California Bill Would Charge Any Parent Who Doesn’t Affirm Transgenderism With ‘Child Abuse’

A blatant attempted breach of the 1st Amendent.  If enacted, it will rapidly be struck down in the courts

A recently amended California bill would add “affirming” the sexual transition of a child to the state’s standard for parental responsibility and child welfare—making any parent who doesn’t affirm transgenderism for their child guilty of abuse under California state law.

AB 957 passed California’s State Assembly on May 3, but a co-sponsor amended it after hours in California’s State Senate on June 6.

Assembly Member Lori Wilson, D-Suisun City, wrote the bill and introduced it on Feb. 14. State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, co-sponsored it. Wilson’s child identifies as transgender.

Originally, AB 957 required courts to consider whether a child’s parents were “gender-affirming” in custody cases. Wiener’s amendment completely rewrites California’s standard of child care.

AB 957 post-amendment “would include a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity as part of the health, safety, and welfare of the child,” altering the definition and application of the entire California Family Code.

California courts would be given complete authority under Section 3011 of California’s Family Code to remove a child from his or her parents’ home if parents disapprove of LGBTQ+ ideology.

By changing the definition of what constitutes the “health, safety, and welfare of [a] child,” schools, churches, hospitals, and other organizations interacting with children would be required to affirm “gender transitions” in minors by default—or risk charges of child abuse.

AB 957 could also expand which organizations provide “evidence” of gender “nonaffirmation” to California’s courts.

Because of the addition of “gender affirmation” to the qualifications of California’s standards for “health, safety, and welfare,” California’s courts would now be able to accept reports of gender “abuse” from progressive activist organizations—as long as they claim to provide “services to victims of sexual assault or domestic violence.”

In essence, a boy could report his parents to his local school’s Gay-Straight Alliance club or other LGBTQ+ organization, who could then report the boy’s parents for child abuse.

Incredibly, the bill provides no definition whatsoever of what would qualify as “nonaffirming” to a child’s gender.

As Susannah Luthi of The Washington Free Beacon points out, “The bill makes no distinctions regarding the age of a child, how long a child has identified as transgender, or affirmation of social transition versus medical sex-change treatments.”

It remains unclear what law or precedent California courts would be able to cite in determining whether a parent was affirming—much less to define a standard that applies to all situations.

AB 957 isn’t Wiener’s first foray into legislating transgenderism for children. Last year, Wiener authored bill SB 107, making California the first state to establish itself as a sanctuary for minors’ transgender treatments and surgeries. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, signed the bill into law in September.

In March, Advocates for Faith and Freedom sued Newsom’s administration in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Western Division.

Parental rights advocates and experts lambasted Wiener’s amendment that would upend the California Family Code.

Jay Richards, the Director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at The Heritage Foundation, calls AB 957 a “grotesque violation.” (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)

While more and more European countries pound the breaks on ghoulish gender medicine for kids, California has decided to mandate it. They not only want to make sure that any child with discordant feelings toward his or her sexed body gets fast tracked to cross-sex hormones and sterilizing surgery, state Democrats want to go after parents who might otherwise hesitate. This is a grotesque violation of both children’s and parent’s rights. Decent Californians on the Left, Right, and center should be outraged.

Nicole Pearson, founder of the Facts Law Truth Justice law firm and civil rights advocacy group, condemned AB 957’s unconstitutionality in an interview with The Daily Signal:

This bill makes law that failure to affirm your child’s identity is child abuse. This will be a final, legal determination without any evidence in support, or a hearing with notice or the opportunity to be heard. Assemblywoman Wilson and Senator Scott Wiener are not doctors. They can’t make this determination for every single child aged 0 to 17 in the state and, yet, that is exactly what they’re trying to do here.

If a parent or guardian is unwilling or simply not ready to affirm their 7-year-old’s new identity—as they transition from Spongebob to Batman to Dora the Explorer—they can be found guilty of child abuse under AB-957 if it passes into law.

This is a horrifying bill for children, and for parents and guardians not just in California, but across the country. Gavin Newsom is gunning for president in 2028. If he signs this bill into law, here, it will be headed to every state if he wins.

AB 957 has a scheduled hearing in the State Senate on June 13 at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time.


Giorgia Meloni named ‘Man of the Year’ by right-wing Italian newspaper

Feminists say they want women to be able to do anything a man could do but conservative women such as Margaret Thatcher and Georgia Meloni don't count, apparently, showing that destructive policies are the sole aim of Leftist campaigns

An Italian right-wing daily newspaper provoked an outcry on Friday after naming the country’s first female prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, its “Man of the Year”.

Libero ran a lengthy tribute on its front page and featured a large portrait of Meloni wearing a double-breasted white blazer and a look of determination.

Under the headline “Man of the Year”, the article said Meloni had won “the war of the sexes” in Italy and had “not only broken the glass ceiling, she dissolved it”.

The article was quickly received as a snub by political opponents and women’s rights activists who have accused Meloni of not doing enough to protect women from violence and promulgating regressive views around their role in society.

On Thursday, a senator in her party said that a young woman’s “first aspiration” should be to have a child.

The article was written by Mario Sechi, the paper’s Rome bureau chief, who led the prime minister’s public relations team between March and September of 2023 before taking his position at the daily.

“In our society of weak thinking, we have recognised strong ideas,” Sechi wrote.

“In excessive diversity, we have reversed gender. In times of war, we have chosen someone who has shown she knows how to fight.”

Sechi said the prime minister had confronted two wars, multiple geopolitical shocks, a changing Europe and a world order that was now being reinvented.

She was elected as Italy’s first female prime minister in October 2022.

“Giorgia Meloni for Libero is ‘Man of the Year’ because above everything she has cancelled the war of the sexes by winning it, by thinking differently, being divergent, overcoming the arrogance of men and the defeatism of women. She has not only broken the glass ceiling, she has dissolved it.”

“This is a surrender”

Elly Schlein, secretary of the centre-left Democratic Party, criticised the newspaper’s editorial decision, saying the prime minister had abandoned Italian women.

Italian food historian cooks up carbonara controversy
“Today a right-wing newspaper is explaining to us that politics and power are for men,” Schlein said. “I don’t think my aspiration as a politician is to become ‘Man of the Year’. On the contrary, I think this is a surrender”.

Elisabetta Piccolotti, an MP from the Alleanza Verdi e Sinistra (Greens and Left Alliance), described the cover as “an affirmation of male superiority” and called on the prime minister to reject it.

“At this point, prime minister, please clarify: are you a woman, are you a man or are you non-binary?” Piccolotti wrote on Facebook.

However, the culture minister, Gennaro Sangiuliano, a former deputy director of Libero, told journalists in Naples that the title ‘Man of the Year’ was well-deserved as he also took a swipe at the “barbarism” of “cancel culture”.

Since it was elected in 2022, the Meloni government has sought to defend the traditional family and national identity, protect cultural heritage and restrict migrant arrivals.

Meloni, a single mother who recently separated from her partner, TV presenter Andrea Giambruno, has been known for her strong stance on the concept of the traditional family.

She has so far made no comment on the Libero article.


Two teenage girls visiting from South America were attacked and stabbed while having lunch in the dining concourse of Grand Central Terminal

This animal had a long record so should have been kept in jail. It is Leftist leniency towards criminals that is responsible for this attack. Fortunately, the victims lived

Two teenage girls on vacation from South America have been stabbed while eating at Grand Central Terminal's dining concourse by a suspect saying 'I want all the white people dead.'

The girls, aged 14 and 16, were touring the city with their parents when they were suddenly attacked.

The stabbing happened around 11:25am on Christmas when the family had stopped for an early lunch.

The suspect, identified as 36-year-old Steven Hutcherson of the Bronx, allegedly told the girls, 'I want all the white people dead.'

Hutcherson is believed to have gotten into an argument with staff at Tartinery who told him he could not sit in the restaurant's seating area. That argument led to the attack on the innocent girls.

When Hutcherson complained that the two victims were being allowed to sit in the restaurant, he allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed them both.

Hutcherson was arrested in under a minute as MTA police swooped in from their nearby posts.

One of the girls was stabbed in the thigh while the other was stabbed in the back, nicking her lung.

Both victims were taken to Bellevue Hospital.

Hutcherson has an extensive criminal record and has been charged with attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child.

He is known as an emotionally disturbed person with an arrest record by both the MTA police and NYPD.

In his most recent brush with the law, Hutcherson was arrested twice in the last six months for intimidating people while brandishing a gun in the Bronx.

He pleaded guilty to both his weapons possession arrests from November 7 and July 24.

For his July office he was given a 15-day jail sentence, while for November he was given a conditional discharge together with a temporary restraining order against his victim.


Left/Right policy switches

TIMOTHY LYNCH notes below that what were once conservative policies have become Leftist and vice versa. So is there any condistency in ideologies? There is but it is not at the policy level. The lasting Left/Right identities are at the psychological level. The essence of conservatism is caution. The essence of Leftism is anger. Applying those attitudes to differing life circumstances will produce different policy preferences

The first woman I ever loved was an eco-feminist. She was radicalised by the 1984 British miners’ strike, listened to Billy Bragg on a C90 cassette tape, marched for women’s rights, admired communist East Germany and refused on principle to visit the US. In the 33 years since she dumped me, I don’t think she ever has.

In those decades, the left of which she was a proud and, I thought, typical member has been transformed.

Barbara (name changed) would now march not to keep coalmines open but to close them. Bragg would be too old/white male/working class (and thus need decolonising). The women’s rights marches Barbara joined in the 1980s she would now condemn as anti-trans. Only her anti-Americanism – the second most durable hatred on the left, after anti-Semitism – would endure.

The right has switched, too. Not as completely as the left but in important ways we often elide. This transposition of left and right conditions much of our contemporary politics but goes mostly unremarked.

In the ’80s, the Conservatives effectively closed the British coal industry. Barbara sent the picketing men blankets and goodwill. Today, “beautiful, clean coal” (Don­ald Trump’s phrase) is deified by those on the right. It speaks to man’s independence from the forces of cold nature. Scott Morrison held aloft a lump in parliament.

In the 2020s, it is the left that has assumed the four-decade-old Conservative position.

In Australia, Anthony Albanese and Energy Minister Chris Bowen vilify coal. Like Margaret Thatcher and Ian MacGregor, Thatcher’s head of the National Coal Board, Labor is plotting to throw every miner out of work.

Then, the right stood for middle-class values: marriage, family, low taxation, strong defences. Now, Australian Liberals trade on their working-class bona fides. In the US, Republicans tell defenestrated coalminers that they will be their voice. Democrats blame them for climate change. Barbara wept with the injustice of Thatcher’s assault on mining communities. Hillary Clinton now derides them as deplorables.

The right stood against the sexual revolution, free love and the consequences of the pill. Now it is the left that polices sex. Brittany Higgins, a young conservative woman (at least until Network Ten got to her), has become a poster child of the left’s obsession with sexual misconduct. The sex re-education programs on every university campus, warning of the perils of physical intimacy, are mandated by progressives, not by conservatives.

It used to be the religious right that told us to avoid sex. Now it is the cultural left. It was conservatives who criticised feminism. Now it is trans activists on the left. Indeed, it is Liberal women (such as Moira Deeming) who have paid the highest price for upholding a traditional conception of women’s rights. Many left-wing feminists have gone missing in action.

The left-right transposition is especially evident when it comes to race. It was small-C conservatives (often southern Democrats) in the US who wanted to maintain racial distinctions. Now it is the left that upholds race as the basic determinant of societal relations.

Conservative segregationists scoffed at Martin Luther King’s vision of a colourblind constitution. Now it is the left that condemns the reverend for his colour-blindness. We should hire, fire, promote and condemn based on race. MLK, left-wing anti-racists now tell us, was guilty of “content of character racism”.

Yes campaigners for the Indigenous voice wanted race written permanently into the Australian Constitution. No campaigners, representing most conservative voters, wanted it written out. When I was growing up near Leicester, then and still one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Britain, the far right demanded rights for indigenous Brits. In modern-day Australia, it is the left that makes the equivalent claim for First Nations people.

In Britain, asserting “indigenous rights” is racist. Here it is anti-racist. I have never been able to hear an acknowledgment of country here without thinking how bizarre it would sound in the English Midlands. “Sovereignty was never ceded!” sounds like an anti-EU Brexit slogan.

Why this ideological transposition? Losing wars changes the loser. And the left lost the biggest in its history in 1989.

My year with Barbara began the night the Berlin Wall fell (the other 9/11: November 9). We drank Blue Smirnoff, she in bemused sorrow, me in joyous irony; vodka was one of the few things the Soviet Union did well.

That night, the left lost the key economic argument of the 20th century: command economies don’t work, free-market ones do. People crave the opportunities of the latter. They will flee the former when given the chance.

My bearded university lecturers spent the ensuing years in a state of deep agitation. For many, the fall of communism coincided with their own midlife crises. It was wonderful. Today, zealously held but weak arguments are protected by speech codes and de-platforming. Then, men and women who had backed the Soviet project were subject to debate. Many did not like it.

The game plan thereafter was to establish a leftist catechism, grounded in a cultural revolution, the challenging of which would be heresy.

This “long march through the institutions”, as Rudi Dutschke, the young disciple of Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, described it, is reaching some sort of destination now. And what a scene of tedium and enervation it is.

Instead of debating big questions, we fly rainbow flags. Safe spaces have taken precedence over dangerous ideas.

When class war didn’t work, new kinds of oppression, to paraphrase the Communist Manifesto, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones, were found.

Climate, race and gender have replaced class as the source of left-wing fervour. These wars have been waged much more effectively. Their dialecticism – you are with us or against us, anti-racist or racist, pro-trans or transphobic – has enabled their colonisation of social media.

Marx claimed class war was inevitable. It proved not so. But culture war may well be. The US has been in a protracted one since Roe v Wade in 1973. Australia is flirting with its own version because of the voice debacle.

Climate denialism, structural racism, rape culture and transphobia. Collectively, these progressive priorities now have the quality of crisis. They are spectres haunting the West, to again adapt Marx’s rhetoric. Their negation now mobilises whole campuses and workplaces. Denying their salience, let alone standing against them, is hard to impossible.

In the US, if you want a university job, you will likely have to affirm, in writing and at interview, your contribution to their fighting. Australia is not quite there but we are inching closer. It is one of the forms of American cultural imperialism to which we are most susceptible.

I don’t know what Barbara would make of this transformation of the left. Sadly, dear reader, finding out would be a research project too far for me. I suspect she would be in sympathy with some of it. But much of it she would not recognise as the natural evolution from her 1989 platform.

She did teach me something vital, a lesson too few on the right imbibe. Those on the left are not bad people. They are not evil. But they are naive. They insist on realities that are fantasies. They seek final solutions to problems insoluble. They imagine better worlds while creating worse ones.


How much do the stories by Alice Duncan-Kemp tell us about Aborigines before white settlement?

The article below is rather hagiographic but considerable skepticism about it is warranted. The author claims that the stories concerned tell how the First Australians lived. But ignores the salient fact that Duncan-Kemp was a 20th century author, writing long after 1778. And there are many indications that her stories were romanticized.

So her stories at best describe a late period in the influence of white settlement on Aborigines. They describe Aborigines who were the product of contact with whites. Were the activities she described white-adapted or "original"? "A bit of both" is the obvious verdict and disentangling them would be a very speculative enterprise. They tell us NOTHING certain about Aborigines before white settlement

It’s hard not to be enchanted by the lost books of Alice Duncan-Kemp when they resonate so deeply with the nation Australia would become. A photograph of her, on a winter’s day 90 years ago, shows her tapping out tales of her childhood on Mooraberrie station, a speck in the red dirt of southwest Queensland’s far-flung Channel Country. The story of boom and bust in the bush, of hope given over to despair, of cattle dying of thirst one day and drowning the next in a frothing flood, is as old as the Outback ­itself. We know it by heart.

What sets Duncan-Kemp apart – and why the rediscovery of her work is causing a stir in academe and out in the field where scientists use it like a “road map” to unlock the secrets of how the First Australians lived – is the detailed and partly disputed account she provides of the contact era. A voice like hers was rarely heard at the time: ­admiring of the tribal ­Aborigines she grew up with, heavy of heart for a way of life in its death throes. Recalling the Aboriginal nanny who helped raise her on the family beef run, 1200km west of Brisbane, she wrote in 1933:

The seed of my knowledge, of that corner of sand-hills, was implanted within me as a mere babe straddling Mary Ann’s hip, or toddling with little black mates after the billy-cart. In later youth the seed grew and fruited. The secret lay in a profound respect for the aborigines (sic) and their customs. In return, these trusty folk taught me to read, with wonder and pleasure, in Nature’s Infinite Book of Secrecy, the reading of which was as simple as ABC to them.

Duncan-Kemp’s name and oeuvre – running to five out-of-print volumes and many more unpublished manuscripts – was forgotten by all but her family until a new generation of Australian historians dusted them off. Tom Griffiths, of the Australian National University, was 14 when he chanced across her second book, Where Strange Paths Go Down. He loved it, inspiring a lifelong passion for her work. Decades later the W.K. Hancock Professor of History would extol “the exciting truthfulness of her memoir – one tinged by innocence and nostalgia and prey to the glitches of memory, but faithfully told. A precious possibility emerges that Alice’s books comprise one of the richest ethnographic sources Australia possesses”.

University of Queensland archaeologist ­Michael Westaway began tracking down the scenes and places she described. There were dead-ends, of course. (“Alice was a bit airy-fairy on distances,” her grandson Will explains.) But in instance after instance, 21st-century technology and old-fashioned legwork confirmed her observations. Traces of sizeable Indigenous villages were found where she said they had been; a thriving trade in the narcotic pituri leaf did indeed span the length of the great inland ­rivers, from northwest Queensland to Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, just as she described it; the jarra-jarra millstones she saw Aboriginal women sweat over to grind grass seed and other bush “grains” came from vast quarries dotted across the nearby desert; rare medicine plants continued to flourish in the out-of-the-way spots she had documented.

“It’s a bit like following the Iliad to find Troy,” says Westaway, referring to Heinrich Schliemann’s 1870 feat to unearth the ruins of the fabled city in Turkey through clues in Homer’s text. “You know … we’ve been able to go through what she wrote and test it as a hypothesis: here’s a site or activity or plant she mentions, so let’s go and find proof of it.”

But some things haven’t changed. The critics are still at it, chipping away at Duncan-Kemp’s credibility. Take this 1961 review of book three, Our Channel Country. “Mrs Duncan-Kemp ­proceeds to unfold improbable tales of her childhood which dwarf most previous ‘tall ­stories’ of the outback,” the Sydney Morning Herald’s man sniffed. “It is impossible to take many of them seriously.”

These days, the carping is couched in more academic terms. The revival of interest in Duncan-Kemp engaged serious people in serious research that underpinned a successful Native Title claim by the Mithaka people of southwest Queensland in 2015. At the same time she was quoted approvingly by Bruce Pascoe in his polemic Dark Emu, which challenged the ­orthodoxy that Aborigines were “hapless” hunter-gatherers prior to European settlement and argued that they had developed the makings of an agricultural society. That willing skirmish, as we will see, has spilled into the reappraisal of Alice Duncan-Kemp’s work and legacy and in turn the national debate over the Voice, with its denouement at today’s referendum.

Linguist Dr David Nash has picked apart her writing phrase by phrase. An honorary senior lecturer at the Australian National University’s School of Literature, Language and Linguistics, Nash compiled dozens of examples of her ­appropriating Aboriginal vernacular and plagiarising text from other writers. “Users” of her work need to be wary, he cautions.

Will Duncan-Kemp is a keeper of the flame, carefully tended in a two-bedroom cottage in Toowoomba cluttered with his grandmother’s manuscripts, papers and family memorabilia. Bearded and full-bellied, the retired geologist, 66, wouldn’t look out of place in the sepia-tinged photos we’re looking through. He points to a faded image of Alice and her sister, Laura, as young women, standing beside a flooded river, backs to the camera, about the time she started on her debut book, Our Sandhill Country. “It was a hard life out there,” he says quietly.

Then as now, the vast chameleonic landscape on the edge of the Simpson Desert defied the efforts of mere mortals to tame it. The region, cut by intermittently-running rivers such as the Diamantina, Thomson, Barcoo and Cooper Creek, wasn’t even explored by Europeans until the 1860s; Burke and Wills would have approached the western boundary of Mooraberrie on their ill-fated trek through the interior. The pioneering Durack family settled there before embarking on a cross-continental cattle drive to open up the Kimberley in 1883. When Alice’s father, William Duncan, ­arrived eight years later to manage the 93,000ha station, ­violence with the Mithaka clans was still an ever-present threat. Native Mounted Police ­detachments – death squads in all but name, ­according to the ANU’s Griffiths, made up of Aborigines from outside tribal groups under the command of a white sergeant – would roam the Channel Country terrorising the black population.

Occasionally the young warriors would strike back and spear an unlucky squatter, unleashing a fresh round of bloodletting. The Mithaka refused to lie down. In her celebrated memoir Kings in Grass Castles, Mary Durack captured the raw brutality of late colonisation, citing the settlers’ belief that far southwest Queensland would only be made safe when the last of the Indigenous inhabitants had been killed off, “by bullet or by bait”.

Still, some graziers were sympathetic. What became known as the Debney Peace was ­brokered by a friend of William Duncan in 1889, ending the vicious frontier war. Scottish-born Duncan was himself an enlightened figure among the hard-nosed settlers, well-read and deeply interested in the emerging science of ethnography. After securing the leasehold to Mooraberrie, he would refer to the Aborigines as his “landlords”, making them welcome on the property. Alice, the second of the couple’s four children, became “twice born” at the age of two during a midwinter drama on a raging Bulloo River. Negotiating the flood in 1903, her father had slammed their horse-drawn buggy into a semi-submerged tree, nearly overturning the carriage. Then a heavy bough crashed down on where the infant lay swaddled, gravely injuring a harnessed colt. Somehow, Alice emerged unscathed. The astonished black stockmen accompanying them, Wooragai and Bogie, lit a ceremonial fire and started up a chant: from then on, she would be the reincarnation of a spirit sacred to the Aborigines.

In due course, she was initiated and given the name Pinningarra, or leaf spirit. But there were limits even for her open-minded parents. Duncan put his foot down after the red-hot stone tip of a naming spear was drawn across the little girl’s chest, leaving a welt. There would be no more ritual scarring, he insisted. But for the rest of her life, Alice wore the faded mark above her heart with immense pride, a visible link to the Mithaka.

The death of her father in a riding fall when she was six reinforced their role as her second family. Between showering her with affection, Mary Ann Coomindah – Bogie’s wife and the sisters’ nanny, who possibly breastfed them as infants – taught her to see the world through different eyes. Years later, Duncan-Kemp would write of the day Mary Ann took her on a long walk through the bush with Laura and ­little Beatrice. (Their older brother, David, had died of diphtheria aged four.) They were hours from the homestead when the sky clouded over. Mary Ann sniffed the air and told the children a wildfire was bearing down on them. Hurry! Their only chance was to get to Teeta Lake, 2km away. Running through the reed beds, they were overtaken by Indigenous families and wildlife fleeing to the shallow water. Mary Ann ushered the frightened girls into the deepest part of the lake, leaving only their heads exposed, shielded from the radiant heat and falling ash with strips of wet bark and sacking – and when that failed, with her own body. Leading the children home, testing every step to make sure the scorched ground was safe, the selfless woman said nothing of the second-degree burns she had incurred. Instead, she whispered to Alice: “This is our country, missee.”

You can only shake your head at how the ­settlers clung to their heavy British clothes and customs that were as out of place as could be in this remote corner of the Outback. One ­summer, Duncan-Kemp would write, the ­thermometer hovered between 123F and 125F (50.5-51.6C) for three endless days and nights. Her mother, now managing Mooraberrie on her own, hung blankets set in tubs of water across the doorways and windows in an attempt to cool the place down.

The homestead was built of pale anthill clay, the 60cm thick walls paired with 3.6m high ­ceilings. Drinking water was hand-drawn from an outside tank; what was needed for cooking, laundry and personal care came from the waterhole at the back, past the open-sided kitchen shack that was washed away the year Farrar’s Creek erupted. Regardless of the outside temperature, meals were prepared in enervating proximity to the wood-fired range; well into the 20th Century, carbide-powered lamps lit the living spaces after dark.

Young Alice would sit on the canegrass ­veranda listening to the stockmen talk of epic ­cattle drives and the characters they met along the way; for the women, life was a drudgery of caring for children, cooking and housework. The nearest town, Windorah, lay 210km away across the empty blacksoil plains. Yet where other Europeans saw arid desolation, Alice perceived beauty and the promise of renewal; when they complained about the heat and the interminable, all-consuming waiting for rain, she enthused about “one of the healthiest ­climates” going, dry and clear unlike the “clammy” coast, in the “great heart of Australia stretching away for hundreds of lonely miles beyond the Cooper, Diamantina, beyond Birdsville, Bedourie and Alice Springs; destined yet, with the advent of railways and population, to pour out through countless channels a hidden wealth that will command wonder and envy”.

Yet to the Mithaka, the world was held in Yamma-coona’s net, tethering every living thing by invisible silken threads to a mythical witch. Yamma-coona held court with the spirits of the trees and the air beneath a needle bush, while her left hand spun the lives of people. Those who strayed too far felt a tug at the heart that made them ache for home. Her net, the blue sky, was set in the morning; at night, the spirits drew it in and gathered the souls of the dead, Alice recounted.

At first the bush frightens and repels; the loneliness of the open spaces, lack of companionship, the hardships, dangers and privations, seem too big a price for so little a gain. Then by degrees the bush awakens interest; the open spaces begin to have a magnetic charm all of their own; the ‘bush sense’ develops. At last, it holds men’s souls in an iron clasp that relaxes only with death. The woman wizard makes magic and entangles them … spinning, spinning, always spinning her net until the strands of her captives’ lives run out.

Along with her sisters, she spent most of World War I at boarding school and then worked on another station as a governess. On returning home, she married a bank clerk, Fred Kemp, but was adamant she would preserve the family name to become Alice Duncan-Kemp. They moved from post to post in southwest Queensland with Fred’s bank, raising cattle and sheep on the side. But Duncan-Kemp, by now a softly-spoken woman in her thirties, busy with her own family, never let go of her childhood with the Mithaka. As a girl, she had always jotted her thoughts down in a notebook and now she began writing her memoir in longhand, ­typing and retyping drafts until she felt ready to approach a publisher, Griffiths discovered.

Our Sandhill Country, completed while she was staying at Mooraberrie with Laura, who’d taken over from their mother, was released in 1933 by Angus & Robertson and did well enough to be reprinted. But Duncan-Kemp wasn’t finished yet, not by a long way.

Scattered over the river-flats and highlands maybe seen the remains of humpies, circular impressions where a one-time humpy stood with earth scooped out and piled around the back and sides to form a moat or drain for river waters; yerndoos, or cracking stones, where they cracked their shell food before or after cooking; jara-jaras, or large sandstone grinding slabs, some with elaborate hieroglyphics and carvings upon them; stone chisels and bluestone tomahawks; burnt-out clay ovens; charcoal ridges in the soil that denote middens and the dead ashes of many campfires; a few battered wooden or flint weapons; old wooden coolamons and smaller pitches corroded by age and sands; mounds of red and yellow ochre, in chalky slices of lumps mixed ready for some long forgotten corroboree; glittering mounds of crab and mussel shells bleached white by sun and winds – are all that remain to record the passing of the original owners of this bushland. To anyone who troubles to read them, these mute records unfold a poignant story.

Michael Westaway made it his business to absorb just about every word Duncan-Kemp had published. The 52-year-old archaeologist reached out to Griffiths in 2017, keen to recruit him to what would become a multifaceted exploration of the region’s pre-colonial history. Supported and guided by Mithaka elders, field teams comprising dozens of scientists and support staff from three universities have been busy excavating sites and cataloguing native plants identified through her writings. What they found partly vindicates the Dark Emu ­theory that Aborigines developed village-like settlements and technology beyond that of ­nomadic hunter-gatherers. Westaway, however, stops short of Bruce Pascoe’s contentious conclusion that they were early agriculturalists who behaved much like subsistence farmers the world over to till the soil, sow crops, irrigate, and build dams and permanent stone homes, their lives rooted to a single spot.

The reality, he believes, was more nuanced. An ever-changing landscape, never far from those extremes of feast or famine, demanded mobility and quick-stepping adaptability for these people to survive, let alone thrive. In the absence of written records – rock art and artefacts such as stone tools or weapons can only say so much when there was no textual ­language, Westaway says – the observations of the explorers and first settlers are critical. Sadly, detailing their experiences, if any, with Indigenous populations wasn’t a priority for most of them. This is where Duncan-Kemp comes in. She grew up only a generation removed from the fraught contact period in the Channel Country, schooled by Mithaka teachers still steeped in the ancient ways. “She provided a ­diverse social history of these communities at a time when they were basically disintegrating, when all of this accumulated knowledge of the country, traditional practice and lore was being lost,” Westaway says. “You would never see any record of that in the archaeology alone; we could never hope to reconstruct it from the archaeology. So what we’ve done is go, ‘OK, Alice says people did this or that at a given place we can identify from her books’. We treat that as a hypothesis we can test – we go out on country and look for the proof. We’ve been doing this for seven years now and I feel we’re very much in the early stages. But … there’s nothing really that we’ve been able to detect to say that she was bullshitting. Nothing substantial at all.”

One eye-opening finding was that the ­Mithaka practised “industrial-scale mining” – Westaway’s words – for millstone. The quarry fields contained tens of thousands of pits, so vast their scope could only be seen with satellite imagery. The scale of the enterprise suggests the completed grindstones, typically weighing 6kg-7kg, and often elaborately carved, would have been traded up and down an Indigenous silk road tracking the great inland rivers. ­Nicotine-laced pituri leaf, prized for ceremonial use and as an everyday pick-me-up, was carried on human backs to destinations as far north as Arnhem Land and south to the red-rock Flinders Ranges. The footsore porters returned with rock axes, red ochre and razor-sharp stone knives.

Duncan-Kemp’s account of the Debney Peace is the only known record of the 1889 agreement to end the frontier war in the ­Channel Country. A ceremony to seal the deal brokered by George Debney, manager of ­Monkira station, was attended by more than 500 people from the local clans. ANU’s Tom Griffiths, who is writing a biography of ­Duncan-Kemp, says the colonial authorities kept the accord secret, probably to avoid having to acknowledge the standing it conferred on the Indigenous parties to the peace.

Clearly, Duncan-Kemp could not have been writing from first-hand knowledge. But her ­father kept a meticulous journal, which she had access to. (Griffiths believes the Debney Peace might have been one of the factors that drew William Duncan to Mooraberrie, after which he married Laura, the daughter of a ­Sydney ­solicitor. Her sister also wed a local grazier.) Duncan owned an impressive library filled with the books and journal articles of early Aboriginal anthropologists such as Walter Roth, one of the many unattributed sources Duncan-Kemp would later use and, in some cases, ­appropriate. This brings us to the thorny new question that hangs over her writing: how much of it was the work of others?

After the release of Our Sandhill Country, she struggled to find a publisher for the planned ­follow-up. In the event, life would have intruded on the busy young mother’s time: while she juggled family responsibilities with managing the cattle properties that she and Fred acquired, the 1930s devolved into the Great Depression and a Second World War. Her next book, Where Strange Paths Go Down, building on her experience of growing up with the Mithaka, didn’t come out until 1952, almost 20 years later. It was followed by Our Channel Country in 1961, Where Strange Gods Call in 1968 and People of the Grey Wind, published privately by the family after her death in 1988, a few months short of her 87th birthday.

The dismissive reviews continued. The commissioned historians of western Queensland’s Barcoo Shire scoffed that she had been “only a child or a very young woman” during the period she was writing of, and couldn’t possibly be taken seriously. It must have hurt. Yet Duncan-Kemp kept at it, typing and retyping drafts on her old Remington Rand.

More here


Previous Allegations of Plagiarism Against Harvard's President Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Just another lamebrain affirmative action beneficiary. Prominent Blacks seem to have a problem with plagiarism. Martin Luther King and Barack Obama did too

Harvard President Claudine Gay may have thought she was through the worst of the storm brought about by her disastrous testimony before House lawmakers in a hearing on antisemitic incidents on campuses and amid allegations of plagiarism in her scholarly work, but a new complaint is again casting doubt on her ability to continue leading the formerly great institution of higher education after Harvard Corporation released a statement standing by its embattled lead.

As it turns out, the previous claims of plagiarism by Gay may have been just the tip of the iceberg, and a new complaint received on Tuesday alleges a total of more than 40 cases of plagiarism in publications comprising "almost half of her scholarly output."

Our friends over at the Washington Free Beacon reviewed and independently verified the new complaint against President Gay, as well as the identity of the person who lodged the new allegations: "a professor at another university...who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation."

More from WFB's Aaron Sibarium:

The new allegations, which were submitted to Harvard's research integrity officer, Stacey Springs, include the examples reported by the Washington Free Beacon and other outlets, as well as dozens of additional cases in which Gay quoted or paraphrased authors without proper attribution, according to a copy of the complaint reviewed by the Free Beacon. They range from missing quotation marks around a few phrases or sentences to entire paragraphs lifted verbatim.

The full list of examples spans seven of Gay's publications—two more than previously reported—which comprise almost half of her scholarly output. Though the Harvard Corporation said earlier this month that it initiated an independent review Gay's work in October and found "no violation of Harvard's standards for research misconduct," that probe focused on just three papers.

"[I]t is impossible that your office has already reviewed the entirety of these materials," the complaint reads, "as many … have not been previously reported or submitted."

All allegations of faculty plagiarism must be reviewed by Harvard's research integrity officer, according to the school's official policies, and if deemed credible are referred for further investigation. A guilty finding can result in a range of consequences—including "suspension," "rank reduction," and "termination of employment."

The 37-page complaint can be viewed here and includes some eyebrow-raising allegations that were previously unreported, including one example that appears to show Gay plagiarizing language from someone else's dedication to use in her own dissertation's dedication.

Carol Swain, one of the scholars whose work was allegedly plagiarized by Gay and whose work is again referenced in the new complaint, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed after the initial round of allegations came to light that "[t]enure at a top-tier institution normally demands ground-breaking originality; her work displays none."

"Harvard can’t condemn Ms. Gay because she is the product of an elite system that holds minorities of high pedigree to a lower standard," Swain continued. "This harms academia as a whole, and it demeans Americans, of all races, who had to work for everything they earned."


Much to do before we close the gap

Australia's black/white achievement gap will NEVER be closed.  Tribal Aboriginals are just too diffeent to adopt a white lifestyle.  The nearest that was ever approaced was when missionaries managed the settlements.  It has all been downhill since then.  Being an old guy (aged 80) I have personally  known Aborigines from the pre- and post-missionary eras and the difference is striking

The very low average IQ of Aborigines was rigorously  established by McElwain and Kearney with the Queensland Test and IQ is a strong correlate of educational achievement.

In the aftermath of the divisive Voice referendum, advocates for both the Yes and No campaigns spoke about the need to continue to address the very real disadvantages faced by members of the Indigenous community.

It is important that the rejection of the constitutionally enshrined Indigenous advisory body was not seen as Australia turning its back on its first inhabitants, and is not used as an excuse to downgrade the importance of reconciliation.

The rejection of the Voice was more about the initial failure of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to explain his model, and the subsequent failure to convince a wary electorate that such a change should be constitutionally enshrined.

Thankfully, since 2008, Australia has had a mechanism to track efforts to reduce Indigenous disadvantage. The Closing the Gap strategy was introduced by prime minister Kevin Rudd’s government, in conjunction with his national apology for the forced removals of Indigenous children.

In his apology, Mr Rudd spoke of “a future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity”.

When expressed as pure data – life expectancy, education levels, incarceration – the gap was and is staggering. Targets have always been deliberately ambitious and as a result they are often missed.

The latest state government Closing the Gap report reveals we are likely to miss many major targets, but the one that has been met deserves to be celebrated.

Queensland set itself the goal of having 95 per cent of Indigenous children enrolled in preschool education by 2025. That has already been achieved, up from 82.2 per cent in 2016.

Hopefully, this one success will carry through to other targets.

At present, the following targets are on track – the proportion of Indigenous babies born with a healthy birth weight, the number of Indigenous adults in full-time employment, and increasing the total landmass controlled by Indigenous people.

However, the areas where we are lagging are shameful.

Life expectancy still lags behind the broader community – by 7.8 years for males and 6.8 for females.

Incarceration rates for adults are actually increasing, rising to 2047 per 100,000 in 2022 from 1815 per 100,000 in 2019, while the number of young people in detention has only decreased slightly.

Heartbreakingly, suicide rates are also increasing.

And year 12 or equivalent education, as well as tertiary education rates, continue to lag.

There are two things we must remember when dealing with such damning data.

Education is key. Once those targets are being met, others will inevitably follow suit over time.

And secondly, Closing the Gap is just data. It’s only through sensible policies that have the support of the broader community that this shame of Indigenous disadvantage will be erased.


New Qld premier chosen by a deal between unions

No voice for individual party members?  Democracy?  Leftist authoritarianism at work again.  Elite rule  is instinctive to them

A secretive industrial deal ­between two unions over ­government-funded infrastructure projects has installed Steven Miles as Queensland’s next Labor premier.

Just days after Annastacia Palaszczuk resigned, union powerbrokers were quick to stitch up a factional agreement that would secure Mr Miles’s accession to the top job and avoid a drawn out battle that would have followed a contest for the leadership.

Treasurer Cameron Dick and his 18-member Right faction threw their support behind Mr Miles after the deal was struck late on Monday night, cruelling chances of Health Minister Shannon Fentiman who declared her plans to run for the leadership just hours earlier.

Multiple sources briefed on the negotiations said the agreement between United Workers’ Union boss Gary Bullock and Australian Workers Union leader Stacey Schinnerl was centred on the government’s Best Practice Industry Conditions Policy, which forces unions and contractors to negotiate agreements on government-funded civil construction projects worth more than $100m.

Ms Schinnerl had been unsuccessfully lobbying the government for months, anxious the policy gave the militant construction union the CFMEU and its members an advantage in civil construction and road-building projects. Both unions have been battling for industrial coverage on the lucrative taxpayer-funded projects, which traditionally fell into the AWU’s jurisdiction.

Ms Schinnerl finally had the upper-hand when Mr Bullock had to rely on the Right faction as kingmaker to give Mr Miles the numbers in caucus.

According to sources briefed on the negotiations, Mr Bullock offered to relinquish the Left’s hold on the transport and main roads portfolio – currently held by controversy-prone Left minister Mark Bailey – to the Right.

Along with that, there were concessions to the AWU on the BPIC policy that would sideline the factionally unaligned CFMEU and potentially other non-UWU Left unions which had fallen behind Ms Fentiman, including her own AMWU, as well as the ETU.

An AWU spokesman said the union supported best-practice industry conditions for workers engaged in the civil construction industry, and “we have been constructively engaging with multiple government departments for years to get the best possible outcome for our members”.

“It’s time for our party to stick together and focus on winning the next election – the stakes are too high for working people for our movement to be divided,” the spokesman said.

The Australian has been told the deal was done before Mr Dick – who has always pushed back against union influence over the parliamentary Labor Party – was in the room. He was saddled with it, and then had to take it to a two-hour telephone hook-up of his Right faction MPs last night.

A deep reshuffle of cabinet is expected later this week, with Mark Bailey, Annastacia Palaszczuk and Stirling Hinchliffe to depart from the ministry, along with potentially more, including Craig Crawford and Mark Furner.


Australia: Final High School results 2023: Wake-up call for school leavers as the income gap between low and high achievers is revealed

This is an expected result but caution about causation is needed. School exam performance is highly correlated with IQ so the high ATAR scorers would be brighter -- and that alone tends to lead to economic success. ATAR scorres will mainly be an indicator, not a cause of future success

Students who achieve a high ATAR score will earn up to $33,000 more than their peers by the time they reach their 30s, new research has revealed.

The findings, unveiled during the week when year 12 students receive their ATAR scores, indicate a strong correlation between the attained ATAR level and income levels by the age of 30.

'Individuals with a higher ATAR are more likely to earn a higher income,' said Dr Silvia Griselda from e61 Institute, one of the authors of a new study said.

The e61 paper 'What's in an ATAR? How can university admission scores predict future income?' used data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that draws a link between income levels taken from tax returns and ATAR scores.

At the age of 30, Australians with an ATAR below 70 will have a median annual income of approximately $70,000 in 2022 dollars.

Those with an ATAR between 70 and 80 earn slightly above $75,000.

A score in the 80-90 range correlates with a median salary just surpassing $80,000.

For ATARs falling between 90 and 95, the median salary increases to nearly $90,000, while scores in the 95-98 range leads to a median salary of almost $95,000. ATARs exceeding 98 are linked to a median salary close to $105,000.

In comparison, 30-year-old Aussie workers without a degree earn a median salary of just under $60,000 a year.

The research found people who choose not to pursue a university education and enter the workforce directly from high school typically see an initial rise in income.

However, these advantages tend to diminish by the age of 25.

Dr Griselda said school-leavers who achieve a high ATAR often receive priority admission to esteemed academic programs, particularly in fields such as medicine, finance, and law, boosting their earning potential compared to their peers.

Analysis by the e61 Institute found those who got an ATAR score over 98 will earn a median salary of $33,000 more by age 30 than those with a score below 70

She also noted that the careers of high achievers also benefited from networks they gained through their parents and expensive schooling.

While the link between a high ATAR and a high income is unmistakable, it's important to note a considerable income variation within each ATAR band.

For example, among 30-year-olds with ATARs above 95, the top 10 per cent of earn annual income surpassing $156,000, whereas the bottom 10 per cent in that band earn less than $30,000 per year.

This income disparity is also notable among 30-year-old workers without university degrees. Despite having a median income just under $60,000, the top 10 per cent in this group earn over $115,000 each year.

It comes as 67,234 high school graduates received their HSC marks via text at 6am on Thursday morning, with ATAR results following at 9am.

Year 12 applications through the University Admissions Centre are currently at the lowest level in a decade as fewer school leavers pursue a degree.


UPenn president Liz Magill RESIGNS after disastrous anti-Semitism hearing where she refused to condemn campus protests calling for Jewish genocide

She just had no moral anchors: No instinct of horror at the truly horrible. She is an ethical vacuum

The president of the University of Pennsylvania has resigned from her post following fierce backlash to her controversial congressional testimony over antisemitism on campus.

Liz Magill, alongside the president's of Harvard and MIT, was summoned before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday by lawmakers concerned by reports of a rise in antisemitism at leading universities.

They faced heated questioning from committee chair Congresswoman Elise Stefanik but failed to assert that calls for genocide against Jews on campus would definitively constitute harassment.

Following international outcry, including more than 70 lawmakers calling for her resignation, Magill stood down on Saturday.

Pressure is now growing for the president's of Harvard and MIT whose testimony largely mirrored Magill's, with congresswoman Stefanik writing 'One down. Two to go' on X.

'This is only the very beginning of addressing the pervasive rot of antisemitism that has destroyed the most 'prestigious' higher education institutions in America' Stefanik wrote on Saturday evening.

Adding: 'Harvard and MIT, do the right thing. The world is watching.'

Just minutes after Magill's statement the chair of the Upenn's board of trustees, Scott Bok, also resigned.

Bok's Vice Chair, Julie Beren Platt, has been named interim chair of the board.

In a statement issued Saturday evening Magill wrote: 'It has been my privilege to serve as President of this remarkable institution.

'It has been an honor to work with our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to advance Penn's vital missions.'

In his own resignation statement Bok defended Magill as a 'good person' who is 'not the slightest bit anti-Semitic' but had made a 'misstep' after 'months of relentless external attacks.'

'Today, following the resignation of the University of Pennsylvania's President and related Board of Trustee meetings, I submitted my resignation as Chair of the University's Board of Trustees, effective immediately,' he said in a statement.

'While I was asked to remain in that role for the remainder of my term in order to help with the presidential transition, I concluded that, for me, now was the right time to depart.'

The hearing also saw widely criticized testimony from MIT president Sally Kornbluth

He acknowledged that Magill had made an error during her disastrous Congressional testimony and described it as a 'dreadful 30-second sound bite'.

Bok added: 'Former President Liz Magill last week made a very unfortunate misstep—consistent with that of two peer university leaders sitting alongside her—after five hours of aggressive questioning before a Congressional committee.

'Following that, it became clear that her position was no longer tenable, and she and I concurrently decided that it was time for her to exit.'

He wished Magill 'well in her future endeavors' and praised her as a 'good person and a talented leader who was beloved by her team'.

He continued: 'She is not the slightest bit anti-Semitic. Working with her was one of the great pleasures of my life.

'Worn down by months of relentless external attacks, she was not herself last Tuesday. 'Over prepared and over lawyered given the hostile forum and high stakes, she provided a legalistic answer to a moral question, and that was wrong.'

Magill was slammed for her testimony, in which she said that reprimanding students who call for a Jewish genocide was not paramount - but 'context' specific.

She was asked a 'yes or no' question on whether calls for the genocide of Jews counted as hate speech, and repeatedly said it depended on the context.

On Wednesday she attempted to clarify her comments, but the damage was done: a wealthy alumnus withdrew a $100 million donation, and her remarks were roundly condemned by the ADL, the White House and politicians across the board.

Magill issued a groveling video statement attempting to explain her failure to condemn calls for the genocide of Jewish people on campuses.

She said she was not 'focused' on the issue, and said she wanted to 'be clear' that calls for genocide were 'evil, plain and simple' - although she said the blame lay with her university's policies and the constitution, rather than with her.

Magill said: 'There was a moment during yesterday's Congressional hearing on antisemitism when I was asked if a call for the genocide of Jewish people on our campus would violate our policies.

'In that moment, I was focused on our university's long-standing policies - aligned with the U.S. Constitution - which say that speech alone is not punishable.


The enduring relevance of natural law

The lawyers below are undoubtedly correct in saying that concepts of natural law have been very valuable in restraining tyranny. They do not however attempt to answer the basic philosophical conundrum involved: How do we know what the natural law is? If there are two claims about what the natural law is, how do we decide which one is right? The answer has to be abitrary. So concepts of natural law may be useful but they are not authoritative

It is impossible to understate the malaise that has engulfed Australia in 2023. Indeed, it has been a tumultuous year because, economically, Australians have suffered from spiralling inflation, deteriorating living standards, and elevated levels of unsustained immigration with its concomitant housing problems. In addition, governments (federal, state, and local) have sought – unsuccessfully – to divide the population along racial lines by entrenching The Voice in the Constitution, and by adopting social engineering legislation that is inimical with human nature and plain common sense. Such legislation includes, but is not limited to, the prohibition of gender-affirming conversion practices; the adoption of gender identification laws that facilitate transitioning to a gender, different from a person’s biological gender; inability or unwillingness of politicians to define a ‘woman’; unrelenting pressure to ban religion from the public forum; the adoption of free speech unfriendly legislation such as the proposed law to compel internet providers to police speech on their platforms; and, of course, the unrelenting zero emissions pursuit and the silencing of those who are climate sceptics. Really, the list of legislative abominations is unending.

Although these developments appear to be disparate projects, they do have one thing in common: they are all based on the assumption that humans possess the power to change ‘human nature’ developed over millennia. However, this assumption fails to recognise that the arrogation by social engineers and left-wing ideologues of God-like powers is futile. For example, how feasible is it for humans to transition to another gender? How could humanity hope to control the temperature on Planet Earth? And yet, Australia’s illiberal elites push their social engineering reform agenda without ever considering the natural limitations dictated by human nature.

The transgressions of Australia’s illiberal elite, to the extent they are incompatible with human nature, have resulted in a discernible deterioration of the nation’s fabric. This deterioration is visible in the fracturing of society into those who still believe in the proper role of humans, and those who usurp God-like powers. Although proponents of these transgressions may have been well-intentioned, the sustained and ongoing attacks on the integrity and cohesiveness of Australian society have blighted the nation and transformed Australia into ‘the unlucky country’ – which is also the title of our forthcoming book about Australia’s transformation from a ‘lucky country’ into an ‘unlucky country’.

The cumulative effect of the promotion and imposition of illiberal societal developments that disregards ‘human nature’ has been the growing disrespect for, and even repudiation of, the continuing importance of ‘natural law’ for a mature legal system. It is simply impossible to deny or underestimate the enduring relevance of natural law in the development of our legal system. This idea of natural law, which can be traced to the classical philosophy of the ancient Hebrew, Greeks, and Romans, through several Christian medieval writers, is enshrined, inter alia, in the English Magna Carta (1215), the UK Bill of Rights (1689), and the American Declaration of Independence (1776). People’s natural human rights, which derive from human nature, have thus a historical foundation, which has never been refuted, although it has been obscured in the passage of time.

Unfortunately, the principles underlying natural law, have been seriously undermined by the arbitrary actions of governments. During the last four years – but culminating in a turbulent 2023 – Australian governments have exerted powers over its citizens on a scale never previously attempted. Sometimes, especially during the Covid pandemic, governments oppressively controlled every single aspect of people’s lives: where they could go, whom they could meet, what they could do, even within their own homes. These intrusive measures created angst and discomfort among a compliant population, and it has done irreparable damage to Australia’s fabric.

Hence, the question is: what could be done to fight, or even to reverse, this inexorable slide into a Marxism-inspired leftist abyss that disregards ‘human nature’ and ‘common sense’?

The fundamental error of Marxist-inspired ideas is anthropological in nature. Personal freedom which detaches itself from objective standards, and consequently the moral duty to respect the basic rights of others, becomes narcissistic behaviour that is now carried to its illogical extreme; an autonomous form of ‘license’ that leads to unbridled self-affirmation and refuses to be limited by any requirement of the natural moral law.

There is no point looking to the legislative branch of government to seek relief from the oppressive and inexorable trend towards the defenestration of ‘human nature’. Instead, we need to rely on ‘common sense’ to protect humankind against the barbaric assault on our Western Civilisation. Some scholars argue that this fight-back requires a return to ‘natural law’ theory. However, it is challenging to rely on ‘natural law’ because our legal landscape is dominated by positivism as the prevailing legal philosophy. Although the rejuvenation of ‘natural law’ still offers the best prospect to successfully fight the present legislative abominations, it would certainly raise intractable questions regarding the origin of its basic legal principles (God-given or historically developed?). But, at least, it would make people reflect on ‘human nature’ and acknowledge its obvious limitations.

While the idea of natural law implies that the validity of law depends on its moral status, positivists claim that the main factor in determining the validity of law is whether the proper authority enacts such law. Positivists do not regard the immorality of a law as essentially relevant to its validity. According to the ‘Father of English Positivism’, John Austin, ‘The existence of law is one thing, its merit or demerit another.’

The revival of ‘natural law’ has been inspired by the views of Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke, who in Dr. Bonham’s case, decided in 1608, said that, if legislation is ‘against common right and reason, or repugnant, or impossible to be performed, the common law will control it and adjudge such act to be void’.

Coke’s statement implies that it is problematic to consider legislation, regardless of whether it offends ‘common right and reason’, as the final arbiter of what people are allowed to do. This is because legislation that violates Australia’s natural law tradition often offends against rights that are deemed to be ‘inalienable.’ This view seems to have been accepted by some members of the High Court. For example, in Re Bolton; Ex Parte Beane, Justice Brennan admitted, ‘Many of our fundamental freedoms are guaranteed by ancient principles of the common law or by ancient statutes which are so much of the accepted constitutional framework that their terms, if not their very existence may be overlooked until a case arises which evokes their contemporary and undiminished force.’ Justice Deane agreed with Brennan’s sentiment when he stated that these principles ‘are the fabric of the freedom under the law, which is the prima facie right of every citizen in this land. They represent a bulwark against tyranny’.

Often, social engineering legislation excessively interferes with the life, liberty, and property of the citizen. For example, emergency powers – eagerly adopted by Australian politicians during the Covid pandemic – imposed extra-constitutional measures that undermined the principles of equality before the law and the right of citizens to object to any form of medical treatment, including vaccine mandates. This imposition constituted a gross violation of the natural law, the ultimate goal of which is to protect citizens against the power of the State.

As noted by Joseph F. Johnston, Jr. in an article entitled Natural Law and the Rule of Law, ‘Many if not all of the basic principles that we usually include under the rubric ‘rule of law’ can be derived directly or indirectly from natural law sources.’ He bemoans the fact that ‘the connection between natural law and the rule of law, which formerly was so close as to amount to virtual identity, is largely neglected by the law schools and the legal profession’. First coined by Plato and later refined by Aristotle, the concept of the ‘rule of law’ was further elaborated by St Thomas Aquinas, who stated: ‘Once the government is established, the government of the kingdom must be so arranged that opportunity to tyrannize be removed. At the same time, his power should be so tempered that he cannot easily fall into tyranny.’ According to the late American legal philosopher Charles Rice, who taught at the University of Notre Dame, ‘Aquinas’ analysis is a prescription for limited government, providing a rational basis on which to affirm that there are limits to what the state can rightly do.’ His insistence that the power of the human law be limited implies a right of the person not to be subjected to an unjust law.

It is difficult therefore to estimate the extent to which our legal and political systems developed as a result of the use of such concepts as ‘natural law’, ‘natural rights’, and ‘the rule of law’. These concepts are inextricably connected to a particular way of thinking about law that, according to Justice Clarence Thomas of the US Supreme Court, is ‘far from being a license for unlimited government and a roving judiciary. Rather, natural rights and higher law arguments are the best defense of liberty and of limited government’. To ignore this fact results in a diminished understanding of the rule of law and principles that underpin it. Australians continue to do so entirely at their peril.


Diagnosis list for NDIS to be scrapped under five-year reboot plan

This sounds reasonable. "Autism" covers a wide spectum of disorders, with many manageable by the person afflicted. Taxpayer support should only be offered if the person's health is endangered

The list of medical diagnoses that guarantees access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme would be scrapped within five years under a set of reforms that seeks to ease pressure on the $42 billion scheme so that it does not buckle under its own weight.

It means a diagnosis of autism alone would no longer be enough for children to access individual support packages through the NDIS, which has become one of the scheme’s greatest pressure points.

More than 2.5 million Australians with a disability – including children with mild autism and developmental concerns – would instead receive services under a new system called “foundational supports” that will be established under a fresh agreement between state and federal governments so that the NDIS is no longer Australians’ only source of disability support.

That new layer of services will include home and community care supports, aids and equipment, early childhood support, psychosocial services, and help for adolescents and young adults – services that the reviewers do not think need to be delivered through individual NDIS packages.

The independent recommendations from scheme architect Bruce Bonyhady and former education department head Lisa Paul, published on Thursday, aim to improve people’s experiences of the NDIS while dampening its growth trajectory so that it does not blow out to $100 billion within a decade.

A new electronic payment system would help the government track who was getting paid for what – and more easily pick up fraud or overcharging – while providers would have to register under a new regulatory system.

A new role of “navigator” would be created to help connect people to the right services in an attempt to improve accessibility. The NDIS would also cover the cost of people’s application assessments, so they would not have to pay out-of-pocket.

But a significant piece of reform will be supporting children, who currently make up half of NDIS participants, outside the scheme by delivering stronger support in schools and childcare centres – places the reviewers say are more appropriate than clinical settings.

Access criteria will also be tightened to make sure the scheme is used most by Australians with significant and permanent disabilities.

Thousands of NDIS participants – in particular, children with autism level two or above – currently receive automatic access to the scheme through its diagnosis list, and remain on it for years.

“These lists were introduced during transition to the full scheme to accelerate access for some people... However, they have led to a focus on medical diagnosis rather than function and disability-related support needs,” the reviewers said.

“These lists can provide simple and transparent access to the scheme for some children. However, they also exacerbate inequity and delay support for children with similar levels of need who may not have a diagnosis on an access list, or lack the means to obtain a diagnosis if they don’t meet the age criteria for developmental delay.

“We recommend removing automatic access under the access lists.”

The reviewers said access to the NDIS should be based on the impact disability had on a person’s day-to-day life.

“It should not be based on a medical diagnosis alone or just your primary diagnosis... A focus on functional impairment will enable multiple disabilities to be considered - which when taken together, result in significant functional impairment.”

They said definitions in the NDIS legislation should be reset to link eligibility to the outcomes of a functional assessment process that can measure the impact of impairment and compare it to others.

“Reasonable and necessary” supports – another vague term that has created confusion in the NDIS legislation – would also be redefined, with people’s budgets instead based on a structured needs assessment.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday said enabling legislation would be introduced in the first half of next year, with phased in implementation.

Bonyhady and Paul said they wanted all Australians with disability to have better access to mainstream services as well as the new foundational supports within five years.

Participants would have two years before they were asked to meet any new access requirements, while children under seven should be able to stay on the scheme until they turn nine.

“Our recommendations will support more children in existing services, such as maternal and child health, integrated child and family centres, early childhood education and schools – reducing the need for families to access the NDIS and leading to better long-term outcomes for children,” the review said.

“Children with higher support needs would get additional, individualised support through the NDIS via an early intervention pathway.”

NDIS Minister Bill Shorten will address the recommendations at the National Press Club on Thursday.


Conservative revolution in New Zealand

New Zealand has a track record for this. After leftism gets destructive enough, conservatism comes back with a rush. The Lange/Douglas government in the 1980s was very capitalist. Roger Douglas abolished whole government departments

It took 40 days for a three-party coalition to form government in New Zealand but, now that it has arrived, it’s not wasting any time in unwinding many of the progressive policies of its former leader, Jacinda Ardern.

The three-party coalition of NZ National Party, ACT New Zealand and NZ First has committed to reverse a number of key Labour policies that made headlines around the world during Ardern’s 5½ years in charge.

The new government – a coalition between centre-right National, libertarians ACT and populists NZ First – has already made global headlines for abandoning world-leading smoke-free laws. But changes are also coming to electric vehicles, sex education and hard-fought gains for the Maori community.

The new coalition is the most reactionary government Mark Boyd, a political researcher at Auckland University, has seen during his 40 years covering New Zealand politics. He said the vast majority of the policies announced by the government are taking things “back to the way they were” before Ardern’s election in 2018.

“By reactionary, what I really mean is reacting to Labour: they have very few policies, they just want to roll back what Labour have done,” he said.

“If you argue that the government of the last six years was more ‘woke’ or ‘radical’ and the previous was more conservative – its like: ‘take us back’. Not to the ’50s, like Donald Trump wants to do in America – but it’s almost like there’s a nostalgia for the [John] Key years, which was only six years ago.”

World-first smoking ban

Late last month, the government announced it would roll back a landmark smoking policy that banned the sale of tobacco to anyone born after 2009. That ban was among a raft anti-smoking measures that also included reducing the amount of nicotine allowed in smoked tobacco products and cutting the number of retailers able to sell tobacco by over 90 per cent.

They marked some of the toughest anti-tobacco rules in the world. A ban on smoking for future generations was subsequently proposed in the United Kingdom, with other countries also considering similar rules.

But axing the world-leading legislation was among the 49 priorities listed by Prime Minister Chris Luxon’s first 100 days.

“A 36-year-old can smoke, but a 35-year-old can’t? ... That doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he said when asked about the decision.

The ACT party, then represented by sole MP David Seymour, was the only party to oppose Ardern’s gun law reform in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosques massacre.

Now, with ACT part of the governing coalition, (with Seymour to become deputy prime minister halfway through the term as part of their agreement), it has won several concessions from the National Party to deregulate firearms. This includes rewriting the Arms Act and go to a “graduated system not unlike the way you get a driver’s licence”, according to Seymour.

A legally binding target to lower New Zealand’s jail population is also being abandoned. Labour had pitched the policy during its ill-fated campaign, but new policing minster Mark Mitchell says the policy was focused on “emptying out New Zealand’s prisons rather than trying to reduce crime”.

Incumbent Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has conceded defeat to Christopher Luxon in a decisive election victory as Kiwis vote for a change after six years of a liberal government.

The deputy political editor of the New Zealand Herald, Thomas Coughlan, said the recent election result was more about the Labour government being “voted out more than the new government was voted in”.

“It’s very difficult to say this is the policy agenda that people wanted,” Coughlan said. “There was certainly a sense under Labour the pace of change was too fast but the new government, and particularly some on the coalition’s fringe, has perhaps misinterpreted that as a desire for rolling back those changes rather than just slowing them up.”

The new government has also vowed to rebrand dozens of government departments that use Maori names, which could reportedly cost millions of dollars, a move quickly adopted and rolled out by Labour.

“Under Labour there was an explosion of new departments and agencies and they usually had a Maori name first and English second, if they even did [have English] at all,” Coughlan said.

“It seemed like that was a straw that broke the camel’s back. The last 20 years, the use of Maori language has been widespread, no reaction to it – all of a sudden over the last couple of years the reaction has exploded.”

The new government’s Indigenous policies saw thousands of protesters rally this week as the parliament convened for the first time since the October election.

Organised by the Maori Party, its co-leader Rawiri Waititi said the new policies of Luxon’s administration would take New Zealand “back to the 1800s”.

The most controversial aspect would introduce a bill that reinterprets the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi – the country’s founding document – which outline the need for the government to partner with Maori, protect Maori resources and address the impact of colonisation.

Sex education

Also included in the new government’s agenda was the move to scrap gender and sexuality education, known locally as RSE.

The pledge to “refocus the curriculum on academic achievement and not ideology, including the removal and replacement of the gender, sexuality, and relationship-based education guidelines” is one that has drawn particular outrage.

“My initial reaction was dismay,” education union NZEI president Mark Potter, a Wellington-based primary school teacher, told AAP. “The one thing our children don’t need is less education in the area of relationships and health.”

The inclusion of the clause to scrap gender and sexuality education in the coalition deals caught the eye because the issue did not feature in the election campaign.

Electric Vehicles

Labour’s incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – which offered rebates of up to $NZ7015 ($6500) for electric vehicles and slapped $NZ6900 fees on high-emissions vehicles – are gone.

The coalition parties had framed the legislation as unfairly targeting farmers and tradies and successfully relabelled the policy as the “ute tax”. Scrapped too are plans to install 10,000 new electric vehicle charges across New Zealand.

Work has stopped too on the Auckland Light Rail, an embattled project that was intended to have already been completed but was labelled “a white elephant” by Luxon during his election campaign.

The changes represent a return to an earlier status quo. Like many other democracies, through, controversy frequently centres on cultural issues. The uptick in Maori names for government departments under Labour, for example, has topped the incoming government’s agenda.

“That’s one of the areas where the pace of change was a bit fast for people,” Coughlan said.


Men marrying or having children with younger women is a big 2023 trend

Mary Madigan, writing below, could be condemned as "ageist" but she is one of many women who are censorious about older men who team up with young women. I am something of a sinner in that regard. I have a female friend (NOT a partner) whom I see a lot of who is 35. I am 80. So I see another side of the picture.

You CAN be geninely non-ageist. As an example, I once married a lovely lady who was 11 years OLDER than I was. I was 32, she was 43. A photo of her from our honeymoon below.

image from

A huge factor in pairing is common attitudes and it would be very shallow to claim that all attitudes are wholly age related. I shared a lot of attitudes with my older wife and I share a lot with my younger friend.

There are undoubtedly a variety of influences on attitudes that are not tied to age but a big one is IQ. I am a certified high IQ person and ALL my ladies have also been pretty bright. A high IQ does cause you to see the world a lot differently and it can be very pleasing to find someone else who shares such perspectives. It can be quite a relief

I am certainly not claiming that all age imbalanced relationships are between high IQ people but it an example of something important and unifying that is not age-related.

Micro miniskirts, baggy jeans, and old men marrying or having children with women far younger than them are the most significant trends 2023.

The tiny skirts that are impossible to walk upstairs in without flashing someone and the baggy jeans that sit awkwardly on anyone with hips are things we can all learn to accept.

The famous men in droves hooking up with women half their age need to be stopped and rejected like a pair of skinny jeans being ignored in your wardrobe.

A huge number of men have partnered up with women young enough to be their daughters this year … or at the very least they look like their daughters.

Actor Al Pacino, 82, welcomed a fourth child with his 29-year-old girlfriend Noor Alfallah and acclaimed actor Robert DeNiro, 80, had a daughter with Tiffany Chen, 45.

Actor Rufus Swell, 54, got engaged to Vivian Benitez, 26 and here’s a fun fact: Swell’s 21-year-old son is closer in age to Benitez than he is.

If that wasn’t enough to confirm, there’s a real ancient man trend suddenly taking over the world with the same rapid succession that Paris Hilton did in the early 2000s.

Early 2000s comedian Dane Cook, 51, married his fiancee, Kelsi Taylor, 24, and Leonardo DiCaprio, 48, has kept his streak of never dating a woman over the age of 26 and has been spotted with Vittoria Ceretti, 25.

Something is unnerving about seeing a man date a woman that is young enough to be his daughter.

Usually, that kind of relationship seems to provoke a mass eye roll, but seeing it become so trendy in 2023 is just depressing.

I’m no relationship expert and have the blocked numbers to prove it, but I think the best romantic partnerships are formed on equal footing.

When you’re both in similar life positions, when you create a life together as a team and when you enter the relationship in equally powerful positions.

You want to meet someone you can build a life with …. Not end up with some man at the end of his life, where you have to fit into whatever world they’ve already created for themselves.

Sure, there’s a case to be made that age is just a number, but is it? I think the older you get, the more you realise age does matter.

Age gives you experience, your Medicare card, time to feel confident in yourself and time to know yourself.

You get old enough to realise that a tattoo in a language you can’t read isn’t clever and sophisticated but rather a bit trashy.

Eventually, you work out your Mum was right, and people don’t tell you how much they love you via some cute text messages; they show you by actually turning up to help you move house.

Maybe these men just happen to find their soulmates in women half their age … but have you ever met anyone half your age and thought … wow we really connect? No.

At best you have a laugh at worse you have to google the word “slay” afterwards, so you can understand what they were saying.

The dating younger women trend is born from the concept of men wanting not to find equal partners but women to pamper them, and the last thing we need to be doing in 2023 is pampering more powerful white men.


Donald Day Jr has been arrested in connection with the Wieambilla terror attack. Here's what we know

The religious aspect of this matter is interesting.  Chiliastic religions are as old as the hills.  Dire prophecies were widely made throughout Europe concerning the approach of the year ONE thousand.  Modern day chiliatic religions best known are the Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah's witnesses.  They both believe that Christ will return in glory SOON to put the world to rights. 

But followers of such religions are usually pacifist if anything, not violent.  So the Wieambilla cultists were unusual.  Their difference seemed to revolve around a suspicion of all governments as oppressive, with a concomitant right to "strike back" at oppressive authorities.  That is not without scriptural warrant. Christ said:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household” (Matthew 10:34-36).

And from a conservative viewpoint it can indeed be said that we have a lot of oppression from governments these days.  We are probably fortunate that the conservative view does not usually ally with chiliastic beliefs  Wieambilla shows that that can be a very deadly alliance

An Arizonan extremist linked to the Wieambilla attack was a figure in the shooters' lives for more than two years before they murdered three people, a police investigation has revealed.

Donald Day Jr, 58, was arrested at Heber-Overgaard near Phoenix on December 1 and indicted on two charges. One relates to inciting violence online several days after the 2022 shooting in rural Queensland.

Constables Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold, and neighbour Alan Dare, were killed on December 12, in what police have described as a religiously-motivated terrorist attack.

The shooters — Stacey, Gareth and Nathaniel Train — also died.

Police said the Trains subscribed to a broad Christian fundamentalist belief system known as premillennialism.

Their online activity has been a key part of the investigation.

How was Donald Day Jr connected to the Trains?

Police said Gareth Train began following Mr Day's YouTube account in May 2020. A year later, the men began commenting on one another's videos.

"We have evidence to show the Trains subsequently accessed an older YouTube account created by the same man in 2014, and viewed that content," Queensland Police Service (QPS) Assistant Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon said at a joint press conference with the FBI on Wednesday.

Between May 2021 and the month of the attack, Mr Day "repeatedly" sent the Trains what police have described as "Christian, end-of-days ideological messages".

"The man repeatedly sent messages … to Gareth, and then later to Stacey," Assistant Commissioner Scanlon said.

What is he accused of doing?

Documents released by the US District Court in Arizona outline two charges against Mr Day.

Only the first charge is connected to the Wieambilla shooting. The second charge concerns an unrelated threat made to the head of the World Health Organization.

The first charge centres on a YouTube video that Mr Day allegedly posted on December 16 – four days after the shooting.

The video was titled 'Daniel and Jane'. These were pseudonyms used by Gareth and Stacey Train on YouTube, according to the court documents.

In the video, Mr Day allegedly said:

"It breaks my f***ing heart that there's nothing that I can do to help them. These are a people that are not armed, as we are in America, that at least have that one resort to fight against f***ing tyrants in this country. And here, my brave brother and sister, a son and a daughter of the Most High have done exactly what they were supposed to do, and that is to kill these f***ing devils."

He allegedly went on to say:

"Like my brother Daniel, like my sister Jane, it is no different for us. The devils come for us, they f***ing die. It's just that simple. We are free people, we are owned by no-one."

Prosecutors allege that last comment was a threat of violence towards any law enforcement officials who could come to Mr Day's home.

Assistant Commissioner Scanlon said evidence had been seized from a remote property about 30 kilometres north of Heber-Overgaard and was being analysed by the FBI.

"QPS will make formal requests to the FBI for any evidential material removed from the Arizona property for analysis," she said.