Another dubious tale of "Aboriginal" achievement

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VANESSA TURNBULL-ROBERTS

It's amazing how the people who feature in stories about Aborigines who achieve academically all turn out to look just like people of European ancestry. Why? Because they clearly are overwhelmingly of European ancestry. They look nothing like Aborigines. The lady above is even hyphenated, for goodness's sake!

She does have a slight "suntan" but to a degree well within European norms. Vanessa is quite simply good-looking. She would be a social success among any group of white Australians.

How she came to originate in an Aboriginal family, one can only speculate, but mixed ancestry is common among urban Aborigines so she may well have simply got a very fortunate roll of the genetic dice that featured all or most of the "white" genetics in her ancestry. Though we should perhaps note that there is no mention of her mother below.

Her life story does show that her childhood among Aborigines ended in producing serious distress for her but her tale below is clearly very one-sided. Why did the social workers remove her from her Aboriginal family? We are left to believe that it was because they were inhuman monsters.

The fact of the matter however is that removing a child is very rule-governed and in this case the aim was protective. It is very common for Aborigines to treat their children very negligently and even abusively so there must have been reports of that nature in this case.

But despite her difficult childhood, that evil white society recognized her talent and moved her into the upper echelons of that society.

So combined with many other similar stories, this story does reveal a very clear lesson. It is not at all the lesson intended by the narrator but it is clear nonetheless: Real Aborigines cannot achieve academically. It is only ones who are not really Aborigines who can. It reasserts the great importance of European genetics


As a child I lived on Gadigal country in Redfern in Sydney, before moving out to social housing near La Perouse. Through a white lens, people would say we were poor. But there was something really powerful in being appreciative of what we did have and that was community, family, kinship and love. We were living with poverty and struggled at times, but we never went without.

The Department of Community Services (DOCS, now the NSW Department of Family and Community Services) removed me from my family in 2008 when I was 10. It was around 10 o’clock at night, and I was in bed. My older brother, thankfully, was at my mum’s place that night. Dad was out on the balcony and he yelled, “Bub I’m so sorry, they’re coming to get you.” I looked out the window and saw all of these red and blue flashing lights.

I heard a knock at the door and it was a caseworker. She said, “Hug your dad one last time, you’ve got to come with us.” I remember hugging my dad so tight that I could feel his tears drop on my shoulder.

When I was in the DOCS car, I vomited because I’d been crying so much. I didn’t know what was going on. I was placed into an emergency foster home that night. I remember the caseworker saying to me, “You can’t go home because your parents neglected you and your parents don’t know how to look after children.” I was really confused, because I remembered my dad raising my nieces and nephews and cousins and playing a prominent role in their lives. I was like, “What do you mean that my dad doesn’t know how to raise children?”

I went to around eight or 10 foster homes in that first couple of years. That’s considered a low number. Behind the scenes, my family was battling the court system. My parents, who had no knowledge of the legal system, were put into a room to advocate why they should be allowed to parent their child. No one ever asked me what I wanted.

I was passed around as if there was no soul in my body. The foster homes that I went to were white – they weren’t my kin, even though my aunties and uncles had put their hand up to take me in. During my third year in out-of-home care, I lost my Pop. He wanted to take me in, but I was robbed of those years with him because of the state system. I went from spending every weekend at Pop’s house, hearing stories, sharing our culture, having a Sunday roast, to seeing him for sorry business after he’d passed away.

My experience in foster care was a driving force for me to make the most of my career. I thought, “I’m going to leave this state system, I’m going to go back to my family and I’m going to get that time back that was robbed from me.”

At 18, I was accepted to study social work and criminology at UNSW. I met with a senior law lecturer to talk about whether I should study law. I remember she said, “It’s been 15 minutes and I’m already wondering why you didn’t originally enrol in law as your first degree.” In that moment I was like, “Shit, someone genuinely believes I’m capable of doing this.”

I’m in the sixth year of a seven-year combined law and social work degree. As an Indigenous student studying law, you’re reminded every day of what you don’t have. In corporations law you’re reminded you don’t have tenure to your land. In criminal law you’re reminded all your people are being locked up, removed from their families and communities and subjected to punitive measures rather than support. I work part-time as a paralegal in the pro bono team with Sydney law firm Gilbert + Tobin. One of the most beautiful things about working there is it’s built on the values of giving back. The team is like family. I’m lucky to have their guidance and support on the right side of the fight for humanity and justice.

The year that Kevin Rudd gave his apology to the stolen generations was the same year I was taken. I remember everyone felt so proud as a nation, but the reality is, the same executive powers are removing our babies. This is still occurring today. [In 2018, First Nations children made up almost 40 per cent of all children in out-of-home care nationally, despite being 5½ per cent of Australia’s child population. About a third were placed with non-Indigenous carers.]

A very angry Belgian

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Climatologist Dr. Prof. Jean-Luc Edouard Germain Michel Mélice recently sent the following threatening comment to climate skeptic Marc Morano

Old fart,

You must must remember me...if your brain is not completely fucked...

I am going to write you in french, remember that french is the language of every educated gentleman... which is not your case.

Je suis français et spécialiste en modélisation du climat et des océans, est-tu capable de comprendre ce que j'écris ?

You are getting very old now, your also bald, looking more and more like the Donnie the con, the orange agent.

In fact, you are typically an old mafiosi-type italian immigant.

Of course, you have no scientific training, your brain is to small to understand science, your IQ is under 100 (I have that information).

My scientist friends here in France welcoming you ... with a baseball bat....

Funny, we are all waiting for you if you have the stupid idea to travel to Europe...

I am a NASA expert and travel many times in the USA...I know the addresses of your kids and of of yourself. So, try to be very careful...

Donnie the don is terminated, this will be he case with yourself and the oil industry...

Too bad for you.

Dr. Prof. Jean-Luc Edouard Germain Michel Mélice

He wrote in a similar vein some years ago. See http://antigreen.blogspot.com/2013/05/a-very-strange-french-warmist-his.html

His personal history as lodged with the U.N. may be of interest


2. Date of birth: 12 07 1953

3. Place of birth: Jemappes, Belgium

4. Nationality(ies) at birth: Belgium

5. Present nationality(ies) Belgium, South Africa

9. Marital status: Single

11. Permanent address: 96, avenue des Combattants, B-1332 Genval, Belgium

13. Office Telephone No. +3226541555

15, Have you any dependents? NO

So he appears to be an old guy (67) who has never married. Being as angry-natured as he is, one can understand that no woman wanted him as a husband. So he has diverted the passions and energies that might have gone into raising a family into defending the absurd theory of catastrophic global warming. So it is no wonder that he gets angry at anyone who pokes holes into his central life belief

He certainly has ego problems. His assertion that "French is the language of every educated gentleman" is a hoot. Anglo-Saxons rarely use French so are none of them gentlemen? It is a really desperate claim to virtue which he himself undermines: After a very simple sentence in French he immediately lapses back into bad English, thus illustrating the supremacy of English



Penguin Random House staffers ‘broke down in tears’ over release of Jordan Peterson book

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One hopes that the tears of a few nuts are not heeded. The book will be a big money-spinner so the publisher will not easily be deflected from publishing it

Peterson's messages are all positive so it seems unlikely that the disturbed staffer has in fact read the book: She has just been misled by all the lying Leftist propaganda

A reader writes:

"I have listened to many of Jordan Peterson's lectures, and read many of his essays and his first book, 12 Rules for Life. The book is basic good sense. There is nothing in it that could be offensive to any mature person. Mostly he talks about maximising one's individual responsibility and developing a sense of purpose and meaning in life. He encourages the reader to be helpful to those around them, to family, neighbours, and at work. And he speaks and writes as if he is communicating to men, using short sentences and everyday language, and when he does use an uncommon word he defines and explains it, so the reader understands and learns. He writes pictorially, in images, stories and analogies. He communicates as men communicate. 

Unlike most contemporary psychologists who are manipulative feminists, Peterson does not write as if speaking to self-centred self-righteous women. He does not stroke the reader's ego, he does not encourage a sense of victimhood, or stir resentment against western society, or tell the reader to honor their emotions and follow their feelings, and he does not use vague sentences full of emotional leftist buzz words like empowerment, agency, equality, caring, non-judgemental, empathy, etc, and psychology jargon without explanation. He does not try to make the reader feel good, he simply tries to assist the reader to be the best they can be for their self and for those around them. Peterson's writings do not stroke the egos of those who are selfish, emotionally focused, envious types who hate society and resent their own individual responsibility. He is not trying to stir discontent and resentment under the guise of "empowerment". He is just trying to help individuals. And that is why leftists/feminists hate him."

Staff at a publishing house have reportedly been in tears over news that their company was set to publish the latest book by divisive Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson.

Employees at Penguin Random House Canada (PRHC) are now putting pressure on the publisher to cancel the release of his third book Beyond Order: 12 More Rules For Life, reports Vice.

According to the outlet, “several” employees confronted management at an internal town hall on Monday and “dozens more have filed anonymous complaints” about PRHC’s plans to release the latest work from the controversial academic.

“He is an icon of hate speech and transphobia and the fact that he’s an icon of white supremacy, regardless of the content of his book, I’m not proud to work for a company that publishes him,” one town hall attendee told Vice.

Another employee said: “People were crying in the meeting about how Jordan Peterson has affected their lives.” One staffer said Dr Peterson had “radicalised their father” and another insisted the publishing of Dr Peterson’s book will “negatively affect their non-binary friend”.

“The company since June has been doing all these anti-racist and allyship things and then publishing Dr Peterson’s book completely goes against this. It just makes all of their previous efforts seem completely performative,” the employee told Vice.

Dr Peterson is a psychology professor at the University of Toronto and hosts a popular podcast. He announced on Monday that he is releasing the new book, which is set to hit shelves in March next year.

PRHC told Vice in a statement, “We announced yesterday that we will publish Jordan Peterson’s new book Beyond Order this coming March. Immediately following the announcement, we held a forum and provided a space for our employees to express their views and offer feedback.

“Our employees have started an anonymous feedback channel, which we fully support. We are open to hearing our employees’ feedback and answering all of their questions. We remain committed to publishing a range of voices and viewpoints.”

Vice’s report quickly went viral on social media with critics mocking the crying employees, suggesting they should quit or be fired by the publisher for their emotional response to Dr Peterson’s work.

PRHC did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/media/penguin-random-house-staffers-broke-down-in-tears-over-release-of-jordan-peterson-book/news-story/cf7a5b718134492a3abd107627bad18d

China claims 'quality' problem with Australian coal as $700 million worth sits idle off ports

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It is clearly getting to be time to do something about this.  Exporters who are not heavily dependant on the Chinese market could refuse all new orders from China until the existing shipments are paid for

But government action is probably needed to get enough impact.  Morrison has several options, all of which would probably cause China to lose "face" so would have to be heavily telegraphed in advance

He could freeze all payments to China until China pays its bills -- including demurrage costs.  China does have significant exports to Australia so losing payments for them should make an impact

He could ban all exports to China until China pays its bills.  China is heavily dependent on Australia for some things -- such as metallurgical coal and iron ore -- so such a ban should cause great disruption to Chinese industry

He could let matters ride but insist that all future exports to China should be prepaid.  That is a common way to deal with bad debtors.  It should probably be the first option


For months, dozens of bulk carriers have been stranded off the coast of two major Chinese ports unable to unload their cargoes, with a Bloomberg estimate of more than 60 ships now in limbo in November.

Chinese authorities have not previously explained the exact reasons for the long delays, which have coincided with a series of restrictions and bans Beijing has imposed on other Australian exports amid diplomatic tensions.

But in answer to a question on Tuesday, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has for the first time suggested quality problems are to blame.

As trade and political tensions simmer, speculation swirls about what's really going on between the two nations — and what's next on a Chinese sanctions "hit list".

"In recent years, China Customs has conducted risk monitoring and analysis on the safety and quality of imported coal and discovered imported coal not meeting environmental standards is relatively common," he said.

China has unofficially banned Australian coal imports since October amid souring relations between the two countries, and in turn, increased imports from Mongolia and Russia.

Mr Zhao said China had strengthened the examination and testing of imported coal regarding safety, quality and environmental standards "so as to better protect the legitimate interests and the environmental interests of the Chinese side".

Coal is one of seven Australian imported products that have reportedly been targeted with bans by China amid rising tensions.

Earlier this month, multiple Australian exporters said that their Chinese business partners had been informally instructed by Commerce ministry officials to stop buying seven types of Australian exports, including coal.

But many of the bulk carriers sitting off the Chinese ports arrived with their Australian cargo prior to those instructions being given.

China's Government has stopped short of directly linking the various trade measures with its anger at Australia but has made little effort to dispel the widely-held view that it is retaliation for a series of Australian moves Beijing objects to, including a public call for a coronavirus inquiry.

The Federal Government last week said the reports were "deeply troubling" but China has denied it is levying coordinated trade action against Australia.

China accounts for about one-third of Australia's total exports. The stalled shipments account for about a quarter of all imports waiting to pass customs clearance in China.

China's coking coal imports from Australia slumped in October to 1.53 million tonnes, or about 26 per cent of its total imports of the fuel, customs data showed, down from 78 per cent in March.

Despite the bans, Australia remains China's top seaborne coal supplier in 2020, as Mongolia was forced to trim exports in the first half of the year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-26/china-claims-quality-problem-with-australian-coal/12921354

The Great Reset: Wild new coronavirus conspiracy theory takes hold

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This is not a conspiracy theory. It is perfectly mainstream Leftist doctrine. The Left has always wanted to reform everyone else -- by revolution if need be.

The only difference these days is the terminology used: "New world order", “The Great Reset”. etc But it is just new names for socialism

And people are right to see in it a threat to their way of life. That's what Leftism is. Leftists mean to upset existing arrangements


COVID-19 conspiracy theories are rife. While some people question its origins, others outright deny that it exists.

Microchips in vaccines, sovereign citizens, a new world order under the cover of a crisis – the pandemic has been fertile ground for the nurturing and dissemination of conspiracy theories.

Talk of nefarious, underground plans by evil cabals of the elite have spread like, well, a virus.

And now a new theory is doing the rounds. A theory that, depending on what you read, posits that after the pandemic a “fascist” regime will take over that will “enslave” mankind – all with a healthy dose of communism to boot. Naturally, your guns – if you have them – will be taken away.

It’s called “The Great Reset”.

But there’s a novel twist about this theory. Whereas many other conspiracies rely on adherents being persuaded terrible things are happening just out of sight; the Great Reset, by contrast, has its own official website and branding.

Apparently leaders, from Prince Charles to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, just keep talking about it. Time magazine has an entire section of its website dedicated to it.

If it is a plot, it’s the most in the open yet underground, secret plot yet.

Interest in the Great Reset conspiracy theory began to surge in recent weeks following a video featuring Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau giving an online speech to the United Nations where he mentions a “reset” of the economy.

The speech was actually in late September, but has been widely circulated in recent weeks. “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset,” Mr Trudeau said.

“This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts, to reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality, and climate change.”

Mr Trudeau also spoke of “building back better” by supporting the vulnerable in society and achieving sustainable development goals.

If that slogan seems familiar, it was used by the Biden-Harris presidential campaign with the website claiming it would give “America’s working families the tools, choices, and freedoms that need to build back better.”

In Britain, Mr Johnson has also been sliding in the “building back better” slogan here, there and everywhere. Just last week, Mr Johnson used the hashtag #buildbackbetter in a tweet.

Boris is NOT a small government conservative

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First Trump ditched free trade as a conservative value and now Boris is ditching small government. So what is going on?

For a start, Trump was well within the conservative tradition in using tariffs for his ends. But what about Boris?

He seems to be in a European mould, where stability is the main objective. European conservatives prioritize keeping in control of the country in order to thwart destructive leftist policies -- revolution in particular. Europe does have a sad past of revolutionary episodes.

So Boris seems to believe that anything is legitimate that entrenches strong government

Britain does have a semi-insane Left so having a free hand to deal with them could be helpful. The Labour party was led into the last election by Jeremy Corbyn, a Communist and terrorist sympathizer!


Dominic Cummings, the all-powerful adviser who masterminded Brexit and had Boris Johnson in his thrall, has been ousted by a triumvirate made up of Allegra Stratton, the prime minister’s press secretary, Munira Mirza, his policy chief (who used to be a revolutionary communist—but that’s another story) and his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds. Those who disapproved of Mr Cummings not just for his appalling manners but also for his radicalism, of whom there are many both inside and outside the Conservative Party, are hoping that Mr Johnson will revert to being the pragmatic One Nation centrist he was as mayor of London.

That is certainly the impression that the prime minister gave this week when he launched a ten-point plan to turn Britain green. But Mr Cummings’s great project will roll on without him.

The plan, which has the support of the Tory party and was outlined in the 2019 manifesto, is to weaken the judicial, political and administrative limits that have been placed on the power of the executive. Brexit is only the beginning. By the time of the next election, ministers will have control over more policies, enjoy more discretion and face fewer restraints than they have for decades.

Meg Russell, director of the Constitution Unit at University College London, warns of “democratic backsliding”. Charlie Falconer, the shadow attorney-general, sees Britain falling “under a majoritarian dictatorship”. Some see parallels in America or even Hungary, yet this is a distinctly British story: a conservative counter-revo-lution against checks and balances to executive power built up over half a century.

In a televised lecture in 1976, Lord Hailsham, a former Lord Chancellor, called for the overthrow of Britain’s ruling dictatorship. There was no junta of mustachioed generals and secret policemen; James Callaghan, the Labour prime minister, was a gentle fellow. Rather, Hailsham argued, Britain was an “elective dictatorship”. Parliamentary sovereignty, the underpinning principle of Britain’s uncodified constitution, granted the legislature the power to make and undo any law it wished, he explained. A government which commanded a majority in the House of Commons enjoyed a power absolute in theory and constrained in practice only by political realities and mps’ consciences. “Only a revolution, bloody or peacefully contrived, can put an end to the situation,” he said.

Hailsham proposed a written constitution, inspired by those in Australia and Canada, which would curb the power of Parliament. He wanted a federal system of devolved parliaments for Britain’s nations and regions, a bill of rights and an elected House of Lords. The new arrangement would be overseen by the courts. The queen would stay, of course.

Yet the regime he criticised was already being dismantled. From the 1960s, judges and legal academics responded to the everbossier post-war state by developing the doctrine of judicial review. In a series of cases, they marked out the scope for judges to overturn the decisions of ministers who had overstepped the powers Parliament gave them, failed to follow a fair process or behaved irrationally.

In 1973, Britain joined the European Economic Community. In the following decades, control of many areas of policy once dealt with in London went to Brussels. In exercising their remaining powers, ministers were constrained by European laws on state aid, procurement and the environment. Margaret Thatcher was enthusiastic, for the process limited the scope for them to mess with the economy. Brussels required the courts to strike down domestic laws and decisions that contradicted European law.

Tony Blair, who took office in 1997, thought Britain over-centralised and remote from citizens. The revolution he led looked a lot like the one Hailsham envisaged. He set up new devolved governments in London, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. (An assembly later planned for north-east England was rejected in a referendum after a campaign on which Mr Cummings worked. Its slogan was “More doctors, not politicians”.) A Supreme Court was created, independent of the legislature. A Human Rights Act, with which laws and ministers’ decisions had to conform, was passed. There was more oversight and less secrecy. Thatcher had set up the National Audit Office to scrutinise government spending; Mr Blair’s Freedom of Information Act created new rights of access to official papers.

David Cameron, a small-state moderniser, abolished the prime minister’s power to trigger elections. He strengthened Whitehall’s hand, recognising the civilservice code, which asserts officials’ political impartiality, in law. He bolstered the regime of ministerial directions, under which senior civil servants can publicly caution ministers if they believe a project is undeliverable or wasteful.

Vernon Bogdanor, a constitutional historian, concluded in 2009 that Mr Blair’s reforms were a classically liberal project in limited government, “seeking to secure liberty by cutting power into pieces.” Before proposing a law, ministers had to check that it was compatible with European and human-rights legislation, as well as the devolution settlement. Ministers could expect their decisions to be scrutinised by judges, auditors and the public. The elective dictatorship had been toppled.

The Conservatives miss the ancien régime. They blame judicial review for gumming up decision-making, and humanrights law for hobbling immigration policy. The crude carve-up of policy areas between London, Edinburgh and Cardiff has, they think, left the British government too feeble to tackle crises like covid-19. Devolution was meant to save the Union but, they maintain, has only boosted separatists. On November 16th, in a moment of candour, Mr Johnson expressed this view, telling a gathering of mps he thought Scottish devolution a “disaster” and Mr Blair’s “biggest mistake”.

What Hailsham saw as a dictatorship, the Tories see as a bond between voters and the government. Institutions and watchdogs created during Mr Blair’s tenure masquerade as independent, argues an official, but instead form a parallel political class. According to this view, Blairism weakened rather than strengthened democracy: voters are disillusioned not because Westminster is too mighty but because those they chose to run the country are constrained by people who have not been elected.

The restoration

For many Tories the prorogation debacle of 2019 confirmed that things had gone badly wrong. It was the culmination of a battle around Brexit which, said the Conservative Party manifesto in the subsequent election, “opened up a destabilising and potentially extremely damaging rift between politicians and people”.

Mr Johnson had promised, “do or die”, to deliver Brexit on October 31st, but without a working majority, and unable to call an election, he was blocked by Parliament. He prorogued Parliament, but the Supreme Court, which heard interventions from the Scottish and Welsh governments, blocked his move. The judges described their decision as a defence of Parliament, in keeping with the courts’ role in settling constitutional questions for more than 400 years. Brexiteers saw it differently, and are determined to prevent the executive from losing control again.

In most countries, changing the constitution is hard. In Britain, it is easy. The new checks and balances were passed by Parliament, and what Parliament has created, it can take away. The reforms of the past 40 years will not be overthrown, but there will be a course-correction to assert the primacy of the politicians over judges and officials. Danny Kruger, a Tory mp, calls it “a restoration of politics to its proper place at the apex of our common life.”

Brexit, which comes into full effect on January 1st, ends the supremacy of European law in Britain. As Mr Cummings’s campaign slogan of “take back control” promised, both the workload and the el-bow-room of ministers will expand. They will take charge of the sanctions imposed on Russian kleptocrats, the allocation of airport landing-slots and the chemical composition of toilet unblocker. David Frost, Mr Johnson’s negotiator, sees Brexit as a zero-sum game in recovering lost sovereignty. Ending Europe’s control over state subsidies and emissions is “the point of the whole project.”

Parliament has passed a stack of laws to patch the hole left by Brussels in running Britain. But whereas in Brussels powers are distributed among the eu’s institutions, in Britain they are concentrated in ministers’ hands. mps will have less freedom to block future trade deals than their counterparts in the European Parliament or America’s Congress; ministers will have wide powers to rewrite regulations on agriculture and medicines. A new environmental regulator has been set up, but campaigners think it weedier than the European Commission.

While ministers get mightier, the courts are being weakened. They will no longer be able to strike down decisions and acts incompatible with eu law. A review led by Edward Faulks, a critic of the prorogation ruling, will ask whether judicial review is being abused “to conduct politics by another means”. It will look at placing some of the prime minister’s prerogative powers, such as deploying troops or appointing ministers, beyond the reach of judges, and at “streamlining” the burden placed on government by disclosure rules.

Robert Buckland, the Lord Chancellor, is considering changing the Supreme Court’s name to downgrade its status. A further review of how the courts apply the Human Rights Act will be launched this month. Mr Johnson wants to reclaim the power to trigger elections by repealing Mr Cameron’s Fixed-term Parliaments Act.

Critics argue that this will result in worse, not better, government. If disclosure is limited, the scope for bringing unlawful behaviour to light will be too. Judi-cial-review cases are usually about everyday matters in which officials have administered lousily, rather than grand constitutional questions. Judges enter political terrain rarely, reluctantly and only with good reason—which, many would argue, they had in the case of the prorogation of Parliament.

More here:

The next Uluru? Fears iconic mountain could be shut to climbers after local Aboriginal tribes said it was a sacred place

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Why all this catering to Aboriginal superstition? Why is Aboriginal religion privileged?

Australia does not have an explicit separation of church and state but there is no doubt that such a separation is widely agreed as proper. There should be no favoritism shown to any particular religion.

Many churches have aims that they would like government support for. So why are Aboriginal aims given such respect? It is quite simply racist and wrong


An iconic mountain could be the next Australian landmark banned to hikers for good after it was named as an Aboriginal sacred place.

Mt Warning, on the Tweed Valley coast in northern New South Wales, was closed to tourists in March this year as a precaution against crowds spreading Covid-19.

The popular scenic destination, traditionally known as Wollumbin, was scheduled to allow to sightseers back in May 2021, however, the re-opening will now be reviewed, according to The Courier Mail.

Since the last tourists ascended Uluru in 2019, debate has arisen around whether climbers should be allowed on other natural landmarks such as Wollumbin and the nearby Mt Beerwah on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service said the delay to re-opening Wollumbin was to assess safety issues around landslides and the chain section of the hike, but also said they would be holding discussions with Indigenous groups.

'NPWS will now consider the future of the summit track, in consultation with key community and tourism stakeholders, including local Aboriginal Elders and knowledge holders,' a spokesperson said.

Labor renegade Joel Fitzgibbon is now openly threatening to bring down leader Anthony Albanese and take his job unless he dumps the green inner-city Left and backs workers

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The old party of the workers makes a last ditch stand. Fitzgibbon has no chance. The Left worldwide is now the party of the elite

The Soviet threat once kept the elite conservative. They were the ones threatened by a Communist takeover. But once that threat was gone they went on to service their natural feelings of superiority. Because they had obtained elite status in one field they felt that they knew it all and were entitled to impose their views on other people, including the workers. And telling other people what to do is the essence of Leftism



Joel Fitzgibbon has threatened to bring down Anthony Albanese if he doesn't move Labor to the centre and focus on the economy to win back blue-collar workers instead of pandering to left-leaning inner-city voters who favour climate change action over jobs.

The Hunter MP, who quit the frontbench last week after an explosive 'dust-up' with his leader over climate policy, told Daily Mail Australia he is prepared to 'go to the next step' if the party's emphasis doesn't change soon.

'I've given him a big warning and another chance and we'll see whether he can grasp that opportunity or if we'll have to go to the next step,' he warned.

Asked how long he would give Mr Albanese to turn things around before making his next move, Mr Fitzgibbon said: 'I haven't defined a time, let's see where this take us.'

The 58-year-old, who almost lost his coal-mining seat at the 2019 election, believes Mr Albanese and some shadow ministers are too focused on climate change and worries an overly ambitious policy could cost jobs and votes in regional areas.

He was furious that senior left-wingers - whom he branded the 'cheesecloth brigade' - were calling for an 'even more ambitious climate change policy' in the wake of Joe Biden's US election win as Mr Albanese attacked Scott Morrison for refusing to adopt a 2050 net zero emissions target.

Mr Fitzgibbon, who supports the target, admitted there isn't a gulf in policy between him and Mr Albanese - but wants Labor's 'language and emphasis' to change so that resources sector workers feel less 'demonised'.

'We should spend less time talking about climate change and more time talking about people's economic welfare and their aspiration,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'People are more concerned about whether there are jobs and paying their mortgages than they are about climate change.

'We need to stop this fascination with it and talk in the language of our traditional base.'

Mr Fitzgibbon, who has backed the coal and gas industries since his election to parliament in 1996, accused left-wingers of deliberately exaggerating the problem of climate change to impress progressive inner-city voters.

'The left, of course, want to overstate the challenge and the problem because it suits them,' he said.

The former defence minister cited government figures released in August which showed that emissions per capita were lower than in 1990 by 42.9 per cent while the emissions intensity of the economy was 64.2 per cent lower than 30 years ago.

'This is a straw man. We're trying to fix a problem that doesn't really exist. Australia is doing it's bit. Someone's got to show some leadership on this stuff,' he said.

Mr Fitzgibbon said he wants Labor to focus on jobs and getting people back to work after the Covid-19 recession put more than 1million Aussies out of a job.

'It's not just about one policy,' he said. 'It's not just about coal, it's about re-claiming the centre ground.'

One right-faction Labor politician, who supports Mr Fitzgibbon's position, told Daily Mail Australia the problem is that Mr Albanese is struggling to resist progressive figures in the shadow cabinet who are dragging him to the left.

One example was shadow foreign affairs minister Penny Wong's insistence that he should ask the prime minister to call Donald Trump and tell him to concede the election - a risky move that no other world leader contemplated, the politician said.

To win the next election and avoid a fourth defeat in a row, Mr Fitzgibbon believes Labor must claim the regional Queensland seats of Flynn, Capricornia and potentially Dawson, which all have large coal industries.

He is angry that Mr Albanese, who trailed Scott Morrison by 58 to 29 in the latest preferred prime minister Newspoll, has not visited a single coalmine after 18 months as leader.

CFMEU Queensland mining and energy president Stephen Smyth said if the Labor Party refuses to back coalminers then their votes will go to One Nation.

'Joel is great advocate and understands the issues facing coalmining generally. If Labor doesn't have an advocate in that space then One Nation will fill that void,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

Mr Smyth said his union members do not deny the science of climate change and are open-minded about the transition away from fossil fuels but worry that moving too fast will decimate their communities and destroy thousands of jobs.

Under Labor rules, 60 per cent of senators and MPs have to support overthrowing a leader before they can be replaced, but commentators say any number above half would pressure Mr Albanese to step down.

Some say Mr Fitzgibbon is more likely to act as a 'stalking horse' for a fellow right-faction leader such as Richard Marles or Jim Chalmers rather than take the reins himself.

Pushed on whether he would personally challenge for the top job, Mr Fitzgibbon laughed and said: 'It's too early to be talking about that, let's see where this takes us.'

The veteran MP last week said he has 'no plans' to run for leadership but would consider a tilt if 'drafted' by his colleagues.

Mr Fitzgibbon, who has demanded the resignation of left-wing climate spokesman Mark Butler, said several Labor politicians share his concerns.

'I have very, very significant support in the caucus for my views on the party's direction, my determination to make the party more electable,' he said.

Labor's dispute over energy policy is part of a broader challenge faced by left-of-centre parties in western democracies who are struggling to hold their traditional working class voter base while appealing to younger, more internationalist supporters who typically live in major cities.

This divide undid the UK Labour Party in December when Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson won long-held labour seats in former mining areas in the north of England with a nationalistic rallying cry to 'get Brexit done'.

A review of Australian Labor's 2019 federal election campaign found the party had become a 'natural home for diverse interests and concerns including gender equality, the LGBTQI+ community, racial equality and environmentalism'.

But it warned that 'working people experiencing the dislocation caused by new technologies and globalisation could lose faith in Labor if they do not believe Labor is responding to their issues.'

Mr Fitzgibbon believes Mr Albanese can win the next election but only if he strikes a better balance with a more moderate climate policy.

The Labor leader said he is not concerned about alienating blue-collar workers and believes Mr Morrison is isolating Australia from the rest of the world by refusing to adopt a 2050 net zero emissions target.

Frontbencher Mark Dreyfus, who represents Isaacs in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, said Mr Fitzgibbon is 'out of step' with the majority of Labor Party supporters and insisted 'we don't get to say no to climate change.'

Australia's largest union, the ACTU, supports that position. President Michelle O'Neill said climate change 'impacts every job' and 'we need to act.'

Labor's 45 per cent carbon emissions reduction target by 2030 was received badly in the Hunter and regional Queensland.

Smog-infested Delhi slum that may show link between pollution and Covid-19 levels

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It's an obvious conclusion to blame the illness on pollution but it may not be so.  The polluted areas are also ones where poor people live and we already know that poor people have worse health.  

But a distinction could be drawn between low levels of pollution and the extraordinary levels in Delhi.  The body can cope with low level pollution but very high levels may overwhelm its coping measures.

So the point is that the respiratory illness noted below may be specific to levels of pollution found in the Third world only.  Extrapolating it to the developed world would be adventurous


During the winter months, it’s hard to tell whether the sun rises at all in the New Delhi neighbourhood of Sukhdev Vihar.

Enveloped in a thick layer of impenetrable smog, the natural light is blocked out and a gloomy shadow hangs over the hundreds of high-rise residential flats.

Breathing the air outside triggers waves of nausea and a throbbing headache, while walking up a flight of stairs leaves people breathless.

The sprawling megacity of New Delhi, home to approximately 30 million people, is the most polluted capital in the world.

Earlier this month, the Air Quality Index (AQI) - which measures the level of pollutants - exceeded 1,300 in Sukhdev Vihar, over thirty times the safe level set by the World Health Organization.

The level of pollution in New Delhi is hazardous all year, thanks to largely unregulated industrial and vehicular emissions, but it peaks during the winter months when thousands of farmers in surrounding states burn crop stubble to fertilise their soil.

As the pollution levels soared in the city in November the number of daily Covid-19 cases also rose, doubling to more than 7,000.

This bucked the national trend, with India as a whole seeing half the number of new daily infections halving from its September peak.

Public health experts are still exploring the link between Covid-19 and air pollution but initial reports indicate a strong correlation.

A Harvard University study of 3,000 districts in the United States found that areas witnessing small increases in pollutants also had a large uptick in Covid-19 fatalities.

In late October, a second study by a group of German researchers found 15 percent of global deaths from the virus could be attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution.

There has been both a 70 percent increase in the number of Covid-19 patients and also far more cases where patients have severe symptoms since pollution began to surge in New Delhi, according to Dr Sumit Ray, a critical care doctor at Holy Family Hospital in Sukhdev Vihar.

“The direct effect is on the lungs, prolonged exposure to pollutants makes your airwaves hyper-reactive and they go into constriction, then reacting badly to any infection,” explains Dr Ray.

“Long-term exposure to air pollution causes damages to the air sacs themselves and if someone gets a respiratory infection it becomes much more difficult to fight it off because they already have lung damage.”

The Covid-19 fatality rate in Holy Family Hospital has increased from 3.3 per cent between June and September to 5.05 percent since October 1.

Air pollution can also cause underlying health problems such as heart disease, which in turn can cause the fatality rate from Covid-19 to soar.

A three-month study from the virus epicentre in Wuhan found Covid-19 patients with heart disease had a fatality rate of 16.7 percent, compared to four percent for those without.

The record-breaking pollution levels in Sukhdev Vihar are exacerbated by a waste-to-energy plant that pumps out toxic gasses every evening.

“I receive a lot of patients with breathing difficulties, especially in October and November” explains Dr M. Rehman, who runs a clinic in the neighbourhood.

“Many inhabitants are asthmatics and are forced to use inhalers, even the younger generation, and I have seen many people die of pulmonary disorders.”

Despite growing public outrage the Delhi Government has failed to make any dent in lowering pollution levels.

Politicians are cautious to limit industrial growth and attempts to curb stubble burning have failed in surrounding states, with the practice so entrenched.


https://kaleistyleguide.com/news/2020/11/22/dispatch-inside-smog-infested-delhi-slum-may-prove-link-pollution/

Bombshell report into alleged war crimes by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan finds 39 unlawful killings were 'NOT in the heat of battle'

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Note that these claims come from a report with unknown procedures, not a court case with the usual safeguards destined to see that allegations are fully scrutinied. To treat these allegations as proven is therefore to rely on a kangaroo court. Full judicial scrutiny might well find that they are not supported and are nothing more than inter-unit jealousy

Some of the allegations could well be sound, however. In a guerilla war neither side is much influenced by legality. The only imperative is to survive and win. And taking out persons who are likely rather than proven enemy agents will often serve that strategy. It will often be simply difficult to tell who is enemy and who is not. Yet survival may depend on getting it right. So "take no chances" will often be the rule adopted



Australian soldiers stand accused of murdering 39 people in Afghanistan and treating prisoners with cruelty.

The damning findings were outlined in a major report into alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan made public on Thursday.

The inquiry uncovered scores of instances of unlawful killings and inhumane treatment of detainees.

Australian defence chief Angus Campbell revealed 'none of the alleged unlawful killings were described as being in the heat of battle'.

He went on outline how the 'self-centred warrior culture' had led to 'cutting corners, ignoring and bending rules'.

'Cutting corners, ignoring and bending rules was normalised. What also emerged was a toxic, competitiveness between the Special Air Service Regiment end of the second commando Regiment,' he said.

Since 2016, the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force has examined allegations of war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.

Over four years, Justice Paul Brereton interviewed more than 400 witnesses and examined tens of thousands of documents.

Justice Brereton found there was credible evidence of 23 incidents in which a total of 39 Afghan nationals were unlawfully killed.

He identified another two instances where prisoners were treated cruelly by elite Australian troops.

A few of the Afghan nationals killed were not participating in hostilities, while the majority were prisoners of war.

Justice Brereton identified 25 current or former ADF personnel accused of perpetrating one or more war crimes.

The report covered the period from 2005 to 2016, but almost all of the incidents uncovered occurred between 2009 and 2013.

'None of these are incidents of disputable decisions made under pressure in the heat of battle,' the report said.

'The cases in which it has been found that there is credible information of a war crime are ones in which it was or should have been plain that the person killed was a non-combatant.'

Dozens more allegations investigated could not be substantiated.

Justice Brereton also found there was credible evidence some soldiers carried 'throw downs' such as weapons and military equipment to make it appear the person killed was a legitimate target.

As well, there was evidence junior soldiers were required by their patrol commanders to shoot a prisoner in a practice known as "blooding" to achieve their first kill.

The inquiry has recommended the chief of defence refer 36 matters to the Australian Federal Police for criminal investigation.

The matters relate to 23 incidents and involve 19 individuals.

Justice Brereton placed the greatest blame on patrol commanders, believing they were most responsible for inciting or directing subordinates to commit war crimes.

'It was at the patrol commander level that the criminal behaviour was conceived, committed, continued, and concealed, and overwhelmingly at that level that responsibility resides.'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously announced a special investigator will pursue possible criminal prosecutions. The position is yet to be filled.

The report recommended administrative action be taken against some serving ADF personnel where there is credible evidence of misconduct, but not enough for a criminal conviction.

It also recommended Australia compensate the families of Afghan people unlawfully killed, without waiting for criminal prosecutions.

'This will be an important step in rehabilitating Australia's international reputation, in particular with Afghanistan, and it is simply the right thing to do.'

As well, the inquiry recommended various service medals be stripped away from some individuals and groups.

'It has to be said that what this report discloses is disgraceful and a profound betrayal of the Australian Defence Force's professional standards and expectations,' the report said.

'We embarked on this inquiry with the hope that we would be able to report that the rumours of war crimes were without substance.

'None of us desired the outcome to which we have come. We are all diminished by it.'

We are not winning: Red Cross warns of human crisis from climate change

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An amusing article below. Its first two words are the key to understanding it: "Natural disasters".

It is about NATURAL disasters. Linking them to global warming is pure speculation: Unprovable. And there is no attempt to canvass other causes of an increase -- better reporting etc. It is just kneejerk writing, with no evidence of real thought. It is so crass that it discredits the Red Cross


Natural disasters force 100 million people a year to seek aid and that number is expected to double within 30 years as climate change intensifies floods, droughts and storms.

The Red Cross's World Disaster Report rated climate change as the greatest global challenge, finding disasters triggered by extreme weather and climate-related events had risen 35 per cent since 1990.

Releasing the report on Tuesday, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies secretary-general Jagan Chapagain called on the international community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fund infrastructure and services to mitigate the impact of global warming, starting with the most vulnerable communities.

"Climate and weather-related disasters are causing massive humanitarian impacts across the world, directly affecting 1.7 billion people in the past decade alone," he said.

"Even though we are winning small victories every day, in the big picture, we are not winning at all. We – as a global community – are not on track to make the changes that need to be made and to make them in time."

Weather and climate-related disasters have killed more than 410,000 people in the past 10 years, the vast majority in low and lower-middle-income countries, according to the Red Cross, with heatwaves the biggest killer, followed by storms.

Last year, nearly 24 million people were displaced due to weather-related events, largely floods and storms. Bushfires affected more than 14,000 people around the world and more than half were in Australia.

Locally, an estimated 9500 people were affected by the Black Summer fires, which scientists say were intensified by climate change, with 34 deaths, 3000 homes lost and health costs of $2 billion, according to the recent natural disasters royal commission.

The commission found extreme weather had already become more frequent and intense because of climate change, and further global warming over the next 20 to 30 years was "inevitable".

The World Bank in 2018 forecast that unchecked global warming, with no further emissions reductions, would create droughts, floods and storms that would drive an estimated 140 million to internal migration across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America.

Australian Red Cross international director Michael Annear said poorer communities around the world were most exposed to climate risks and should be the "first priority" for assistance.

"We need to urgently scale up planning for disasters and support these communities so that they can prepare more effectively for disasters and expand existing community resilience."

In May, Africa was hit by a "triple disaster", with flooding, a locust plague and coronavirus stretching community coping mechanisms and disaster management capacities in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, the Red Cross said.

That same month, India sweltered in 50 degree heatwaves and Cyclone Ampham hit India and Bangladesh, where 3 million people were evacuated, more than 100 killed and thousands of houses damaged or destroyed across the two countries.

Red Cross climate change director Maarten Van Aalst said the data used by Red Cross to compile its report was "part of a best-practice collection of disaster information" including from the international Emergency Events Database, the World Bank and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, where he is a lead author.

To limit global warming, the global food system must be revised

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The basic claim here depends mainly on continued population growth. More people will eat more which will require more farmed goods.

But that is an unlikely assumption. Population in the developed world is shrinking and the less developed world eats less and used simple food sources such as rice. It is not at all clear that the demand for food will increase overall


If we stopped burning all fossil fuels this minute, would that be enough to keep a lid on global warming?

Acording to UC Santa Barbara ecology professor David Tilman, petroleum energy sources are only part of the picture. In a paper published in the journal Science, Tilman and colleagues predict that even in the absence of fossil fuels, cumulative greenhouse gas emissions could still cause global temperatures to exceed climate change targets in just a few decades.

The source? Our food system.

"Global food demand and the greenhouse gases associated with it are on a trajectory to push the world past the one-and-a-half degree goal, and make it hard to stay under the two degree limit," said Tilman, who holds a dual appointment at UCSB's Bren School of Environmental Science & Management and at the University of Minnesota. The world's growing population as well as its diet are driving food production practices that generate and release massive and increasing amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. According to the paper, left unchecked, agricultural emissions alone could exceed the 1.5°C limit by about 2050.

These findings are especially concerning given that we haven't stopped using fossil fuels, Tilman said. And with a 1°C average increase in global temperature since 1880, we've got only a slim margin before global warming results in widespread sea level rise, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss and other effects that will change life as we know it.

"All it would take for us to exceed the two degree warming limit is for food emissions to remain on their path and one additional year of current fossil fuel emissions," Tilman said. "And I guarantee you, we're not going to stop fossil fuel emissions in a year."

Reducing the emissions from food production, "will likely be essential" to keeping the planet livable in its current state, according to the scientists.

Seeds of Solutions

"It's well known that agriculture releases about 30% of all greenhouse gases," Tilman said. Major sources include deforestation and land clearing, fertilizer overuse and gassy livestock, all of which are increasing as the global population increases. In "high-yield" countries such as the U.S., which have the benefit of large scale modern agriculture, intensive animal farming and heavy-handed fertilizer use are major contributors of greenhouse gases. Meanwhile, in "low yield" countries such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, population growth and increasing affluence are driving demand for more food, and toward more "urban" diets that are richer in meat and meat products, Tilman explained.

"Their demand for food is going up, but the farmers don't have the resources to have high yields, so they just clear more and more land," he said.

And yet, it isn't as though we can just stop producing food, which is perhaps the main reason why agricultural emissions have received less attention than fossil fuels as a target for reduction, according to the researchers.

"You can't look at agriculture as if we can somehow get rid of it," said Tilman, whose research focuses on the environmental impacts of agriculture, as well as the links between diet, environment and health. "We need it; it's essential for society."

But, according to the paper's authors, global warming does not have to be an unavoidable impact of feeding the the world. Through early and widespread adoption of several feasible food system strategies, it is possible to limit emissions from agriculture in a way that keeps us from exceeding the 2°C limit by the end of the century while feeding a growing population.

The most effective, according to the paper, is a switch toward more plant-rich diets, which aren't just healthier overall, but also reduce the demand for beef and other ruminant meats. That, in turn, reduces the pressure to clear for grazing land or produce the grains and grasses (more farming, more fertilizer) required to feed them.

"We're not saying these diets have to be vegetarian or vegan," Tilman said. Widespread reduction of red meat consumption to once a week and having protein come from other sources such as chicken or fish, while increasing fruits and vegetables, in conjunction with decreasing fossil fuel use, could help keep the planet livably cool in the long run.

Another strategy: ease up on fertilizer.

"Many countries have high yields because from 1960 until now they have been using more and more fertilizer," he said. "But recent research has shown that almost all of these countries are actually using much more than they need to attain the yield they have." A drop of roughly 30% in fertilizer use would not only save the farmer money for the same yield, it prevents the release of nitrous oxide that occurs when excess fertilizer goes unused.

"About 40% of all future climate warming from agriculture may come from nitrous oxide from fertilizer," Tilman added. "So adding the right amount of fertilizer has a large benefit for climate change and would save farmers money."

Other strategies the researchers explored included adjusting global per capita calorie consumption to healthy levels; improving yields to help meet demand where it may reduce the pressure to clear more land; and reducing food waste by half.

"The nice thing is that we can do each of these things sort of halfway and still solve the problem," Tilman said. The sooner we employ these strategies, the closer we can get to keeping the Earth cool and avoiding the wholesale changes we would have to adopt if we wait too much longer, he added.

"I'm optimistic," he said. "We have a viable path for achieving global environmental sustainability and better lives for all of us."

Brooke Boney's one wish for all non-Indigenous Australians

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She wants other Australians to look up their family history. She apparently thinks that will change attitudes. I have looked up my family history and it has indeed affected my attitudes. I am amazed and proud at how quickly they brought civilization to Australia.

She says that Aborigines have not ceded title to Australia. But they did not have to. Title to Australia was gained by right of conquest. If that right is of no consequence we should ask the English to go back to Germany, which is where they came from around 500AD. And all Arabs should certainly be ejected from Palestine


Before she studied journalism, Today reporter Brooke Boney would often read inaccurate stories about Indigenous Australians, or ones that failed to include their perspective.

Even now, Boney, who made history last year when she became commercial breakfast television's first Indigenous star, said she faced a "big uproar" from the public when she did give the Indigenous perspective on topics.

At an event to mark NAIDOC's week at Sydney's Botanic Gardens on Tuesday, chaired by Boney, Indigenous panellists discussed this year's theme, "Always Was, Always Will Be [Aboriginal land]".

Boney said if she had one wish it would be for non-Indigenous Australians "to go back through their own family history and see how their family has benefited from the oppression of black people."

“If everyone did that, we might have a better chance of moving forward," said Boney, who made headlines in 2019 when she said her family would not be celebrating Australia Day.

Indigenous rights activist Teela Reid said this year's theme recognised that "First Nations people had never ceded sovereignty to this country, to this land and to these waters." And she said non-Indigenous Australians needed to face this difficult and uncomfortable truth.

NAIDOC week was an opportunity to celebrate and embrace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, said the panellists. But they also called on non-Indigenous Australians to educate themselves about the oldest surviving culture on the earth.

Ms Reid, a Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman, also said there was an obligation for non-Indigenous people to own up to their truth of the history - one of bloodshed - of what "their people did to our ancestors".

"It is also about unfinished business that we have to confront as a nation," she said. "We have to be very mindful, as a nation, that we have not gone on a journey of truth-telling, and that journey would be a dialogue between non-Indigenous and First Nations people."

She said starting these conversations was a difficult process. "That's a sign of maturity. We are not expected to feel good, because the truth is that our history is one of bloodshed. Confronting the truth is an uncomfortable process."

Calls for 'class quotas' in Young Labor to bolster party's blue-collar ranks

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What an air-headed proposal! How would it work? Are they going to get working class kids by the collar and drag them along to Labor party meetings?

That most young Labor members are kids from affluent families going to elite universities, means that it is hard to see how anything could change. The plain fact is that conservative parties now have most appeal to the workers. That is particularly seen in the USA where Trump mopped up most of the working class vote

Youthful inexperience still does ensure that most young people do vote Leftist but it is unlikely that that tendency will flow through to party membership. The cultural climate in meetings dominated by rich kids would leave most working class kids very uncomfortable



Labor must fill its ranks with more working-class young Australians and TAFE students to help it reconnect with suburban and blue-collar voters, the head of an ALP-aligned think-tank says, proposing a major overhaul of the party's youth wing ahead of the next election.

The federal opposition has been plagued by infighting during the past 18 months over attempts to turn around its electoral fortunes following three successive poll defeats and to balance its climate change credentials with attempts to win back its traditional base.

Nick Dyrenfurth - executive director of the John Curtin Research Centre - says the party should introduce new quotas for Young Labor (representing ALP members aged between 15 and 26) to recruit and retain more non-university students into its ranks.

Dr Dyrenfurth, who was the ALP's national policy forum secretary between 2016 and 2019, said there had been no effort to recruit "actual working people" such as tradies, assembly-line workers, train drivers, cleaners, retail employees or plumbers into the party's membership.

He said the narrowness of the party's membership had contributed to the cultural problems and electoral weakness at the federal level.

"Labor was once a working-class party that needed middle-class votes to win elections; it has since become a university-educated, socially-liberal, white-collar party that needs blue-collar, non-tertiary educated, precariously employed votes to win," Dr Dyrenfurth writes in The Tocsin, the centre's quarterly publication.

Young Labor draw upwards of 95 per cent of its members from university campuses, mainly from the top-ranking institutions he writes, and not from the 72 per cent of non-tertiary degree holding Australians.

Dr Dyrenfurth wants a Young Labor membership ratio of one-third university students, one-third TAFE and vocational students and one-third young workers not studying by 2022.

"Such an approach would bolster the role of Labor's affiliated trade unions, which currently shoulder the load in keeping the party connected to its working-class base but find themselves all too often ignored by an arrogant parliamentary wing," he writes.

"Too many Labor MPs and especially its young activists look and sound the same as their ostensible Greens rivals: university-educated, socially liberal and likely non-religious or atheist, and destined for white-collar, higher-income secure work, living in the inner-cities."

Former Labor minister Craig Emerson, who now chairs the ALP-aligned McKell Institute, backed Dr Dyrenfurth's idea but with some reservations.

"The idea of getting more young people from working class backgrounds is fine and quotas have been effective in the past, especially in relation to getting more women into Parliament," he said.

"But I don't think that it's a good idea to tell university students they are [worth less] ... A lot of university students come from working class backgrounds. There are a lot of first-in-family university graduates and I wouldn't want to be signalling to working-class kids who want to go to university they are less valuable [to Labor] for doing so."

Emma Dawson, executive director of progressive think tank Per Capita, said she agreed with the aim of broadening the party's membership but quotas were not the way to get there.

"It's really important the Labor Party remains a labour party, but you can't coerce people into joining a political party," she said.

"The key thing is to devolve some of that decision making and some of that gatekeeping and listen more responsively to what people need, and that's different in different parts of the country."

Long-time frontbench MP Joel Fitzgibbon quit shadow cabinet this week after 18 months of disagreement over climate and energy policy, which he said had alienated its blue-collar constituency and cost it millions of votes outside capital cities.

He said the party had provided too much focus on progressive issues while ignoring its traditional base and the policies that working people need to "help them meet their aspirations and the aspirations for their families".

Labor's post election review found the party had moved to address political grievances of a vast and disparate constituency during its time in opposition and warned working people experiencing economic dislocation would lose faith if they do not believe the party was responding to their needs.

Low-income workers swung against Labor at the May 2019 election with the review finding its ambiguous language on the Adani Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland, combined with anti-coal rhetoric, devastated its support in the coal mining communities of regional Queensland and the Hunter Valley.

But it found higher-income urban Australians concerned about climate change swung to Labor, despite the effect Labor’s tax policies on negative gearing and franking credits might have had on them.

Labor's assistant climate change spokesman Pat Conroy said on Friday the party could only govern when it unites it two bases of working class Australians university educated, progressive voters. "We're at our best when we represent both of those groups," he said.

Closing Australia’s education divide will take a generation, landmark study finds

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More pretence that all students have equal potential. The "divide" is the poor achievements of Aboriginal and working class children. In the USA the "gap" is between black and white pupils. And huge efforts and many bright-eyed ideas have been used to close that gap -- to no effect. So it would be optimistic indeed to think that things might be different in Australia

They are not. All sorts of efforts have been made to improve Aboriginal education but just getting Aboriginal children to attend school is a major difficulty. School is just not attractive to them and the parents don't care

And the basic thing underlying the gap is the same in the USA and Australia: the difference in Average IQ. IQ is highly correlated with educational success and both Aborigines and American blacks score abysmally on it. There is simply no way out of that situation


One of the most comprehensive studies of Australia's education system has found postcodes and family backgrounds impact the opportunities available to students from pre-school to adulthood, with one in three disadvantaged students falling through the cracks.

Sergio Macklin, the deputy lead of education policy at Victoria University's Michell Institute, released the report Educational Opportunity in Australia, which calls for immediate extra resources to help disadvantaged, Indigenous and remote students.

"Educational success is strongly linked to the wealth of a young person's family and where they grow up," Mr Macklin said.

"I think Australia's really letting down students from low-income families, Aboriginal students and those in remote areas."

The report critiques progress on last December's Alice Springs Education Council meeting where, in the wake of Australia's poor performance against its international counterparts, education ministers pledged to deliver a system that produced excellence and equity.

Last year's poor results on equality of education have now been exacerbated by remote learning, with some students without internet or stability at home falling weeks behind their peers.

"The children and young people that were being worst served by the education system are probably the ones that are being most affected by it," Mr Macklin said.

"So you'll see employment stress in families dramatically increased student vulnerability."

The report followed the progress of more than 300,000 students from school entry through primary school, into high school and onto early adulthood.

Mr Macklin believes the problem will take a generation to fix.

The report found disadvantaged students were more than twice as likely as their peers to not be in study or work by the age of 24.

The national average of students missing out on either work or study is 15 per cent, but this rises to 32 per cent of students from the lowest SES backgrounds, 38 per cent from very remote areas and 45 per cent among Indigenous young people.

"I think what this report highlights is that we're losing young people's opportunities in adulthood — and that's a real problem for young people," Mr Macklin said.

"But it's also a real problem for Australia. It puts a handbrake on our recovery efforts from the COVID recession."

Australia's Deputy PM Michael McCormack slams Adam Bandt’s comments to South Korea as ‘treacherous’

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Bandt is an old Trot (Trotsky-ite) so he hates the whole of Western society.  Trotsky thought even the Soviet Union was too conservative.  His followers normally see themselves as "revolutionary"

They are too extreme for mainstrean politics but a few of them have infiltrated the Greens, where they are very disruptive -- pushing the Greens even furtherto the Left than even the Greens want to go.  Some of them have by now been eased out but Bandt  has so far survived

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has slammed Greens Leader Adam Bandt for ‘treacherous’ comments he says are against Australia’s national interest.

The Nationals have called on Greens Leader Adam Bandt to retract his comments urging South Korea to stop buying Australian coal, or resign.

During an address to South Korean MPs on Tuesday, Mr Bandt encouraged them to stop buying Australian coal and renegotiate trade agreements to include carbon tariffs.

Nationals Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said reports that Mr Bandt was urging a foreign government to act to the detriment of Australia’s national interest were “deeply concerning”.

“By urging a foreign government to agitate for a change to Australia’s domestic policies through a free-trade agreement, the Greens have attempted to undermine our democracy,” Mr McCormack said on Wednesday.

“In telling a foreign government to stop buying Australian coal, Adam Bandt is telling tens of thousands of workers in our resources industry that their jobs don’t matter.

“He is telling tens of thousands of families that they shouldn’t be able to put food on the table. He is telling small and medium-sized businesses that they should just shut up shop.”

Mr McCormack said the comments were an attack on Australian jobs and the national interest.

“Adam Bandt is Australia’s modern-day Benedict Arnold. This is treacherous behaviour,” he said.

“The Nationals urge Mr Bandt to immediately withdraw his comments and apologise to the thousands of workers who rely on Australia’s resource industry for their livelihood. If Mr Bandt does not withdraw these comments, he should resign from parliament today.”

https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/mining/deputy-pm-michael-mccormack-slams-adam-bandts-comments-to-south-korea-as-treacherous/news-story/42ca81bb9f979b960f170aef9928690d

Lack of trees exacerbates extreme heat effects in Australian suburbs

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This is a storm in a teacup.  "Leafy" areas are prestigious in Australia and more trees are being planted to capture that prestige.  I myself have planted nine trees that are now very tall.  

But trees take a while to grow so new plantings in new suburbs will take a while to grow.  When they do grow up, the new suburbs too will be cooler

Note that this is just about suburbia.  Worldwide there has been a great upsurge of tree planting as agriculture has become more efficient and the land released goes under pine plantations


Huge swathes of our suburbs are in danger of becoming virtually unliveable with residents jumping from “aircon to aircon via a car with aircon” to avoid the searing heat.

That’s one of the conclusions of a new report that has also found that in just seven years the number of trees in 69 per cent of urban areas has dramatically dropped. Without enough trees shading city streets, temperatures can be as much as 10C hotter.

And one of the biggest culprits of cranking up the heat in our suburbs is homeowners clearing trees to build, among other things, swimming pools – ironically to cool down on hot days.

Associate Professor Joe Hurley from RMIT’s Centre for Urban Research said city greenery not only helped put the lid on heat, it was also key in managing stormwater and provided physical and mental health benefits.

Heatwaves are a hallmark of an Australian summer. But they're getting hotter, becoming more frequent, and lasting longer.
“Green cover should be managed as critical infrastructure alongside communications, transport, water and the electricity network,” he told news.com.au.

“But all too often trees are traded away for other demands like urban development. It can end up being about having tree or something else when we should manage our cities better so we can have green cities.”

Prof Hurley is the lead author of Where Will all the Trees be, a new RMIT report, released today, which looked at tree cover across hundreds of Australian local government areas (LGAs).

It found Cairns had the most green cover at 83 per cent while Wyndham, in Melbourne’s south west which includes Werribee, had the least at just 5.4 per cent.

“The bad news is between 2013 and 2020 the majority of LGAs have lost green cover. The more encouraging news is that from 2016, the majority are now gaining cover, that’s a good sign that the longer term trend is being turned around – but they still haven’t made up the losses,” said Prof Hurley.

Other studies have shown trees can have a dramatic effect on the ambient temperature of cities. Urban areas are often hotter than surrounding country areas anyway due to “grey cover”, the preponderance of hard surfaces like asphalt and metal roofs that help crank up the mercury. Lack of canopy can make this issue worse.

A vivid example from Melbourne illustrates this. Thermal images of Royal Parade show the surface temperature of the road fully exposed to the sun as surpassing 65C; yet just meters away a tree shaded area is around 30C cooler.

The air temperature of urban areas with more trees can be around 4C cooler than those without. On a more local level, the air temperature in an treeless car park can be 10C higher than a nearby shady street.

“We can’t say ‘stop developing and just plant trees’ so what’s exciting about Parramatta is how it is increasing urban tree canopy to create better neighbourhoods while becoming a major urban centre,” said Prof Hurley.

“The answer is to prioritise green infrastructure alongside development. As cities grow, we can make them greener – it’s not an either, or.”

https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/lack-of-trees-exacerbates-extreme-heat-effects-in-australian-suburbs/news-story/0825f8746b7e3e25be04e21140da4637

Why are so many clever, privileged teenage girls on antidepressants? They and their parents describe the drugs as life-savers - but HOW will they ever get off them?

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Depression is indeed a serious illness.  It is often fatal.  I myself have some tendency to it if I have relationship difficulties. But I solve it mainly by solving the difficulties and not every one is in a position to do that. It is a quarter of a century since I took any pills for it.

And from the stories below it does seem that relationship difficulties are also the main problem for young British women.  And the particulr relationship difficulty seems to be competitivesness about social success.

But success is the mantra that feminists preach.  They want women to be as successful in their jobs as men are and claim that women can "Have it all".  So as feminism becomes ever more normalized, competion to succeed must be expected to increase.

By contrast the Judeo Christian message is one of humility and gratitude, with the admonition against envy being one of the Ten Commandments. So as Christianity fades and feminism becomes the new faith for women what we see is what was to be expected

A slight comfort is that not everyone seems to be equally prone to depression. Some people are more readily thrown into it than others.  Fortunately, I am one of those whom it takes a lot to depress.

The fact that it is a physical predisposition can be seen in the difficulty usually experienced when one tries to talk the depressed person out of it.  You can point out how lucky they are by world standards or national standards and it does no good at all.  The physical inclination remains.

So it would seem that for some people medication is the only way out.  It did once help me long ago.

The big problem is of course dependance.  The terrible example of that is Jordan Peterson.  When he seemed about to lose to cancer a wife who had been with him since his teens, he turned very heavily to medications to cope.  But he could not get off them and they were  badly hurting him in some ways.  Even when the health challenge to his wife went away he was still stuck and needed very heavy therapy to get back to normal health.  

So the lesson is to use medications as sparingly as possible.  They are not a route to happiness, they just allow life to go on.  And Christianity is a great comfort for those who can believe


Every weekday, Ella Wilson wakes up at 7.30am and opens the Instagram app on her iPhone, checking for 'likes' on her latest selfie, before getting ready for school.

After packing her rucksack, the 16-year-old A-level student heads downstairs and picks at a few strawberries from the fruit salad her mother prepared the night before – and takes her daily capsule of the antidepressant fluoxetine.

On paper, Ella would seem to be the envy of many her age – slim, undeniably attractive and a gifted dancer with hopes of studying drama at university. She comes from a secure, loving family, with professional parents and two siblings with equally rosy prospects.

But following an attempt to end her life last spring, the teenager has been on medication for depression for more than a year.

It came after six months of therapy which, ultimately, failed to halt the intrusive thoughts that plagued her. That she'd never be pretty enough, or popular enough, or clever enough, and was destined for a lonely, miserable life.

'I just wanted all the bad thoughts to stop,' says Ella, who lives with her mother Andrea, 52, father Duncan, 52, sister Sasha, 22, and brother Jack, 20. 

'The pressure of trying to keep up with everyone else never stops. I never feel good enough. I go on to Instagram and see my friends meeting up together and think: why aren't I there too?

'I used to text them and ask what they were doing at the weekend. They'd say nothing, then I'd see pictures of them together online – I just wasn't invited. I see boys commenting on pictures of girls at school, saying how hot they look, so I think I have to look like that too.'

Exams, of course, are a constant pressure.'Girls lie about their marks, because everyone's in competition with each other, and then we get found out and it causes rows,' she says.

One evening in April last year, while her parents were out, she collected up a cocktail of over-the-counter medicines in the house and swallowed them, alone, in her bedroom.

Three hours later she rang her mother in a panic, who called for an ambulance.

Talking about it today, Andrea is understandably still shaken: 'Ella said she hated herself, and I don't know why. There's nothing wrong with her – she's beautiful and wonderful.'

It is, without doubt, a sad story. But, tragically, it's also one that is increasingly common. Almost 190,000 young people aged between ten and 19 are now, like Ella, on antidepressants, according to the latest NHS figures – over a fifth more than four years ago. Girls are twice as likely than boys to be prescribed them.

Ella's older sister – who previously suffered an eating disorder – and several of her friends have taken them, too.

Andrea says: 'They all talk about what pills they're taking with each other, and they have so much of the information at their fingertips. I worry it's almost become normalised.'

Meanwhile, sleeping pill prescriptions for under-18s have increased by a third in two years, while the number of teens being treated for addiction to anti-anxiety medication doubled between 2017 and 2018. Experts raised the alarm, warning that GPs are handing out psychiatric drugs too freely, creating a medicated generation unable to cope with the usual highs and lows of life.

There's also growing awareness in the medical community about the risk of coming off antidepressants, which alter the amount of mood-stabilising hormones in the brain. At the end of last year, health watchdog NICE changed their guidance for antidepressant treatment, warning that withdrawal symptoms – including suicidal thoughts – may be 'severe and protracted' in some patients.

Of course, teenagers have always suffered angst.  So are GPs simply quicker now to reach for the pills, or is there something deeper going on?

A wealth of studies show that deprivation is the leading risk factor for mental illness. Those from poorer families are twice as likely to suffer a lack of support, inadequate education and parental neglect – all factors that contribute towards poor mental health.

And yet teenage girls from privileged backgrounds, with all the odds in their favour, are also more likely to suffer than the norm.

Those with parents on an annual income of more than £100,000 show worryingly high rates of substance use, depression, anxiety and eating disorders, according to a recent study.

So what is it that makes our nation so toxic for our children – and in particular our daughters?

Behind every case of depression – and subsequent antidepressant prescription – is a complex mix of genetic, biological and environmental factors. But as a parenting author who tracks the factors affecting child wellbeing, it seems to me there are several themes that keep cropping up.

For one thing, British children spend more time online than almost any others in the world, according to a survey of more than half a million 15 year-olds from 34 countries, by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a global organisation whose goal is to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity and well-being. More than one in three British youngsters are 'extreme' users, who spend at least six hours a day online. Tellingly, the heaviest users are girls – more vulnerable to being sucked into a toxic culture of self-comparison.

For instance, on TikTok – a social media platform on which you'll find short videos of youngsters dancing or doing comic skits – videos of users deemed unattractive or with an 'abnormal body type' are suppressed by the app's moderators, according to documents leaked to online publication, The Intercept. Inevitably, images of slim, attractive people are promoted to the top of users' feeds.

It's just one example among so many of how social media skews young users' perception of what's a normal way to look.

Then there's friendships – key for happiness and self-confidence.

Studies show that British children's social relationships are more tense and fractious than any other nation's – in part due to the amount of time they spend online. Research at the University of Sheffield found interacting mainly online increases the risk of cyberbullying and social comparison, which can lead to jealousy and conflict.

Take 18-year-old Lucy Waite, from Surrey, who wrote her first suicide note aged just 12 – and has attempted to end her life twice.

'Even if my mum tells me I'm fine as I am, deep down I'm thinking, no, fine is not enough,' says Lucy, who lives with parents Gill, 52, a human resources manager and Doug, 53, who works in sales, and younger sister Sophie, 14. 'I've got to be the best, otherwise I've failed.'

Lucy's mood first dipped in the first year of secondary school when she was 12, when classmates began picking on her.

'It was weird, they said they were my friends but they were also picking on me. They'd say mean things about the way I looked, throw things at me, or call me a 'suck up' if I did well on a test,' she says.

'I started to withdraw, spent more time in my bedroom after school and would cry myself to sleep most nights. I'd dread going in from the minute I woke up.'

After a year of spiralling depression, Lucy reached her lowest ebb, and wrote of her disturbingly dark feelings – and the lengths she'd go to, to stop them – in a notepad. 'I didn't have a plan, as such, but I could've acted on impulse in that moment. I just wanted it all to stop,' she says.

Thankfully, Lucy's mother Gill found the note and stepped in, taking Lucy to the GP immediately, before she had a chance to act. The doctor referred Lucy to the local child and adolescent mental health service, and she began therapy. Things improved – to some extent.

'I started to really struggle with my appearance. I was too tall. And I had muscly legs, not like the other girls' in my class who were skinny,' says Lucy.

'And around the same time, Instagram became popular, so I was in this world of insanely pretty girls, talking about how they stayed really skinny by eating healthily.

'I thought I want to be like that and thought the way to do it is to lose a load of weight. So I got down to an unhealthy weight, until my parents noticed and intervened to get me to eat.'

The GP prescribed antidepressants – first, sertraline, followed by amitriptylin, along with sleeping pills.

Intriguingly, Lucy knows other girls her age on medication, but says: 'It's not really something people talk about.'

Gill was 'hesitant' to put her 12 year-old child on antidepressants at first. But having taken the pills herself in the past, she 'at least knew what to look out for, in terms of side effects'.

Lucy believes the medication has been 'a lifesaver'. She says: 'Everyone is different. But for me, it was the right mix. It allowed me to get me through my GCSEs.'

Lucy and Ella are, indeed, the sharp end of the spectrum of mental ill health.

But sadly, suicide among teen girls and young women is rising fast – almost doubling in just seven years, according to Government figures. And without antidepressants, these figures could be far higher.

The general medical consensus is that giving teens antidepressants should be a last resort.

For Ella's mother, Andrea, medication gave her daughter the 'breathing space' she needed to think rationally again.

'I felt like a failure because I couldn't help her do it through lifestyle and exercise. But the truth is, depression is an illness, and these drugs can help.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-8924165/Why-clever-privileged-teenage-girls-antidepressants.html