Is it too much to think our Australian Government will come to its sense and end our passive tolerance, or dhimmitude, towards  Australian tax payer funded activities of Islamic groups in the name of multiculturalism.

UPDATE

If there were any doubt about the Australian Government’s funding of doubtful and potentially dangerous Islamic groups under the guise of multiculturalism, read today’s post by Andrew Bolt.

The Islamic Youth Movement used to meet in Australia’s biggest mosque, the one in Lakemba presided over by Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, for years the Mufti of Australia, despite praising suicide bombers, backing the Hezbollah terrorist group, calling the September 11 attacks “God’s work against oppressors” and saying uncovered Australian girls invited rape.

Among its activities, the IYM published a magazine called Call to Islam, edited by Bilal Khazal.

In it appeared fawning interviews with members of some of the world’s worst terrorist groups, including the one that bombed the World Trade Centre in 1993 and another that killed 58 tourists in Luxor, Egypt.

It even interviewed—and praised—al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, who’d already declared war on the West and was planning his September 11 attacks on the United States.

It also published articles by extremists such as its translator, Keysar Trad, now head of the Islamic Friendship Association, who wrote: “The criminal dregs of white society colonised this country, and now, they only take the select choice of other societies, and the descendants of these criminal dregs tell us that they are better than us.”

Now here’s how our government-funded prophets of multiculturalism and their fellow travellers dealt with this hotbed of imported hate and us-against-them separatism.

Khazal’s youth movement was not punished (at first), but given three government grants. Two were multicultural grants totalling nearly $7000 from the NSW Government, to teach its supporters not English but Arabic.

The other was a federal work-for-the-dole grant to spruce up its office and arrange its library of propaganda.

Gillard continues to waste our money

January 25, 2011

How to make electricity eight times more expensive

Alan Moran explains how the government is able to convert a $300m sow’s ear that would produce electricity for a cost that is eightfold its value into a silk purse by waving a magic wand four times. By doing this, it is happy to destabilise the commerciality of the electricity supply industry.

He explains that this squandering of taxpayer resources serves to illustrate just how inured we have all become to misused government spending. Looking at the ABC’s reporting of this waste, you would conclude, like most other ABC reports on renewable energy, that it was all good news and positive benefit.


Faine and economic ignorance of the Left

December 9, 2010

Water tanks would cost nearly 200 times more…

Jon Faine, spruiking Green policies on the ABC yet again this week, promotes the mandating of rain tanks for Melburnians. This desire of his underlines the economic and mathematical illiteracy of the Left. They can’t do sums, and have no idea of real costs to real people, most of whom can simply not afford the luxuries they indulge in themselves.

From my reckoning [figures from official government websites]:

The average total cost of a 5,000 litre tank is around $3,137.

For a Melbourne population of 4,644,950, there are 1,667,687 households. Therefore, the total price for mandating rain tanks would be approximately $5 billion and they would store a potential 8,330 ML of water.

The dam that Labor has refused to build, the Mitchell Dam, would have had a capacity of 500,000 ML. That is, one dam, costing around $1.5 billion — that is a third of the cost of rain tanks and equivalent to just three years of operation of the $5 billion desal plant — would have stored 62 times more water. This is, dollar for dollar, nearly 200 times more water for the money spent. Or to put it another way, Faine’s planned mandated water tanks, if they were to do what this one dam could do for $1.5 billion, would cost individuals the equivalent of $180 billion.

In addition, the proposed mandated rain water tanks would, in a drought, last an average household — at 155 litres per person — only two or three weeks.   The one extra dam would supply water to Melbourne, at the same rate — for around two years.

Maybe households in Fitzroy can afford this nonsense but it would either hurt the poor, or if subsidized, overwhelm the taxpayer. Either way, it is crazy economics and utterly stupid as a way of waterproofing a city like Melbourne. But do the fanatical greens care at all ?

From Nopenhagen to Yes We Cancun

December 6, 2010

The IPCC and Perma-socialism


A very amusing communication from Christopher Monkton has appeared on What’s Up with That, documenting the stupidity and waste that is the UN Climate Change Conference.

Instead, the Martini Marxists dancing the night away doing the Cancun Can-Can with the 25 pneumatic bunny girls in the newly-opened Playboy Casino on the ocean-front strip in Cancun have decided to copy the bureaucrats of the European Union, whose crafty, crabwise coup d’etat over the last three or four decades has transferred all real political power, little by little, treaty by treaty, to the dismal dictatorship of Brussels.

Read on about how the “enviro zombs’” plan to destroy democracy world wide. If these buggers get purchase, it will be quite depressing, really.

I Love A Sunburnt Country

December 2, 2010

A gentle reminder from Dorothea Mackellar

A big thanks to Dorothea Mackellar for this rigorous historical documentation of climate change, written before any real increases in industrial atmospheric carbon di-oxide, and before our modern, scientific understanding of the Indian Ocean Dipole or the El Nino Southern Oscillation.

It is time that our Prime Minister, the Chief Scientist, ABC presenters — including Tony Jones, Robyn “100 metres” Williams and Jon Faine — and all those other soppy green environmentalists with weak or wishful memories, reread this wonderful poem. I should remind them that the poem was written in 1906, just in case they think it was written about our recent, inexplicable ‘extreme’ weather events caused, according to these fools, by global warming.

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded Lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens,
Is running in your veins;
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies –
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains,
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me.

The tragic ring-barked forests
Stark white beneath the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
An orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the crimson soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart around us
We see the cattle die –
But then the grey clouds gather
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold;
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land –
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand –
Though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown Country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Chief Scientist Sackett obfuscates

December 1, 2010

A true bureaucratic

It is difficult to imagine how Penny Sackett earned her title as Chief Scientist for Australia. Last night she was interviewed on Lateline where Tony Jones predictably failed to get any interesting information out of her. Jones gave a half hearted attempt to question what I call the “Dorethea Mackellar” factor, whether or not the drought and now the flooding rains is not a natural cycle rather than a consequence of global warming.

TONY JONES: Do you believe then there is a connection between the extremes or the extreme events in the Southern Oscillation Index and overarching global warming, is there any proof of that?

PENNY SACKETT: The – what we do know is that we can expect an increase in the severity and the frequency of extreme events. What we cannot say is that any particular single event is related to global warming. It’s rather statistically the number and the severity of them.

Jones tried again:

TONY JONES: But do you have a report or scientific advice for those farmers in the Murray-Darling who are essentially being told they may have to pack up their farms and stop being farmers because of climate change and restrictions to water in the future, even though they’re looking at large volumes of water now?

PENNY SACKETT: I think that holistically Australia will have to ask questions about what sort of food it can grow, where it can grow and how it can increase productivity.

He asked and repeated the question in various forms at least five times.

On nuclear energy, Ms Sackett was just as unforthcoming. This was the fourth question Jones asked her on that topic. Her fourth answer of course was basically the same as the previous three.

TONY JONES: But if the Government asked for your advice as a chief scientist on whether nuclear power’s a viable option for Australia and whether it would be beneficial, what would you say?

PENNY SACKETT: I’d say that we would need to study it. We would need to get a series of experts in who would not only look at nuclear energy, but a whole suite of energy options and provide a report back. But I certainly wouldn’t be answering the question without looking carefully at the evidence.

On emission reductions, Ms Sackett was decisive.

TONY JONES: The Australian Government is currently promising a five per cent emissions reduction target. Do you regard that as a serious target that will achieve anything?

PENNY SACKETT: I regard any action that begins to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as serious – any reduction.

And so the dreary interview finally came to its end. This woman presumably gets paid a lot of money. Tax payers may ask what for?

And what about Tony Jones? With his token “hard” questions, he displayed absolutely no impatience, or insistence, that Sackett answer his questions. He, after all, is also on the global warming gravy trail.

The Flaky Greens

November 29, 2010

Greens turning a dirty grey

At last, the Greens seem to be getting it in the neck. It is not just the outcome of the Victorian election but analysis of their policies and who they represent. The commentators are moving in and exposing them as the dangerous extremists that they are. A serious analysis of the policies and the allegiances reveal something less pure than saving trees and saving the planet.

Many are now suggesting that Julia Gillard take urgent action to distance herself from the Greens and their toxic policies. Janet Albrechtsen suggests

Labor can expose the Greens as a party with a BANANA agenda (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything).

A couple of weeks ago Greg Sheridan likened the reverential welcome the ABC extends to Bob Brown as if he were an Anglican Bishop from 50 years ago. He analysed their website and was scathing about their policies.

However, a cursory stroll through the Greens website shows just how extreme and destructive their ideology is. It’s built on a hatred of modern Western society and as such is the logical successor to the Communist Party, just as many Greens were former communist activists or their progeny.

The latest wrap from Paul Sheehan in the Sydney Morning Herald, talks of the Greens flakiness with their kickbacks, union funding, voodoo economics, allegiances with Israel loathing activists.

The Greens are a fraudulent brand. There are not enough letters of the alphabet to encompass the image fraud this party is perpetrating on the electorate. It is simply not a party preoccupied with the environment.

Sheehan takes us letter by letter through the sins of the Greens. It is a wonderful summary.  People are indeed starting to understand that the love of nature can have impurities.

Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story

November 22, 2010

Martin Durkin does it again

We all remember Martin Durkin and his wonderful documentary, The Great Global Warming Swindle, that so thoroughly upset and embarrassed the ABC a couple of years ago. The ABC Collective was so outraged that, from memory, it was the first time they had issued a formal disclaimer that the documentary in no way reflected the views of the ABC …  ahem … as if the ABC has a particular view in the first place.

Anyway, Durkin has produced a new and timely documentary on Britain’s financial woes, Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story. According to James Delingpole in the Spectator, it is the most important programme to have appeared on British television this year. It has not, to my knowledge, been reviewed or discussed anywhere in Australia.

From what I have gleaned from the British press reviews and seen from the promos, it is quite a confronting piece, just as his Swindle was for believers in global warming. Whilst most of us know about debt and the shake up from the GFC, there is still much disquiet. In our hearts, most of us don’t really believe that it is all over, or that our leaders have much of a clue. Delingpole recons that unless David Cameron actually does something to reduce government spending, rather than just cutting the rate of increase of government spending, Britain will end up like Honecker’s East Germany.

Last year our government spent more in benefits than it raised in income tax. One third of households in Britain now receive more than half their income in state benefits. Yet our national debt now stands at £4.8 trillion — a figure so large it’s hard even to imagine. If you stacked that figure up in £50 notes, you’d have a pile reaching 6,500 miles into space. If you sold every single house and flat in Britain to try to pay off the debt, you’d still be £1 trillion short …

‘Ah,’ goes up the bien-pensant cry. ‘But if we cut government spending too drastically front-line services will suffer.’ Oh, really? Of the £700 billion-plus of our money currently being squandered every year by the government, only around £200 billion goes on doctors, teachers, police and other ‘key workers’. Most of it simply goes on administration, on diversity-outreach consultants, on climate-change advisers, on entirely pointless government ‘initiatives’ such as the various ones devised to cope with our failing education system: the Numeracy Task Force, the National Skills Academy, Early Learning Partnerships, Excellence Hubs, Learning Outside the Classroom, Parenting Early Intervention Pathfinders, The Framework for Personal and Learning Skills.

I wonder if our ABC intends to show this doco, even forgetting their bad experience with Durkin. The problem for them is that whilst Australia is at the moment in a more fortunate place than Britain, it will remind viewers very much of the Rudd/Gillard profligacy that Mr Swann, the Independents and almost all the commentariat are helping to justify, especially with their obstinacy over the NBN.

What Durkin, and many other international commentators like Niall Furguson are reminding us, is that our politicians, including Obama and the Fed in the US, just don’t seem to know what they are doing.