Another Step Toward Climate Apocalypse (?)

Paul Krugman below is determined to bash the GOP but does so on the flimsiest grounds.  The idea that the drought which has drained lake Mead is an effect of global warming is childishly ignorant.  Warming would cause more evaporation off the ocean which would come down as more rain.  The lake  would more likely be full if global warming were real. 

And his claim that temperatures in Norway are unprecedently high is completely a-historical. Norway has been even warmer in the not too distant past.  Climate historian Tony Heller draws our attention to  an article from 1927:

"Through Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Lapland, and Finland, the motor party journeyed to 270 miles north of the Arctic Circle, prepared for freezing weather. To their continued astonishment the temperature was never' less than 90 degrees in the shade."


But I guess we have long ago given up on Leftists telling the truth

We’re having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave. Also a temperate heat wave and an Arctic heat wave, with temperatures reaching the high 80s in northern Norway. The megadrought in the Western United States has reduced Lake Mead to a small fraction of its former size, and it now threatens to become a “dead pool” that can no longer supply water to major cities. Climate change is already doing immense damage, and it’s probably only a matter of time before we experience huge catastrophes that take thousands of lives.

And the Republican majority on the Supreme Court just voted to limit the Biden administration’s ability to do anything about it.

It says something about the state of U.S. politics that a number of environmental experts I follow were actually relieved by the ruling, which was less sweeping than they feared and still left the administration with some possible paths for climate action. I guess, given where we are, objectively bad decisions must be graded on a curve.

And for what it’s worth, I have a suspicion that at least some of the Republican justices understood the enormity of what they were doing and tried to do as little as possible while maintaining their party fealty.

For party fealty is, of course, what this is all about. Anyone who believes that the recent series of blockbuster court rulings reflects any consistent legal theory is being willfully na├»ve: Clearly, the way this court interprets the law is almost entirely determined by what serves Republican interests. If states want to ban abortion, well, that’s their prerogative. If New York has a law restricting the concealed carrying of firearms, well, that’s unconstitutional.

And partisanship is the central problem of climate policy. Yes, Joe Manchin stands in the way of advancing the Biden climate agenda. But if there were even a handful of Republican senators willing to support climate action, Manchin wouldn’t matter, and neither would the Supreme Court: Simple legislation could establish regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions and provide subsidies and maybe even impose taxes to encourage the transition to a green economy. So ultimately our paralysis in the face of what looks more and more like a looming apocalypse comes down to the G.O.P.’s adamant opposition to any kind of action.


The big reason many Australians can’t afford a home: Immigrants

There is nothing wrong with the government bringing in selected imigrants who will pull their weight economically but bringing in immigrants at twice the rate that new homes are being built is asking for trouble and very unfair to our young first-home buyers.  They pay the penalty for irresponsible government

Apartment towers are springing up like mushrooms where I live in Brisbane but even they are not enough to house the huge numbers of imigrants received in recent years. The pandemic slowed down the rate of immigration for a while but there are no plans to make that permanent

Why are houses so ridiculously expensive in Australia? This, and other expletive-laden questions, I shouted at my screen while scrolling through recently.

Is it because of our high wages? Maybe it’s because of Baby Boomers? Or is this just the way the world works, so stop asking questions?

Alan Kohler of the ABC puts it down to interest rates. Writers at The Guardian blame a lack of social housing. And politicians mutter something about supply chain issues, then quickly change the subject. Insightful as always.

As with most things, the simplest answer is often the first one overlooked.

Dr Shane Oliver, Head of Investment Strategy and Economics and Chief Economist of AMP Capital writes:

‘Starting in the mid-2000’s annual population growth surged by around 150,000 people per annum and this was not matched by a commensurate increase in the supply of dwellings

‘The supply shortfall relative to population-driven underlying demand is likely the major factor in explaining why Australian housing is expensive compared to many other countries that have low or even lower interest rates.’

In non-economist speak, it’s supply and demand, stupid. Thanks largely to net-overseas migration, our population is growing faster than housing supply can ever keep up with.

Leith van Onselen, Chief Economist at Macro Business, echoes a similar sentiment, saying that though interest rates have had a major impact on recent rises, immigration is the longer-term driver of higher house prices in Australia.

‘Overseas migration rose from an average of 90,500 between 1991 and 2004, to 219,000 between 2005 and 2019… that’s 140 per cent annual average increase.’

Using data from the ABS, van Onselen finds a correlation between migrants overwhelmingly choosing to settle in Sydney and Melbourne, with an above-average rise in house prices in those areas.

Essentially, what van Onselen and Oliver have done is confirm a lot of people’s suspicions that growing our population without proper planning is dumb as nails and making people’s lives worse. Even monkeys could make better strategists. 

Some might say that owning a house is a pretty integral part of, oh, let’s say civilisation. We know that upward pressure on housing prices puts downward pressure on wages, living standards, birth rates, and eventually, quality of life.

Why, then, is the topic utterly trivialised with shrugged shoulders and phoney solutions by our experts and leaders?

To paraphrase recent government policies: ‘Ha! Housing? Who cares! That’s the next generation’s problem. Up yours, kids.’

Indeed, the government either completely ignores the effects of migration on house prices, or they mindlessly promote it, citing the benefits of increasing consumer demand in an economy.

Yet presumably this ‘increased demand’ extends also to houses and rentals, not just things like chocolate bars and televisions. Oh, and not to mention the overbearing demand on infrastructure, roads, and health services. Is the air thinner in Canberra?

(Sardonically, they also state ‘improved social cohesion’ as one of the reasons for current migration levels, conveniently ignoring the fact that most Australians want less migration.)

Big business finds the government’s positive tone towards migration numbers highly agreeable. Of course they would, they’re the ones benefiting from it. To understand how, one simply needs to listen to their frequent and vocal calls for an even higher migration intake to do things like ‘boost productivity’ and, bizarrely, ‘increase wages’.

For years, Australians have asked for a reduction in migration so that housing, wages, and infrastructure can all have a much-needed breather. Yet time and again the government has blatantly ignored these calls, instead upping the numbers. If they’re not listening to us, maybe they’re listening to the people who benefit most from migration. You’ll find them on the donor list.

Money talks.


The 2021  Census  found that nearly half of the population (48.2 per cent) had at least one overseas-born parent and 27.6 per cent of the population was born outside of Australia – a record high. Almost a quarter of the population (24.8 per cent) spoke a language other than English at home. Of the over 5.5 million who spoke a different language at home, 852,706 reported that they did not speak English well or at all.

These shifts are in large part the result of decisions by successive federal governments since the mid-2000s to massively increase immigration levels. The numbers were ramped up during the final years of the Howard government, with an effective doubling of the intake. Immigration increased even further under Rudd and remained at extraordinarily high levels – around 240,000 a year in net terms – until Covid forced the closure of Australia’s borders. Despite the majority of Australians wanting lower immigration, the recently-ousted Morrison government was planning a return to ‘Big Australia’ immigration levels.

Europe looks to Australia for green hydrogen amid energy crisis

The global warming belief seems set to be with us for some time yet so Australia might as well profit from it.  I had a shower in hydrogen this morning. The hydrogen was linked with oxygen.  We call it water.  So hydrogen is all around us.  Why do we put it in ships and cart it about?  

It is because extracting hydrogen from water takes energy, electricity.  And where that electriciity comes from matters to Greenies and their followers.  It must come from "renewable" sources.  

And electricity from solar panels fills that bill.  And Australia has vast open spaces that are almost always sunny, ideal for solar panels.  So Australia can in theory produce almost any amount of renewable electricity -- which can be used in various ways.  And one way is to crack open water and store the resulting hydrogen.

So what we are shipping around the world is actually Australian sunlight  -- in the form of a product from it.

Rotterdam: Europe’s biggest hydrogen project is stepping up its search for Australian imports to help quadruple supplies of clean energy and cut the continent’s reliance on natural gas in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Seeking millions of tonnes of hydrogen imports, the Port of Rotterdam wants to scale up the supply of Australian hydrogen in one of the world’s biggest projects to import and generate the clean and transportable fuel.

But Australia is in a race with other countries to generate hydrogen from solar and wind at enough scale to export energy in vast quantities to meet a European Union goal of using 20 million tonnes of hydrogen each year by 2030, up from a target of only 5 million before the energy crisis.

Shell will commit to the biggest hydrogen generation scheme in Europe on Wednesday when Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte announces the project with the energy giant’s executives at the Port of Rotterdam, aiming to provide stored energy from wind power in the North Sea.

The Port of Rotterdam runs the hydrogen project, and its president Allard Castelein said his team had looked at more than a dozen countries and concluded Australia could produce hydrogen at a competitive price due to the cost profile of its renewable energy sources, even after adding the cost of shipping to the Netherlands.

“If you look at the energy demands in north-west Europe, it’s inconceivable that we will be self-sufficient in energy,” he said.

“We could put all the windmills offshore, they could become bigger and more powerful than they currently are, but still we would run out of space. So we will always need to be a net importer.

“And from our assessments, it appears that Australia is in a very strong position to be one of the supply sources. Not the only supply source, to be honest. But there is a lot of confirmation that Australia is a very efficient area to produce green hydrogen.”

In a test of the model, Australia supplied liquid hydrogen by ship to Japan in January from Victoria’s Port of Hastings under a $500 million scheme using brown coal to produce the gas.

A cheaper way to ship the fuel could be by using hydrogen to create liquid ammonia, which has a much higher energy density by volume when stored at minus 33 degrees. The Rotterdam project involves ammonia as well as hydrogen import terminals.

Castelein said Australia was in a “good and strong position” to supply the fuel at a time when the war in Ukraine highlighted Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and the need for renewable alternatives.

“Europe will have a very, very hard time dealing with an abrupt supply disruption, which is not unlikely to materialise,” he said.

“Europe as a continent will not be able to replace gas for gas.”

The Rotterdam LNG import terminal is running at full capacity and the only other terminals nearby are at Zeebrugge and Dunkirk, while Germany is leasing floating import terminals. The International Energy Agency says the European Union imported 155 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Russia last year and that alternative suppliers might only provide 30 billion cubic metres within a year.

“The magnitude of the challenge is enormous, not in the least because 2030 is around the corner,” Castelein said of the targets for commercial hydrogen.

“That’s why those countries that have assertive development plans, which are conducive to allowing new businesses to start up and having the materials and the people and the permits readily available, will be able to become a major supply source.”

The Port of Rotterdam is the transfer point for 13 per cent of Europe’s fossil fuel imports – oil, coal and LNG – but is moving rapidly to clean energy with a mix of hydrogen imports and domestic generation.

It wants to achieve commercial production and imports of hydrogen from 2025 so it can scale this up to 4.6 million tonnes each year from 2030, about one-quarter of the forecast for the EU.

The EU plan assumes half the hydrogen will come from imports, highlighting the opportunity for Australia when countries such as Chile, Uruguay and Iceland are also planning hydrogen projects and Saudi Arabia wants to become a major hydrogen producer after decades of dominance in oil.

The Port of Rotterdam has early agreements with Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania but the most advanced appears to be with South Australia, where Premier Peter Malinauskas has plans for a $593m hydrogen plant, triggering warnings about the financial risk.

Castelein said one advantage for Australia was its history in fuel exports while the other was its ability to produce hydrogen at about one-third of the cost of north-west Europe, the result of better solar and wind power, given the differences in climate.

Green hydrogen is produced by electrolysis when water is split into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity from renewable sources, creating a clean fuel that can be transported and stored.

Most hydrogen produced in the world is “grey” hydrogen created by combining high-pressure steam with natural gas, a process that creates 0.8 million tonnes of hydrogen in the Netherlands but generates 12.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions, according to the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, the TNO.

Burying the emissions would create “blue” hydrogen, which the TNO says could be done using carbon capture and storage in the North Sea in the biggest project of its kind in the world.

“We believe there’s a clear case for blue hydrogen,” said Castelein, who has run the world’s tenth-biggest port since 2014 and was previously vice-president for environment at Shell.

“But green is clearly the aspirational goal. We see blue as only having a role as a temporary source and not necessarily in the lead of the transition. Green shall lead the transition, blue will be part of the equation but phase out over time.”

The port authority, which is owned by the city of Rotterdam and the Netherlands government, runs the hydrogen project by signing deals with companies to build each part of the production chain. Shell and Air Liquide will produce hydrogen on site, while Air Products and Gunvor are planning a hydrogen import terminal. With fossil fuels expected to be part of the transition, the plan also forecasts the use of carbon capture and storage in depleted oil fields in the North Sea.

The Rotterdam terminals and hydrogen production facilities are expected to cost several hundred million euros each, while the pipeline being considered from Rotterdam to the industrial zone of the Rhine could cost 2.5 billion euros.

The wind farm in the North Sea is forecast to generate 7.4 GW. The biggest single wind farm in Australia, being built by Spanish company Acciona at Macintyre in Queensland, is forecast to generate 1 GW.

“These are tremendously aspirational timelines but, having said that, we will need a mindset that says it is necessary and thus makes it feasible.”


A disunited Kingdom

I remember taking part in a debate at Cambridge university in 1984 when the prospects for the union came up. Being in Cambridge was fascinating. It really is a beautiful mediaeval town. The debate was organized by libertarians but there seemed to be mainly English people present. I think I was the only non-English person who spoke. As I am Australian I was in an unusually good position to speak, being both an outsider and someone who is culturally largely British

Debates are often rather jolly affairs and this one was apparently expected to be of that kind -- with a topic on which nothing very controversial would be said.

I however made a strong case that Scotland should be independent. I have always believed that -- perhaps in part because of some Scottish traditions in my mother's family. The fact that I was at that time married to a fine Scottish wife might also be relevant.

I included mention of the different attitudes in Scotland and England. I actually have papers in print (e.g. here) reporting survey evidence about that so I have some claim to being well-informed on the subject.

At any event I mentioned that the Scots hate the English and that the English find the Scots merely amusing.

That was very poorly received. It was no fun at all. You are not supposed to mention that. Only an "ignorant colonial" like me would mention it. The English have a great tradition of certain important things being left unsaid. And the libertarians present turned out to be English first. So I received considerable hostilty over my talk. I doubt that attitudes have changed much since

I didn't mean to upset the people present but, being a bit autistic, I had not foreseen that possibility

Would the United Kingdom be better off without Scotland and Northern Ireland? This question arises in the light of the demand by the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, for a second referendum on Scottish independence and the victory in the recent Northern Ireland election by Sinn Fein who insist that Northern Ireland become part of the republic of Ireland.

Both provinces have plagued UK administrations with their problems for centuries. King James II said of Scotland to the Duke of Hamilton in 1685: ‘My Lord, I only wish it were a hundred thousand miles off and that you were King of it!’ Great War prime minister Asquith lamented that Ireland was the ‘most perplexing and damnable country’.

Financially, of course, England and Wales would be better off without Scotland and Northern Ireland because both provinces receive significantly larger government funding than they produce in tax revenue. But this ignores the political question of whether and in what circumstances a province should be allowed to secede from an existing nation state. The most costly attempt at – unsuccessful – secession was made by the Confederate states in 1861, resulting in the US Civil War and the loss of 700,000 lives. In more recent times northern Sri Lanka’s Tamils and the Chechens in the Russian Federation both failed in military attempts to achieve independence. And in 2019 leaders of the Catalan separatist movement received lengthy jail terms from Spanish courts after holding a referendum on independence for Catalonia without the consent of the central government in Madrid.

It might be thought that one solution to this problem in the case of Scotland and Northern Ireland is a referendum. But in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence only those resident in Scotland were entitled to vote even though this amounted to only 7 per cent of the UK population. Northern Ireland has less than 3 per cent of the UK population. Why should these small percentages of the overall UK people be able to break up this political entity without the vast majority of those people having a say? In any event, it is only eight years since there was a vote on Scottish independence and, even confined as it was to Scottish residents, the vote was lost. Is there going to be a vote every few years until the Scottish National party finally succeeds in getting approval for its proposal? The British government consented to the 2014 vote and this consent would be required for a second referendum. Sturgeon has threatened to go ahead even without this consent, presumably confident that she would not suffer the fate of the Catalan leaders!

In economic terms there is a distinctly suicidal aspect to the SNP’s obsession with independence. As already noted, there is a significant gap between Scotland’s expenditure and its tax revenue with this deficit being met by the central government at Westminster. The SNP says that an independent Scotland would apply to join the European Union but at present approximately 60 per cent of Scotland’s exports go to other parts of Britain so that these exports would no longer have the same access to their existing market. In the lead-up to the 2014 referendum the SNP proposed using the British pound as its currency if the independence vote succeeded.

This proposal was rejected by the British Treasury which means that there would have to be a separate Scottish currency. And how would an independent Scotland deal with its current share of existing UK government debt which is roughly twice the size of Scotland’s GDP?

The latest problem with Northern Ireland is the British government’s intention to amend the so-called Northern Ireland protocol. This was part of the agreement negotiated between Britain and the EU as to the post-Brexit relations between the two parties. The protocol provides that there will be customs control on British goods when entering Northern Ireland from Britain, seemingly to satisfy the EU’s concern that some small proportion of those products, although apparently destined for Northern Ireland, might leak into the EU member Irish republic. Why any customs control could not be on the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic has never been satisfactorily explained. The notion that this might provoke a return to sectarian violence seems rather fanciful.

At any rate, the protocol has proved to be essentially unworkable and the British government has introduced legislation to amend it. The EU, which fought Brexit’s implementation tooth and nail, has threatened Britain with legal proceedings, presumably in an EU court, and complained that the legislation is a breach of international law. Britain can legitimately be criticised for reneging on one aspect of the post-Brexit agreement but a nation-state cannot be forced in any legal tribunal to honour an agreement if it chooses not to. It is hard to see what international law means in this context but there can certainly be no legal remedy for any breach of the agreement if the British government takes its proposed course.

In the longer term, yet another problem for the British government with Northern Ireland is that, under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement between Britain, then led by Tony Blair, and the Irish republic there must be a referendum, presumably with only residents of Northern Ireland voting, if it ‘appears likely’ to the British government that most people in Northern Ireland would support unity with the republic. Given the victory of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland and its prospects of winning the next Irish election, this would entail negotiations with the body that was the political wing of the Irish Republican Army and so supported a program of murder and terrorism over decades. Hardly an attractive prospect for the British government.

Scotland and Ireland have caused considerable angst for Westminster governments over hundreds of years and it seems that there is little prospect of any change to this troubled history in the immediate future.


Incompetence and corruption now rife in New Zealand

On a famous occasion in 1981, the New Zealand approach to justice was described as an "orchestrated litany of lies".  The stain would now seem to have spread widely

The question has long been whether basic stupidity has underpinned so much of our politicians’ and administrators’ decision-making – or something more insidious.

Parliament’s Maori Affairs Select Committee, for example, is distinguished by the aggressive rudeness with which it confronts those attempting to raise awareness of wrongful claims made by those with fingers in the till of racial preference. The contrast with the enthusiasm of most of its members when greeting Maori-identifying submitters, apparently often known to them – or with tribal affiliations – has become scandalous.

It is not just this committee. The 18,300 signature petition calling for the Marsden Point Oil Refinery to remain operational has been buried by Parliament’s Petitions Committee, dragging its heels in this typical failure of our democratic processes. No public submissions were called for, nor have groups knowing the importance of keeping the refinery operational been offered any opportunity to make submissions. Despite the volatile global oil market – with increasing costs and shortage of supplies – verbal submissions by two groups were not heard until six months after the petition was presented to Parliament. The refinery, with production stopped, is being dismantled. New Zealand is no longer able to process its own oil to keep essential services running – with a potential energy crisis worldwide.

Whether this is sheer folly – or basically a subversive government white-anting this country – is a legitimate question.

That we are in decline is obvious. With a nationwide shortage of doctors and many practices no longer able to accept new patients, some New Zealanders wait weeks for consultations. In the cities of Invercargill and New Plymouth, for example, those already not enrolled in practices cannot gain access to a GP.

Our hospitals are in a state of crisis; emergency departments past capacity; and people treated in corridors with no medication until they are placed in wards. Increasing numbers of staff report burnout and wait times are becoming longer. New Zealand has fewer intensive care hospital beds per capita than nearly every other country in the OECD. Pharmac, the government agency deciding which medications can be funded, is itself grossly underfunded. Eighteen anti-cancer drugs available in Australia are not available here.

The question of whether we have enough hospital beds is interesting. I recall two major Auckland hospitals being closed two decades ago. A partial rebuilding of Auckland Public Hospital by no means compensated for the loss of beds involved. I found this puzzling, given our growing population, but light was thrown on the thinking behind this decision when GPs were subsequently approached with extra funding to more closely analyse their patients – for example those smoking, or at risk with diabetes and other conditions supposedly treatable at primary level. The theory was that the more general practitioners’ patients were scrutinised for underlying health problems, the more these could be managed early – without recourse to hospital treatment. I found this quite incredible, as the more patients were investigated, the more chance there was of uncovering underlying problems – increasing the number needing specialist consultations and hospital treatment. In other words, the burden on hospitals was probably going to increase – not decrease.

And now, with the apparent prospect of a food shortage worldwide – although New Zealand should be well placed as an agriculturally productive country – the selling of prime agricultural land to those planting pine plantations to eventually replace fossil fuels is folly. So is the ridiculous, punitive decision to now tax farmers for the supposed contribution of their livestock to global warming.

Moreover, the fanatical Climate Change Commission and Ministry for the Environment have both confirmed that the current emissions reduction targets have been envisioned to go much further, requiring farmers to help offset warming produced by other sectors of the economy. The damage to this vital industry will very likely drive many out of business. Yet there has not been a single scientific model of agriculture’s warming effect made publicly available.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck? Revelations that close relatives of Minister Nanaia Mahuta – her sister and husband – have received government contracts, and are able to act in an advisory capacity have raised eyebrows, with the mainstream media preferring to not stir the pot on this issue – hardly new. For several decades now, handouts to the hierarchies of local tribes have regularly seen the money distributed among close relatives. I recall one brave Maori woman objecting that the money paid to her tribe for health-related issues ended up in the pockets of those buying themselves a farm. She was told her objection had no basis.

Meanwhile, the attack on free speech continues, with Ardern continuing to virtually rub fed-up New Zealanders’ noses into reminders of the appalling attack on the Muslim mosque in Christchurch. This has served her very well in relation to confiscating New Zealanders’ guns and promoting new legislation attacking hate speech. That it was an Australian who committed this atrocity is conveniently passed over.

Equally odd is the fact that although anyone with a tenuous connection to this country – and committing a crime in Australia – can be deported back here, the perpetrator of this attack has not been returned to his own country. Why not? The conclusion reached is because this has become useful political capital. That Ardern is also destroying her own is interesting.

Appointing the controversial Labour party speaker, Trevor Mallard, to a diplomatic post overseas has caused outrage. This is the same Mallard, viewed as a bully, who sprayed protesters outside Parliament with water and had songs played over a loudspeaker, and whose wrong accusations of rape had New Zealanders paying for his settlement. Equally problematic is Ardern’s appointing Professor Joanna Kidman of Victoria University to her new Centre of Research Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism that will ‘focus on understanding diversity and promoting social cohesion’.

Kidman is regarded as an extremist, with a left-wing blogger describing this appointment as ‘insane’. Foremost in numerous attempts to silence others, she recently tweeted about the statue of Sir George Gray in Auckland – ‘nice example of historian-as-bigoted-dick-head to add to the pile of sixty-twelve million reasons why 99 per cent of university historians should have a curfew and ankle tracker’. She sounds perfect for Ardern’s purposes.

Young clubber tells The Project it's her 'human right' to have traditional face tattoos after staff refused to let her into a bar because of her ink: 'This is our culture'

What a lot of nonsense!  She is about as Melanesian as I am.  And I have known real Melanesians since my childhood  -- and none that I knew wore any tattoos at all.  She is just a white attention-seeker.  Melanesians have dark skin, sometimes very dark.  She looks nothing like a Melanesian

A young woman who was refused entry to a nightclub because of her cultural face tattoos says having her ink is her 'human right'. 

Moale James, 23, who has Papua New Guinean heritage, was celebrating her partner's birthday by heading out to Brisbane's nightclub precinct in Fortitude Valley on Sunday morning.

But she soon found herself turned away from popular Latin American club Hey Chica! after security guards took issue with her traditional tattoos. 

Ms James later took to Facebook to slam the 'racist and discriminatory' treatment she received. 

Now, speaking to The Project, she explained why her markings are so important to her. 

'There are so many groups of diverse people here that I live with and a very big Pacific Islander population in Queensland, and there's a lot of us that are wanting to practice culture, including marking our skin.

'We need to be reviewing policies and legislation that are not reflective of our community. We shouldn't have to assimilate, this is our culture and we should be allowed to practice it freely.

'It's a human right to do that so the laws that we live in should also reflect that, and they should reflect the community.'

Ms James says she 'wants to make some noise' for people who want to represent their cultural heritage.  

'We went across the road to a different venue and the security guard there, all my friends said, are you going to let her in? Like look at her license, look at her.

'She looked at me and she said, "why wouldn't I let you in? We actually aren't allowed to discriminate and categorize you based on obviously what our cultural marks".

'And so we went and we spent the rest of the night in that venue.

'Now we're here trying to make some noise for anyone else that might proudly wear the marks of their ancestors too, change the legislation and liquor acts that might try to prevent us from practicing our culture.'

On the Hey Chica! website, its outline strict dress regulations.

'Dress to impress, smart casual is best, closed in shoes are a must. No face, neck or hand tattoos. Entry is at the discretion of the door host or management, dress code may vary for special events. For more information on dress regulations please contact us before your visit,' it reads. 

Ms James has taken a stand saying she will be speaking with her local member about the 'rule' dictating that face tattoos are affiliated with gangs, and how this must be changed to reflect the diverse community. 

She also said she expects a written apology from the venue.

In a private message to Ms James, which she shared on Facebook, the club apologised for the 'unintended distress' it caused but stood by its policy.

'Thank you for sharing your experience and for your understanding that the staff at Hey Chica! were following procedure,' the message said.

'While we appreciate that our rule has caused you unintended distress, we do enforce a blanket policy that prohibits head and face tattoos at Hey Chica! alongside other conditions of entry. While we understand this is a strict policy, we will continue to enforce this under the Liquor Act.'

Under Queensland's liquor laws, venues face penalties if they don't take reasonable steps to refuse people wearing items associated with criminal organisations including bikie gangs.

Talking to the ABC, Ms James said the tattoos are marks handed down through generations and were from her great-grandmother dating back to when her village was established. 

She went onto say the chief of the village asked his daughters to carry the marks and their stories on their skin, a request which has echoed through generations. 

'They hold great spiritual and ancestral value to me and my community,' she said.

After being turned away from the club, Ms James said she went to members of her community who are lawyers, and found out the club can refuse entry and service to people - but as long as it is not discriminatory.

'The fact that I was clumped into a group of people that are thugs, gang members, dangerous criminals, that is not my story,' Ms James said.

'I went back and I said, "these are cultural and what are you going to do about that?" And no response.' 

Ms James says she just people to hear her story and change their point of view on facial tattoos. 

She also hopes the venue reviews its policy, but at the very least educates those who made the rules to change the way they think about people who wear their marks with pride.


Black women could see a 33% increase in pregnancy-related deaths post-Roe. Why?

The article below is one-sided.  In fact abortion bans are unlikely to affect most black women.  In States where blacks are most numerous, their votes normally ensure that they are governed by Democrats  -- who generally allow abortion.  

So blacks are in fact LEAST LIKELY to be affected by the recent ruling in SCOTUS.  Only the minority of blacks in conservative states will be affected.  

And, like Americans generally, they will often be able to cross State borders to access abortions.  Interstate variety makes the present uproar rather pointless.  Americans move about a lot in general.  Travelling to a State that allows abortion does not seem a great burden to me

Now that Roe v Wade has been overturned, the legal status of abortion is back in the hands of state lawmakers. And this will have especially damaging consequences for Black women.

It’s no news that being forced to carry a baby to term can be a death sentence. From ectopic pregnancies to other life-threatening complications, pregnant people in these situations are often faced with a choice between their own lives and that of their unborn baby.

In the case of African Americans, that risk of death is much higher. According to the CDC, Black women are over three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related complication than white women are. And in some parts of the country, this disparity is frighteningly worse. A report by the District of Columbia’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee, for instance, found that Black people accounted for 90% of pregnancy-related deaths in DC, despite constituting only half of all births there. On top of this, Black women are also at a higher risk for pregnancy complications and postpartum issues, such as pre-eclampsia and eclampsia.

A report found that Black people accounted for 90% of 
The historical racism embedded within the American healthcare system accounts in large part for why birthing is so much deadlier for Black Americans. They are routinely dismissed, ignored and have their concerns denied while seeking medical care and intervention. 

Black women also fall behind in other social determinants of health including housing, employment and socioeconomic status, all of which can affect their capacity to have safe, healthy pregnancies and care for a child.


I’m a proud stay-at-home girlfriend: Here are my rules

I think I can trump the story below.  When I met my third wife in 1983 she was separated, had three young kids and worked as a shop assistant.  She was however very bright, very good-hearted and looked good in jeans, so I married her. 

I had made some good investment decisions early on in life so I was able to release her from having to work.  She became a full-time housewife.  And she was a good cook.

To top it off however I also did not work and stayed home most of the day.  So I was always available to mind her three bright and lively children while she went out shopping and socializing.  Her time was as free as if she had been single and without children.

We split up after 10 years together but have remained good friends.  Nearly 40 years after I met her, I still have dinners with her every week

A stay-at-home girlfriend has laid down the law with a stern set of rules that her man abides by – and what he agrees to may surprise you.

Leaha Ureel, a 22-year-old from Michigan, US, wears her stay-at-home girlfriend crown with pride.

She never pays for meals, pulls out her own chair or pours her own wine.

And, of course, she doesn’t have a job and she sure as heck doesn’t want one, either.

Leaha said she used to avoid men she dated in her single days when they didn’t dress sharp enough.

She even broke up with her boyfriend, Alan, after having the epiphany she needed to live a life of being waited on hand and foot.

“I wanted time for myself and to have someone to provide for me,” Leaha said. “Alan wasn’t able to provide for me at that point so we broke up.”

After a few months though, Alan, a 23-year-old contractor, got the message and proposed to Leaha — once he “stepped up to her standards”.

Alan met the criteria after setting up a home-renovation business in the interest of supporting his other half. He even carves out time from work to get coffee with Leaha now the pair are married.

“He stepped up — now he arranges and takes me for dates at least twice a week. I like him to take initiative and book a restaurant for a meal or choose what we are doing,” she said.

Meanwhile Leaha, who has a university degree and used to wait tables, gets to spend her days as she wishes.

“Now I go for walks with the dogs and spend lots of my time cooking,” she said.

“I love being a housewife, and I want others to know that it is OK to aspire to have this lifestyle.”

Leaha also took the time to pass along some red flags to spot in providers for anyone else who wants to live her lifestyle.

If they’re commenting on prices, not tipping at restaurants, making comments about underdressing or rescheduling things last minute – then it’s time to find someone else she said.

“I’m not ashamed to be a stay-at-home wife … I don’t think there should be shame over wanting to be a stay-at-home girlfriend or wife,” she said.

“It’s your life, so you choose how you would like to live it.”


Anthony Albanese to go ahead with Voice referendum even if Coalition refuses to back Indigenous body

He's a fool.  Referenda are always lost in Australia if they have any significant opposition.  National party anyone?  But maybe Albo doesn't care about the result.  Being seen as "Doing something" may be all he wants

Anthony Albanese will put a referendum to enshrine a First Nations voice to parliament in the Constitution this term even if the Liberal and National parties do not formally support it.

In an exclusive interview, the Prime Minister said he would adopt a “genuinely bipartisan” approach towards implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart with an Aboriginal advisory body to parliament but would not give “right of veto” to the Coalition.

“You don’t need a consensus but you need a broad agreement, firstly, among First Nations leaders and then, secondly, you would seek to get as broad a political agreement as possible for a referendum,” Mr Albanese said.

“So that doesn’t mean that any group would have veto power because my concern is that unless there is a referendum in the foreseeable future, then the momentum will be lost.”

Mr Albanese said there was enough support in the community for a referendum on the voice to parliament to succeed without major party bipartisanship and reiterated that if the ­Coalition opposed the referendum, it would not stop him putting it to voters.

“We would consider that as a factor but not necessarily a decisive one,” he said. “That would obviously be a factor that we would have to take into consideration … but I’m not giving any political organisation or any grouping a right of veto.

“Julian Leeser’s appointment as shadow attorney-general and as well as Indigenous affairs I see as a positive sign and (there is) enormous goodwill from people in media organisations, in the business community, in the trade union movement and in civil society to really do something that is positive for the nation.”

A voice to parliament is opposed by former Liberal prime ministers Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison, who each characterised it as a “third chamber” even though it would not be able to propose, amend or reject legislation, and would not scrutinise every bill or motion. Peter Dutton, who also ­labelled it a “third chamber”, recently said he was open to supporting a referendum.

“The nature of the voice to parliament would still be subject of legislation,” Mr Albanese clarified . “It is not … an attempt to bind ­future governments. It is, though, a clear decision by enshrining it in the Constitution, that a voice to parliament and consultation with First Nations people would be something that couldn’t just be dismissed.”

In the past week, Indigenous leader Pat Turner said she could not see a way forward on constitutional recognition and there was not enough detail on how a national Voice would work, while Greens Indigenous affairs spokeswoman Lidia Thorpe said in an ­interview with The Weekend ­Australian that the nation was not ready for a public vote on the voice, and it would be risky to proceed before a national treaty between the commonwealth and Indigenous people.

Mr Albanese feared momentum would be lost if he did not push ahead with constitutional recognition to enshrine a voice to parliament this term and lashed the Greens for saying a treaty should be the priority rather than an Aboriginal advisory body.

“It is now five years since the Uluru Statement from the Heart,” he said. “It is a generous and ­gracious statement that asks for nothing more than good ­manners to be applied in that if an issue is going to affect Indigenous people, they should be consulted on it. It also envisages recognising that Australia’s history of this magnificent continent didn’t begin in 1788 – it goes back at least 65,000 years – and that we should be proud of having the oldest continuous civilisation on earth. And that to me is unfinished business.

“Once it occurs, I think it will be like the apology to the stolen generations – people will wonder what the fuss was about. But we need to get it done. And if we don‘t get it done in the next term, then it risks drifting.”

While committed to transitioning Australia from a constitutional monarchy to a republic, Mr Albanese said his priority was constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians with the voice to parliament. A republic would be pursued in a second or third term. “I can’t envisage a ­circumstance whereby Australia changed our head of state but we still did not recognise first nations people in our birth certificate,” he said.


Pointless splurge on pre-school education

It only has point as a child-minding service.  Its educational benefits are illusory. But a free child-minding service will be popular with women who want or need to work.. It's only free to the user, however.  The cost to the taxpayer will be huge

The huge "Head-start" progam in the USA started out with similar bright-eyed hopes but had no lasting benefit

On June 16, the Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria announced ‘the greatest transformation of childhood education in a generation’.

The Victorian government will spend $9 billion to provide 30 hours a week of play-based learning for four-year-olds, with a rollout from 2025. They will also provide free kindergarten for three-year-olds, for up to 15 hours.

The New South Wales government will spend $5.8 billion on a similar scheme with later commencement, it reports that this would somehow eventually translate into $17 billion in increased economic activity; this is in addition to the federal government committing $5 billion to the cost of childcare.

Following Covid, the federal and state finances are in disarray.

Federal debt has ballooned towards $1 trillion. NSW debt stood at $50 billion in 2019, heading to $140 billion this year and under $200 billion by 2025. Figures for Victoria are equally parlous, increasing from under $50 billion in 2019 to $150 this year and $210 billion by 2025. The other states and territories have had relatively smaller increases as they were less damaged by Draconian, and perhaps unnecessary, lock-downs.

With these economic threats, it seems a bad time to introduce yet more welfare demand, a demand which we know, once introduced, will never be rescinded. Should we need a better example of where this leads, we have to look no further than the sky-rocketing cost of the NDIS.

Apart from the financial consequences, there are a number of political imperatives at work here. There is a belief that early commencement of education will result in improved educational outcomes; teachers and other unions are in favour of this job creation.

Also, that greater child care will allow more parents to return to the workforce. Underlying this debate is the changed concept of parenting, with the welfare state increasingly expected to take over the traditional role of rearing children, a role which was once considered not only a parental obligation but also their financial commitment.

Currently, there is a shortage of workers in many areas, it is tempting to think that freedom from the (self-inflicted) demands of parenting, would allow many women to return to work to fill those shortages. There are, fortunately, still some who consider involvement in their children’s development to be an obligation and a source of iuytrsatisfaction. At the other extreme, there are a number who look on this as a release from responsibility, but who have no intention of going to work. In view of the cost, it would seem logical to provide child-care, if considered appropriate, only for those who do return to work. There may also be only a short-term demand for workers, if predictions of a recession come to pass the situation may change dramatically, with unemployment rising.

The other big question is the predicted educational outcome, there is no doubt education is in disarray. A UNICEF study in 2017 showed that Australia had slipped down the league tables of educational achievement, coming in at 39 out of 41 in high and middle-income countries, ahead of only Turkey and Romania. In 2003, the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) ranked 15-year-old Australian students 10th in maths, 4th in reading, and 6th in science; 15 years later the results were 23rd in maths, 16th in reading, and 14th in science.

The problems besetting education relate to classroom discipline, distorted curricula, declining teaching standards, fad-driven teaching methods, and reduced parental input. As classroom size has declined and more money is invested, ($36 billion in 2019-2020), the deterioration continues, now enhanced by the Covid pandemic. It is nothing short of scandalous that after 12 years of schooling, 40 per cent of adults have achieved only a basic level of literacy; for many of my parents’ generation, leaving school at 14 had educated them better than those with 4 extra years

A quarter of a million children were enrolled in pre-school activity at 3 years age, part of Julia Gillard’s “education revolution” to develop a child’s “social and cognitive development”; this number had risen to 330,000 by 2021. The traditional education starting point had been at age 5 years, prior to commencing year 1 schooling at 6. Studies from America (whence all good things come) in the early 2000s suggested that improved economic outcomes could be achieved with an earlier start, but that misguided philosophy seems to have persisted. It is also concerning that children of this age are being subtly targeted by left-wing ideology in areas such as trans-gender, climate change, anti-colonialism, etc.

Parents in America have complained about drag queens in classrooms to promote ‘inclusivity’, New York schools have spent $200,000 on this activity; at least the parents (when informed) have the ability to demand change.

A suggestion of early improvement following pre-school does not carry through to later years. Several studies, both in Australia and overseas, have failed to show any long-term benefit from early education, in literacy and numeracy, on NAPLAN (National Assessment Program, Literacy and Numeracy) testing. The latest 2021 US study has confirmed no academic benefit, it did suggest it resulted in better-adjusted children, but without considering the input of motivated parents who had to pay for this activity. NSW and Victoria appear intent on following the Biden playbook with free pre-schooling, in the case of America, an eye-watering extra $1.8 trillion over 10 years, would be needed from the debt-ridden economy.

We are already breaking the bank with debt, yet politics indicate, without evidence, we ‘must do more’ to improve both education and employment prospects. As is often the case, with welfare, education, health, care of the disabled or elderly, or the NDIS, we must be governed, not by what we would like, but by what we can afford.


Liberals slam late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for not retiring

The commenters are right.  Conservatives THANK Ginsburg for the same reason.  Despite her great age and failing health, she hung on and hung on to her job in the certain belief that the  next president would be Hillary.  But she got Trump instead. She  gambled and lost.  She was actually a victim of Leftist hubris and their certainty that they were right

Some liberals are blaming the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after the court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade case that federally protected a woman’s right to an abortion in the United States on Friday.

Ginsburg notoriously decided to not retire during the Obama administration when she could have been replaced with a liberal justice, only to die at the age of 87 in September 2020 during the Trump administration.

She was replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was one of three conservative justices appointed by former President Donald Trump — all three of whom were among the six justices who voted in favour of overturning the half-century-old decision.

If she had retired and been replaced by a liberal justice, the decision to overturn Roe would likely still have passed in a 5-4 vote.

Although Ginsburg was a staunch advocate for women’s constitutional right to an abortion, she was critical of how Roe v. Wade established that right.

Outraged, many liberals took to social media to point their fingers at her for Friday’s decision.

“RBG was a hero for many reasons. But the terrible irony is that her decision to stay too long at the party helped lead to the destruction of one of the things she cared about the most,” Hollywood Reporter columnist Scott Feinberg tweeted.


Judicial tyranny overturned: Abortion laws will be decided in State Capitols

Thanks largely to Trump nominees, SCOTUS  has returned to its proper role as a judicial body.  It is a great weakness of the American constitution that the court can be  suborned by Leftist  judges who replace law by their own opinions.  And Leftist judges are shameless in their arrogance.  In Roe v Wade they "discovered" in the constitution a "right" to abortion despite the word abortion being nowhere mentioned in that document.  It was a plain abuse of authority.  It invented law rather than enforcing it, something it was nowhere authorized to do

It is fortunate that the USA is basically a conservative country. Only that prevents Leftist hatred of their own country from causing the USA to degenerate into a Soviet-style tyranny. Americans are just not angry enough for Leftist anger to move a majority of them

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement responding to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that returns the question of abortion law to the states:

“In 1973, Roe v Wade was wrongly decided by the Court, as the right to an abortion wholly contrived by activist judges. The Dobbs decisions rightfully returns this question to the states. Interestingly, with Democrats holding a 60-vote majority in the Senate and a substantial majority in the House in 2010, they never attempted to codify Roe into federal law, leaving the Court with no other choice but to return the issue to the states. If the left wants to blame anyone for today’s, they should look to Speaker Nancy Pelosi squarely in the eye, ‘Why didn’t you try to put it into federal law?’ The only thing for the Court to consider were state laws, and what the limit to those are. In this case, with a solid 6-3 ruling, the Court ruled that’s states is where the issue will remain for the next generation. Suddenly state legislature and gubernatorial races just became a lot more interesting as abortion laws will be decided in State Capitols.”

Excerpt from the new judgment: 

“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. The Court overrules those decisions and returns that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

/div> ***************************************

Divisive Greenies put reconciliation in peril

Albo spoke well to the matter but the flag is a side-issue.  The hopelessly impractical Greenie climate policies are the big issue.  And the Greens now have substantial representation in both houses of parliament so those policies matter.  

The  temptation for the Left is to ally with the Greens as both of them wish destruction on us.  So we can only hope that Albo gets enough support for saner policies from the conservatives to resist that temptation

Anthony Albanese says the push for reconciliation risks being undermined by the refusal of Greens leader Adam Bandt to stand in front of the Australian flag.

The Prime Minister said every parliamentarian should be proud to stand in front of the national flag, urging Mr Bandt to “reconsider his position and work to promote unity and work to promote reconciliation”.

“Reconciliation is about bringing people together on the journey that we need to undertake.

“It is undermined if people look for division rather than look for unity,” Mr Albanese said.

The criticism of the Greens escalated further on Wednesday after the party’s First Nations spokeswoman, Lidia Thorpe, said she was only in the parliament to “infiltrate” the “colonial project”.

Incoming Northern Territory Country Liberal Party senator Jacinta Price said Governor-General David Hurley should investigate whether there were grounds to dismiss Senator Thorpe from parliament. “I think she has nothing but contempt for the Australian people and she doesn’t respect the position she is in,” Ms Price said.

“I personally feel that the ­Governor-General should take a closer look at what her real ­intentions are and consider whether this is possible grounds for dismissal.

“She doesn’t see herself as an Australian, she doesn’t see herself as being represented by the Australian flag. Therefore she is not the right person to be in a position to represent the Australian people nor does it indicate she has Aus­tralia’s best interests at heart.”

Indigenous leader Warren Mundine said he was “flabbergasted” by Senator Thorpe’s comments.

“She is carrying on like she is in a five-year-old’s spy game,” Mr Mundine said.

“I just shake my head at these people. We have got so many problems with Indigenous communities … They have got to have jobs and businesses operating, and education.

“So is she there to blow the place up? It is just bizarre.”

On Tuesday night, Senator Thorpe said both the flag and the parliament “does not represent me or my people”.

“It represents the colonisation of these lands. And it has no permission to be here. There’s been no consent,” Senator Thorpe told Network Ten’s The Project.

“I’m there to infiltrate.

“I signed up to become a senator in the colonial project and that wasn’t an easy decision for me personally, and it wasn’t an easy decision for my family either to support me in this. However, we need voices like this to question the illegitimate occupation of the colonial system in this country.”

RSL Australia president Greg Melick said Mr Bandt’s action on the flag was disrespectful to ­Australian service personnel and veterans. “The RSL condemns the ­actions of Mr Bandt in the strongest possible terms,” he said.

“Australians have served under our national flag, irrespective of their race, religion or political views, and it and all our present and past service personnel deserve the highest respect.

“Mr Bandt’s move was dis­respectful to all these people and the RSL rejects it as unfitting of a member of our national ­parliament.”

Labor Left senator Tim Ayres said Mr Bandt’s flag policy was “some of the most empty gesture politics”.

“University, Trotskyite-sort of politics,” Senator Ayres told the ABC.

“There ought to be a bit of growing up around the place and a bit of self-reflection is absolutely in order for Mr Bandt and his ­colleagues.

Qld picks fossil fuel over energy storage

Is there no such thing as an intelligent journalist left?  OF COURSE nobody much is investing in energy storage.  Either it is useful only for a few hours (batteries) or its costs are astronomical (pumped hydro).  Coal, gas and nuclear are the only reliable power sources.  All the rest is fantasy

The Queensland government has prioritised coal and gas-fired generation over energy storage 

Twice as many taxpayer dollars will be spent on Queensland coal and gas-fired plants this year as they will on installing new renewable energy storage in the state.

Queensland already has the nation's highest wholesale electricity prices, which experts say is mostly due to its reliance on fossil fuel and lack of energy storage.

Household electricity bills will rise by 10 per cent, while power bills for businesses will soar 20 per cent from July.

Treasurer Cameron Dick will partly offset that by wiping $14.58 off household monthly bills for the next 12 months.

However, businesses won't get any support and will likely pass on their extra costs to consumers.

Over the long term, the state government will need to transition to renewable energy sooner if it wants to spare consumers further price pain.

Vast renewable generation projects are under construction, but the state needs about 6.5 gigawatts of energy storage as well.

Mr Dick promised $35 million in funding for a feasibility study on a 5-7GW pumped hydropower storage project in Tuesday's budget.

Another $13 million will be spent on finalising a study for a proposed 1GW pumped hydro project near Gympie.

However, the three public electricity generators will also spend $480 million with the majority of that propping up ageing coal and gas generation, rather than storage.

Stanwell Corporation, CS Energy and CleanCo will spend about $232.7 million on maintenance, upgrades and spare parts for coal and gas plants in 2022/23.

Stanwell will pour $21 million into the Meandu coal mine and CS Energy will invest $1.2 million on the Kogan Creek coal mine.

CleanCo - originally set up to be a renewable energy firm - will spend $13.6 million on the Kogan North Gas Field, which it jointly owns with Arrow Energy.

The big investment in fossil fuel generation comes with the government expecting to bank dividends from the generators in 2022/23, and for those to rise in 2023/24.

"This trend reflects earnings growth of these businesses, with the current wholesale market environment supporting returns in the next couple of years, and a return to more stable levels over the forward estimates," the budget said.

Meanwhile, the three generators will invest less than half the amount they spend on fossil fuel generation than they will on increasing renewable energy storage capacity.

About $122.5 million will be spent on two batteries at Chinchilla and on the Darling Downs, which will eventually be able to store about 500MW, in 2022/23.

Queensland will need about 14 times more storage than that to transition to renewable energy and phase out coal generation.

The three generators are also investing about $85.1 million in the Wambo and Karara wind farms, which will eventually generate 353MW of electricity.

In total, the state government will invest $281.8 million on renewable energy and $232.7 million on fossil fuel generation in 2022/23.


Brisbane to charge Airbnb hosts higher council rates to tackle housing availability

A brilliant idea: Solve the shortage of rental acomodation by penalizing those who provide it!  Short-term lets are  an important source of accomodation but they are bad somehow.  Property owners concerned may withdraw from the market entirely if they are penalized for it.  Attempts to make people do what they do not want to do will always be met with evasion in some form

Brisbane homeowners who list their properties as short-term accommodation on sites like Airbnb will be slugged with a 50% rates hike amid a chronic shortage of rental properties.

Handing down the city’s $4bn budget on Wednesday, the LNP lord mayor, Adrian Schrinner, said a new “transitory accommodation” category will help tackle housing availability and affordability in Australia’s fastest growing capital city.

Schrinner said the 50% rate increase would mean a property on Brisbane’s minimum rating category would pay $600 extra a year, providing an incentive to landlords to rent their property to longer term tenants.

Brisbane’s rental vacancy rate was 0.7% in May, according to SQM Research.

Related: Short-term rentals, long-term anguish for Australian towns struggling to find homes for locals

“There’s a serious housing affordability issue and we need to be looking at new ways to increase housing supply,” Schrinner said.

“It’s about getting more accommodation for renters to be available in that long-term rental market. Every single property that switches from short-term to long-term rental is a win for the community.”

It comes as Schrinner said residential rates would increase by 4.93% – the city’s highest rates increase in more than a decade – as Brisbane grapples with the aftermath of February’s floods.

From 1 July, property owners who list their homes on Airbnb, and Stayz will be asked to self-identify and be charged higher rates. The charges will only apply to entire properties, not single rooms or granny flats, and only to those rented out on short-term leases for more than 60 days a year.

Schrinner said council would use online resources to identify properties listed as short-term accommodation, and also allow people to report their neighbours.

He said there had been almost 300 complaints from the community about short-term rentals in the past three years across Darra, Wavell Heights, Rochedale and Paddington.

“Think about how you would feel as a resident if your nextdoor neighbour kept on changing every second night, [and] every weekend [there were] parties happening in the house,” he said.

“This is what’s being reported to us. And so that’s just one of many ways that we can identify this problem.”

Schrinner said the city needs more housing supply and criticised the Greens for opposing new developments.


Youth crime Qld: Why minimum age of detention could be raised from 10 to 14

The main driver for this change is to exculpate young Aborigines, who are commonly expert sneak thieves from an early age.  The change would give them licence to offend repeatedly.  But Leftists just see their age and want them exonerated on that ground alone  -- with the usual Leftist blindness to consequences

Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman says she will look at the minimum age of detention in Queensland following Tasmania’s move to increase it from 10 to 14.

Ms Fentiman described the recently announced decision by the Tasmanian Liberal government as an “interesting reform” as she spoke before the Queensland Media Club on Tuesday.

Under 14s will no longer be admitted to detention under the flagged changes in Tasmania, which are set to come into effect from 2024 – but they will still be held criminally responsible.

“Here in Queensland, very few young people – particularly aged ten to 12 – actually are in detention,” Ms Fentiman said. “But I think it is an interesting reform to look at. “Very happy to look at Tasmania’s approach, which is looking at detention, not (criminal) responsibility.”

Ms Fentiman acknowledged every jurisdiction across the country was meanwhile pushing for the minimum age of criminal responsibility to be raised from ten to 12.

She suggested each jurisdiction would want to make the move together to ensure consistency – with work underway in each state and territory to determine how it could be done.

“We haven’t had a Meeting of Attorneys-General yet with the new (federal) Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, but I know he is very interested in this,” she said.

“And perhaps we will get some leadership from the federal government on this issue as well which would help.”

Meanwhile, it can be revealed the government is now considering the Bob Atkinson-led review into its youth justice reforms – but it is yet to publicly release the report to the community.

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said if the government valued transparency and wanted to take meaningful action on youth crime, it would release the report “immediately”.

“Is the government keeping this report secret because the Premier doesn’t want the negative publicity when it’s released,” he asked.

In response to questions put to Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard, a spokeswoman would only say the report would be released “soon” – with recommendations being considered by the government.

She also wouldn’t say if electronic monitoring devices as a condition of bail for accused youth offenders would be made a permanent measure beyond the trial period.

As of January, only three electronic monitoring devices had been fitted on 16 and 17-year-olds as a condition of bail following the introduction of the government’s laws.


Rent crisis: 87,000 properties ‘empty’, water’s on, no-one’s home

Only a minority of these homes will be actually unused but some will be  -- particularly homes owned by people living overseas.  Some owners are so wary of the unrecoverable damage that tenants can and do sometimes inflict that they regard protecting their investment as a higher priority than renting it out for income.  

And given the extremely pro-tenant laws, who could be blamed for not wanting to tangle with tenants?  Landlord protection laws would put most of the properties into the rental market but there is no prospect of such laws emerging.  Government meddling in the market is once again producing perverse behaviour.  Legislation designed to help tenants in fact hurts them.  At the very least, it pushes up their costs

I in fact have a rental property that I do not rent out  even though it is little used.  I prefer to keep it available for occasional use by family rather than bother with tenants and all the "protections" that come with them.  I am not even allowed to bar pets these days.  Awful of me but if you smell what some pets do to carpet you will understand.  I have been a landlord.  I know.

If tenants want more choice of housing, they should be telling governments to back off -- which is exactly the opposite of what is proposed below.  The proposals below would undoubtedly take even more housing out of the rental market.  You can only push people so far.  And guess what?  Landlords are people too!

Despite the worst rental crisis on record, about 87,000 ‘empty’ homes are not being put to work prompting calls for penalties against owners who don’t rent them out.

Shock analysis of the latest housing data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows around 87,000 Qld residential properties that aren’t the main home of their owners were not being rented out, a figure which stretches out to 577,000 nationally.

An ABS spokeswoman said “the data includes properties used for other purposes, such as holiday homes, second residences, dwellings occupied rent-free by family members etc”.

Veteran property expert Michael Matusik said new tax measures were necessary to incentivise or penalise owners to release the homes for rent given how tight the market was.

“Around 29 per cent of investment properties are not rented out. They are sitting there vacant.,” he said.

Exclusive data from Qld’s biggest water provider, Urban Utilities, revealed 19,500 homes across lower SEQ had their water connection on, but noone seemed to be home for months.

Spokeswoman Michelle Cull said the firm provided water and sewage for around 590,000 residential properties in Brisbane, Ipswich, Somerset, Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley – with new data finding about 3.3 per cent had low or no water consumption over a three-month period.

“According to our water usage data, around 19,500 properties in our service region had a water usage of between zero and two kilolitres during the last quarter of 2021 (October to December),” Ms Cull said.

“Properties may have no or low water usage for a range of reasons including the use of water tanks instead of town water supply, residents could be away from home, or the property could be vacant or uninhabitable.”

Unitywater executive manager customer and community Katherine Gee said their numbers showed 2,104 houses that used 1,000 litres or less water over a 90 day period – of which 96 were in Noosa, 1,020 on the Sunshine Coast and 988 in Moreton Bay.

“It is important to note that it cannot be categorically stated that these properties are ‘vacant’. We operate in a desirable region and some of these properties may be holiday homes or homes that are occupied for only parts of the year,” she said.

Mackay Regional Council confirmed it too had zero/low consumption segments “however, this is not a definite indication that the property is vacant” given “the property owner may be away for an extended period, it could be a holiday home or estate or the owner may have another water source (rainwater/bore)”.

The figures for ‘empty’ apartments are harder to get given “there are a significant number of residential units/complexes that feed off a single meter and it will depend if each unit/complex are separate parcels of land (lot and plan),” a Mackay spokeswoman said.

The rental crisis spurred Brisbane Mayor Adrian Schrinner to open the floodgates over under-utilised rental properties, announcing “significantly higher rates” for landlords who “turned homes into mini hotels”.

“If owners have these properties in the market for a short term, that is their choice, but what they’ll be facing now is a 50 per cent increase in their rates. We’re excluding (those that rent out) individual rooms. This is about people who rent out the whole house.”

The city saw house rent surge 22 per cent in the past year to $610 a week, with units up 11.2 per cent to $430 a week, latest SQM Research data found. It put Brisbane’s vacancy rate at 0.7 per cent – its tightest level in history – with listings almost halving in one year (-46 per cent) to 2,200.

There are now calls for the Qld Government to step up, with Strata Community Association Qld president Kristi Kinast repeating calls for legislation to allow bodies corporate to ban short-term letting.

“This is currently impossible for 99 per cent of Queensland’s strata communities,” she said. “SCA Qld believes this is a good policy that will help alleviate rental shortages and discourage short-term letting in strata schemes that were not intended for that purpose.”

The Federal Government’s whip has been a vacancy fee penalty – enforced against international buyers who leave their real estate investments empty.

Australian Taxation Office figures show it collected $2.3m in penalties in 2021, $3.7m in 2019/20 and $1.8m in its first year of collection (2018/19).

Prosper Australia director of advocacy Karl Fitzgerald said foreign investors were not solely to blame for empty or under-utilised homes, with “speculative vacancies” by Australian investors curbing supply and pushing prices higher.

He said governments needed to reduce incentives for short-term profiteering from housing.

“Higher land taxes, more effective vacancy taxes and even curbing interest-only loans could all help. Switching away from stamp duties and towards land taxes – the ultimate vacancy tax – is a vital step forward.”

The best form of vacancy tax locally, Mr Fitzgerald said, would be to replace stamp duty with a land tax set at a significant rate of about 1.5 per cent of site values.

He said the ATO should also consider denying depreciation as a tax write-off if a property owner did not put it up for rent at a competitive rate. “Further investigation is needed of an incremental land tax for sites that refuse to be put to work.”


Boys falling far behind girls in HSC and at university

The feminization of education reaps its inevitable rewards. It starts in primary school with the idea that boys are inherently disgusting, obnoxious, violent, and disrespectful, and asking them to sit the heck down during class and pay attention to the teacher.  It is a system where boys are punished for behaving like boys and have few if any male teacher role models

Boys are falling far behind girls in school-leaving exams and at university to the extent that a University Admissions Centre (UAC) analysis of results found that being male was “greater than any of the other recognised disadvantages we looked at”.

The centre looked at Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) and first-year university grade point average data and found the gender education gap persisted across socio-economic quartiles at both senior school and university levels.

Educators said there could be many factors at play, including different maturity levels, the compulsory inclusion of English in the HSC, which tended to favour girls, the declining popularity of difficult maths and sciences, and the increase in the school-leaving age.

Jennifer Buckingham, a reading expert who has studied the gender education gap in a previous role at the Centre for Independent Studies, said all jobs, including trades, now needed workers with strong literacy and numeracy skills. “The options for boys who don’t do well at school are becoming fewer and fewer,” she said.

“The expectations of what they can achieve change, they set their sights lower, and there are economic consequences of that too.”

The UAC analysis of ATAR data over many years, but particularly from 2020, found there was gender parity at the top end of the ATAR scale, above 98, and at the bottom end, below 39, but boys were far outnumbered by girls in the middle range.

The analysis said boys were under-represented due to a “combination of boys not performing as well as girls placed at similar points in the gender ability spectrum, and, more importantly, boys choosing study patterns that do not make them eligible for an ATAR or an HSC”.

The centre’s analysis found an ATAR-aged boy was 16.3 per cent less likely to obtain an HSC qualification than a girl in the same group, and 15 per cent less likely to complete at least one subject in 2020 than girls. “The effect of being male was greater than any of the other recognised disadvantages we looked at,” the analysis found.

The gap persists into university, the UAC analysis found, with boys enrolling at lower rates, less likely to pass all their subjects, and more likely to fail everything. The issue was across socio-economic quartiles.

NSW Department of Education data also show boys are also more likely to skip school. Attendance among high school girls is more than 82 per cent, compared with less than 73 per cent for boys. Boys also represent 70 per cent of school suspensions.

Robin Nagy, the director of Academic Profiles, which examines data for the independent sector, said the gap could be partly due to NSW requiring English to count towards a fifth of a student’s HSC mark. “On average, girls would appear to benefit more from this requirement than boys, due to the archetype of girls performing better in English,” he said.

Female enrolments outnumber male ones in the harder English subjects, which scale to higher ATAR marks, and boys were over-represented in easier subjects.

Craig Petersen, the head of the Secondary Principals Council, which represents public school principals, said there had also been significant efforts over several decades to ensure girls were catered to in HSC examinations.

“In response to the research that shows girls respond better to narrative questions, we started seeing scientific or mathematical problems voiced as a story,” he said.

This so-called “feminisation” of the HSC physics and chemistry syllabuses, in particular, was wound back in the most recent revision of the syllabuses, released in 2018, which had greater focus on mathematical applications and less on sociology-based content.

Petersen said boys also matured more slowly than girls; the prefrontal cortex, which helps people understand the consequences of their actions, does not finish developing for boys until 25. “That may be the area that says, ‘I want to have a good job, therefore I need to study hard’.”

The decision to raise the school-leaving age to 17 about a decade ago also meant boys who would once have left after year 10 for a trade were now staying on, Petersen said. “[Some] fall into this malaise, they don’t really want to be there, aren’t motivated,” he said.

Melissa Abu-Gazaleh is the managing director of the Top Blokes Foundation, which advocates addressing the health and wellbeing of young men to increase their engagement in school.

She said many young men were still tied to the stereotype that they should not express vulnerability or seek help, and expressed their frustration in outbursts, which led to disciplinary action.

“This then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy where the male student then has lower aspirations to be better or achieve more,” she said. Giving male students a different message about seeking help and positive role models would help, she said.

Concerned that boys needed more help, Dapto High principal Andrew FitzSimons appointed a boys’ mentor, Andrew Horsley, who works with the Top Blokes Foundation and local service providers to ensure boys get the support they need.

“For me, it’s all about developing connections,” Horsley said. “With boys, sometimes you need to spend a bit of time and effort and energy to develop those connections, and then they’ll feel safer, if they’re struggling with something.”


Why girls’ schools succeed at producing women who lead

There is probably some truth in the claims below by the partisan Loren Bridge but she ignores the elephant in the room:  Girls schools are almost all private, even if they are Catholic schools only.  

And private schools are almost all selective in some way.  Most require fees for attendance and that selects for parents who can afford such fees -- almost all being from better-off families.  And richer people tend to be brighter, which their daughters inherit.  So the pupils at such schools will mostly be of above-average IQ.  And high IQ helps with almost everything in life

And at least some of the claims above are simply untrue.  She says that boys and girls have equal basic ability at maths.  But all the psychometric research shows otherwise.  And how many Fields medals were won by women?  Just one, an Iranian lady

And I haven't even mentioned testosterone

The whole article below is suffused by Leftist bias, so should be taken with a large grain of salt

Much has been said about this exciting “teal wave” of forthright, trailblazing, smart women. Five out of the eight female independents who will take their place on the crossbench of this parliament – Dr Monique Ryan, Dr Sophie Scamps, Dai Le, Allegra Spender and Zali Steggall – are graduates of girls’ schools.

This would be no surprise to anyone familiar with the benefits of single-sex education for girls, but for those who aren’t, it’s important to put this figure into perspective — girls’ schools make up just 2 per cent of schools in Australia.

Clearly, there is something inherent to the girls’ school environment that better prepares women for high-level leadership.

So what is it about a girls’ school education that ignites in young women the determination, inspiration and motivation to lead? What gives them the courage and grit to be change-makers in a world that continues to squeeze women onto the edges of the centre stage positions that men carve for themselves?

In girls’ schools, students are intentionally equipped with the knowledge and skills required to overcome social and cultural gender biases, and in doing so, actively break the stereotypical norms that define women in society. This is achieved through an education that rewires the implicit biases that so often limit women.

Women are expected to walk a tightrope between exhibiting the characteristics society expects of women and being seen to have the “strength” to lead. They are in a double bind. The obsession with former prime minister Julia Gillard’s empty fruit bowl in her kitchen illustrated this perfectly.

To resist this concentrated pressure, girls must be encouraged to take a leap of faith. They must leap from the tightrope and defy gendered pressure. To do this, they need the confidence to lead and be disruptors.

A study by the University of Queensland found that confidence levels for girls in single-sex schools matches that of boys, while girls in the general population consistently demonstrate lower confidence levels than boys.

In other words, the study found that a girls’ school provides the environment for girls to develop and maintain innate confidence and healthy self-belief. And it is confidence, or a lack of confidence, that is frequently attributed to the under-representation of women in senior leadership roles.

Let’s be clear — girls aren’t innately less confident or assertive than boys, they aren’t less capable in maths and sciences and they certainly don’t have more body image or mental health issues than boys as infants. It is our patriarchal society that stereotypes women diminishing their self-belief and self-efficacy, quashing their voice and ultimately, their power.

A girls’ school turns the tables on gender stereotypes, and this can be life-changing for a girl.

Girls’ schools provide significant leadership opportunities — 100 per cent of the leadership positions (not just 50 per cent) are held by girls. The power of mentoring and role modelling provided by past students, and the predominantly female leadership of girls’ schools, provides girls with leadership development opportunities beyond those available in co-ed schools. With no requirement to cater to boys, girls’ schools balance the inequality in broader society through purposeful, targeted education.

Data from a US study shows that girls’ school graduates are more likely than co-ed school counterparts to be involved in political activities, demonstrate social and political agency, and be supportive of societal improvements. They are more likely to be change-makers.

Research shows unequivocally that girls thrive in an all-girls environment; they do better academically, socially, and emotionally. Regardless of socio-economic factors, data — not just from a single study but from a plethora of unique studies from all over the world — indicates that girls simply do better in girls’ schools.

Girls in co-ed schools tend to be more self-conscious and less confident; they are less likely to speak up in class, ask questions or take on a leadership role. They are also more likely to have a negative body image and considerably more likely to experience sexual harassment or bullying. In contrast, girls in girls-only environments participate more freely in discussions, are more competitive and take more healthy risks with their learning — skills that are advantageous for life success.

Girls’ schools are at the forefront of gender equality, deliberately challenging gendered norms and purposefully building girls’ confidence, conviction and self-belief, making sure that girls have the skills and knowledge to speak out and to break down barriers.

These are skills our new female MPs will certainly need as they step into the male-dominated Parliament House, famed for its sexism and misogyny. May their voices add power to changing that culture and progressing the ongoing fight for a more equal society.