Category Archives: Greens
by Don Aitkin
I have written a couple of times about Peter Ridd, here and here. Professor Ridd, a well-published academic whose fields of research include coastal oceanography, reef systems and peer review, has been for ten years the Head of the School of Physics at James Cook University (JCU). When he drew attention to what he saw as exaggerations in the way fellow academics at his university were describing the condition of the Great Barrier Reef he was ‘disciplined’ by JCU, told that he was being uncollegial, and that if he did it again he would be charged with serious misconduct. He subsequently wrote to me about this matter, and that email was seen by the University to be a further sign of misconduct. Professor Ridd decided that he had enough, and launched a legal suit against the University, claiming conflict of interest and bias. The conflict of interest might arise because the Vice-Chancellor of the University is also a director of the Australian Institute for Marine Science, some of whose work Professor Ridd had criticised. He has since withdrawn that part of his suit addressing possible bias on the part of the Vice-Chancellor of the University.
Professor Ridd has now been sacked. Not many professors in Australian universities have ever been fired, and sacking should require some extraordinary misbehaviour on the part of the professor. Professor Ridd is not accepting his sacking quietly, and has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars within a week through crowd-funding. There is going to be a court case.
This is a sad event in Australian higher education, for all sorts of reasons, and at its heart is the working of a new and most important engine in academe. In 1990 I gave an address in England, subsequently published in both the UK and Australia, deploring the extent to which research had become the be-all and end-all of appointment, promotion and honour in our universities. That trend has continued, despite the awards for good teaching, which did not exist when I gave that address.
The engine works this way. There is strong pressure on all academics to bring in research grant money for the department, the faculty and university. Those who do it well find their careers advancing quickly. To assist them there are media sections in universities whose job it is to frame the research work of academics in a way that will gain the attention of the media. Such media releases will come with as arresting a headline as the media section can devise. Buzzwords like ‘breakthrough’, ‘crucial’, ‘cutting edge’ and ‘revolution’ will be used. If possible, the staff members will appear on television, with the accompaniment of familiar stock images of laboratories and machines. The staff members will also be aware (or made aware) of the opportunity they have to advance their careers and names through writing another version of their published journal article for The Conversation, a website in which academics can write in more accessible language for an inquiring lay readership. Free from the requirements of journal house-rules, the staff members will be able to lard up their findings, call for urgency in funding and, where that is apposite, demand political attention. The output of the engine is heightened recognition of the name of the university, the academics and their area, and of course the likely prospect of more research money. All those in the engine-room think that they are just doing their jobs. The engine did not exist thirty years ago.
None of this is much of a problem in the more recondite areas of academic research, string theory in physics, for example, or advanced econometrics in the social sciences. But it is a problem, and a rapidly growing one, in areas of research where what is actually the case is contested vigorously by others. An eye has to be kept on the source of the money going to higher education research, which in our country is overwhelmingly the Australian Government. In 2014, not quite four billion dollars was available within the higher education system for research, all of it from the Commonwealth. In addition universities made another billion or thereabouts from consultancy and research for other funders. That is a lot of money. As the last Chairman of the Australian Research Grants Committee in 1987 I had a little over $30 million to parcel out. The engine has been most effective.
In the last forty years governments have become interested in universities’ finding academic support for what they are proposing or have in place. We are in an era of ‘policy-based evidence’. We are also in an era of a particular political correctness, where it is very difficult indeed to get funds for research if the purpose of the research seems antithetical to current government policy. ‘Curiosity-directed research’ now comes with some serious barriers. Nowhere is this situation clearer than in the case of research on the Great Barrier Reef, in which Professor Ridd has been involved. A bucket-load of money has been devoted to ‘the Reef’, and another half-billion was forecast in the recent Budget, some of which will doubtless go the James Cook University, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. The Reef, as is frequently said, is an Australian ‘icon’. An icon is a religious object. Professor Ridd is a scientist, not a priest.
To have people like Professor Ridd decrying the hyperbole with which some research has been couched could imperil future grant money (notwithstanding the recent half-billion), and it would be understandable if academics within JCU have appealed to their Vice-Chancellor to shut Professor Ridd up. Something like this was presumably the reason the late Professor Bob Carter, an internationally distinguished geologist at JCU, was stripped of his adjunct status (which meant he could not use the University Library’s resources, a real penalty). Carter, like Ridd, was concerned to point to the errors of balance and rigour in research and publication on the reef.
There is no likely good outcome from this legal battle. Early on I wrote to the JCU Vice-Chancellor to suggest that she move to settle the issues quickly and away from the court. JCU’s reputation can only worsen as the trial continues, while Professor Ridd will spend his entire time raising money and defending his position. In the meantime his students and colleagues have lost a fine teacher and colleague.
And who is giving attention to the engine, let alone to the engine-room? So far, the major players have remained silent. The Minister, Simon Birmingham, has said nothing, Universities Australia likewise, the NTEU likewise (though it did come to the defence of another professor a few years ago, forced out on what a judge described as a sham redundancy claim). Sacking senior staff who have tried to point out that all is not right with the world is a singular matter, one which, if it passes without comment, can only lead other universities to try and get rid of their own ‘trouble-makers’ the same way. The ability of academics to speak up and out has been one of the universities’ great virtues for at least the last hundred years. They used to be proud of it, too. What is happening at JCU is deeply disturbing to those who value freedom of speech and justified criticism. As the Popper quote at the head of my website reminds us, we learn through disagreement.
by Viv Forbes Science Writer
Earth is a dangerous place. Of all the species that have ever lived, over 95% have already been extinguished by natural disasters.
Ice, not global warming, is the big killer and this recurring calamity often strikes quickly. Thousands of mammoths and other animals were killed by ice storms and their snap-frozen bodies are still entombed in ice around the Arctic. Just 15,000 years ago great ice sheets smothered the northern hemisphere as far south as Chicago, Moscow and London and all life had migrated towards the equator. This deadly ice had gripped Earth for about 50,000 years.
Ice ages are also times of dry winds and drought as cold oceans and cold dry atmospheres produce little evaporation or precipitation. Great deserts like the Sahara and the Gobi expand, and wind-blown dust fills the skies and rivers.
Adding to Ice Age woes, cold oceans suck the gas of life (carbon dioxide) out of the atmosphere, thus making surviving plants less able to cope with cold and drought. One of the great serendipities of modern life is that man’s use of carbon-rich fuels like oil and coal not only provides energy but also adds carbon dioxide plant food to the severely depleted carbon stocks of the atmosphere. Satellites have detected the resultant greening of the Earth.
Earth also suffers cycles of volcanism where much life is extinguished by ash, lava, earthquakes and tsunamis, usually followed by more cold and starvation as dust blocks sunlight. Just one era of volcanism covered the Deccan in India with many lava flows in places more than 2 km thick and spewed hot lava into the oceans along the mid-ocean trenches. Earthquakes and resulting tsunamis swept all life from large areas of land and dumped and buried their fragmented remains in heaps of mud.
We also have evidence of massive destruction on Earth from collisions and near misses by comets and other bodies in the solar system.
Humans are not immune to the threat of extinction, but it will not come from today’s warm, moist, atmosphere or from the gas of life, carbon dioxide. It will probably come from the next glacial cycle in the Pleistocene Ice age, where long bitter glacial eras are separated by short warm periods such as the Holocene warm era in which we live.
In every short warm era like today’s Holocene, the warming oceans expel enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to terrify today’s global warming alarmists. And these times have always supported abundant plant and animal life. But never has “global warming” from this “greenhouse gas” prevented the cyclic return of the ice.
When blizzards blow and glaciers grow, the great ice sheets will spread again and mankind will be decimated by cold, drought, crop failures and starvation. A lucky few living in equatorial regions or clustered in shelters and hot houses around nuclear power stations will survive. Those still able to extract coal, oil or gas may manage to generate enough warmth and carbon dioxide plant food to offset the cold sun, the perma-frost and the barren atmosphere. And a few with appropriate skills and tools may become hunters and gatherers again (but the Neanderthals did not make it last time).
We should celebrate, not fear, the Modern Warm Era and give thanks for the many benefits gained from recycling those marvellous batteries of stored and buried carbon resources to our still-hungry biosphere.
When the ice returns, derelict and snow-bound wind turbines and solar panels will remain as stark evidence of the failed Green religion of yet another endangered species.
“The Positive Impact of Human CO2 emissions on the Survival of life on Earth”.
“The Planet of Death: 10 of Earth’s Worst Extinction Events”:
No Evidence of Unusual Global Warming:
The Tasmanian Liberal Party has won another four-year term, holding government after Saturday’s election.
The best news emanating post-election is the stunning loss of two Greens seats, leaving a lone member. Greens leader of herself, Cassy O’Connor is a racist zealot and after hearing her losing speech on Saturday night, one could be forgiven for thinking she is a few sheep short in the pen.
O’Connor, resplendent with arm tattoos looking like a spokesman for the local chapter of Hells Angels, moaned-on how she wanted to give all of Tasmania to the blackfellas. Poor blackfella me was the gist of her tirade, after which she attracted three clappers from the mildly attentive Greens throng assembled at the electoral commission headquarters.
Miss O’Connor probably doesn’t know that Trugannini was the last, real indigenous woman to live in Tasmania. She died in 1876. There have been a few imposters and interlopers since but history has it; there were no Tasmanian blackfellas alive after 1876.
Like all of Miss O’Connor’s diatribe, this part remains a mystery as to which blackfellas she wanted to give Tasmania.
Predictably, after losing 28 straight opinion polls embattled Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has claimed some of the credit.
He has to gain some accolades from somewhere, self-aggrandisement or not.
Not all election analysists have lost sight of the bolstering effect of the shooter’s vote which gave the Liberals victory.
Two days before the election a smart operator dropped a grenade; the Libs would overhaul the ineffective and costly gun laws adopted by the apple isle after Martin Bryant was framed for the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.
The mainland Liberals and Labor had better take a lesson from this most astute Premier and the gun lobby. Will Hodgman is a presentable, seemingly honest and smart politician the likes of which are sadly lacking in every other state.
We won’t go near federal parliament.
The rest is history.
Letter to the Editor
Richard0 Luiji Di Natale . The Greens party leader who loves to tell us Aussies that we live on stolen land and our nation isn’t legitimate and that we should give it all back to the aborigines.
Richard0 Luiji Di Natale. The son of Italian immigrants. That right. His parents fought against us during the war. No one in his family fought or died for the country he is critical of while he is taking advantage of it.
Richard0 Luiji Di Natale. The Greens party leader who despises Australians. In particular white Australians and in particular wealthy and middle class Australians and would happily rid the average Aussie family of their privately owned 474 to 665 square meters of “stolen land”.
Owns a 50 acres of “stolen land” in Victoria’s Otway Ranges . Not only does he own it. He failed to declare that he owned it when he entered politics. And he is required by law to declare it. He claimed that he’d forgotten that he’d purchased his $2.3 million property. Like putting spare change in a draw I suppose. One forgets it’s there.
But wait there’s more!!
This “champion of human rights” and especially the rights of foreigners in Australia. Had two au pairs on his property. An au pair is a young foreign person, typically a woman, who helps with housework or childcare in exchange for food, a room, and some pocket money.
And Greens party leader. Richard0 Luiji Di Natale. The champion of humanity, in his own mind, paid them a massive $3.75 an hour to help with his family . Mind you on top of Richard0 Luiji Di Natale’s $283,632 plus bonuses and quirks per year from the tax payer. He would also claim that massive $3.75 per hour for his nannies back on tax as he’s a mobile politician.
His add for the au pair read:
“ family of four is looking for an extra pair of hands around the place to entertain the lads [the couple have two boys] and help with cooking and general domestic duties”.
“Will take couples but weekly wage remains the same.”
That’s $150 a week for two people. Or $1.88 an hour each.
Even if we disregard his hypocrisy in being critical of our nation and the land we live on. He’s even failing at being a communist. Which is what the Greens are.
Richard0 Luiji Di Natale is a hypocrite, a capitalist and he takes advantage of those on working visa’s as well as the Australian tax payer.
The bloke is a liar.
EHP calls tenders to bulldoze huge dam wall near Cooktown; 30,000 tonnes of potential sediment runoff
The fallout from the 2016 acquisition of Springvale Station at Lakeland continues after the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection called for tenders to demolish a 1200 megalitre irrigation dam on the property.
Last year the EPH was caught out when a neighbour complained of long silt plumes found in the permanent East Normanby River after the department began siphoning water from the $400,000 dam into the river.
The river eventually drains into Princess Charlotte Bay and onto the Great Barrier Reef.
The water was left to run across 150 metres of soil between the dam bank and the river, gouging one metre channels in the earth creating many hundreds of tonnes of sediment which flowed into the river.
A local engineer estimated the wall would contain 30,000 cubic metres of compacted earth, when removed could eventually end up in the river system.
The hydrologist who designed the dam for the previous owners said the dam wall was sound and in no way would have breached after heavy rain events.
The EHP Minister at the time, Stephen Miles, claimed the design of the dam’s construction was unknown and therefore considered the wall “unsafe.”
Refuting the Minister’s assertion, the hydrologist, Geoff Benjamin, of Mareeba, said the wall remained intact and sound after 300 mm fell in one night, before the wall construction was finally completed.
“The dam was designed with an effective spillway and fish-way, however construction work was forced to cease due to early wet-season rains,” Mr Benjamin said.
“Although I did not visit the site when work ceased, I believe that the embankment height was about 1 to 1.5 m below the intended final design elevation.
“At this elevation a natural depression on the eastern side provides a broad, natural spillway so that the embankment would not be compromised in the event of intense storm run-off; which is in fact, exactly what occurred when Cyclone Etta, I think, passed straight over the property in January 2014, reportedly dropping about 300 mm of rain over-night!
“The statement about ‘unacceptable safety risk’ would therefore seem totally baseless. Unfortunately such uninformed, alarmist comments seem to be what we’ve come to expect from this particular Minister.”
Defending the decision to demolish the valuable water asset, home to innumerable birdlife and other aquatic wildlife, the EHP claimed the design was unknown, which has been ridiculed by Mr Benjamin.
“Likewise the assertion that ‘the status of its design and capacity is unknown’ is inaccurate, since I provided details of the design to one of the Minister’s departmental officers not long after EHP acquired the Springvale property,” Mr Benjamin said.
The EHP claimed it acquired Springvale to prevent sediment runoff into the Great Barrier Reef catchment, however the Chief Scientist for Queensland, Dr Geoff Garrett, told a meeting of landowners at Lakeland prior to the property purchase there was no measurable sediment runoff from the Upper Normanby catchment.
Minister Miles ignored this advice and continued with the purchase, wasting $7 million of taxpayers funds and removed 4000 head of cattle from the local economy.
The property is being divided into yet more unnecessary national park with the balance being given to an indigenous group.
Tenders to decommission the dam were called on January 24 and will close on March 5, 2018.
Australian Patriot Radio produced this podcast with Harry Palmer and Mike Holt discussing how the majority of Queenslanders do not realise they own nothing in Queensland today after Wayne Goss and Kevin Rudd manipulated the Queensland constitution to remove private land ownership to government and amend legislation at anytime to suit their power base control of you the people … and it is still LAW … Click Here to listen.
This video explains in detail how Labor stole Queensland from the people.
Alice Springs town councillor Jacinta Price says she has been sent death threats ‘simply for having a difference of opinion on the date of Australia Day contrary to the ratbag Greens.
Catherine Deneuve leads group of 100 women denouncing #MeToo campaign for ‘puritanism’
from the ABC and Cairns News
Actress Catherine Deneuve and 99 other French women have denounced a backlash against men following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, saying the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment amounts to “puritanism” and is fuelled by a “hatred of men”.
In the aftermath of accusations against the US movie producer, millions of women took to social media to share their stories of being sexually harassed or assaulted, using the #MeToo hastag worldwide or #SquealOnYourPig (#balancetonporc).
“This urge to send men to the slaughterhouse, instead of helping women be more autonomous, helps the enemies of sexual freedom,” the 100 women, including 74-year old Deneuve, one of France’s most famous screen stars, said in a column published by Le Monde daily.
The man’s right to “pester” a woman was an essential part of sexual freedom, they said, describing the campaign as “puritanism”.
Marlene Schiappa, the French minister tasked with cracking down on violence against women, said the Weinstein scandal forced a rethink of attitudes towards sexual harassment in France, a country that cherishes its self-image as the land of seduction and romance.
Ms Schiappa kicked off nationwide consultations on a law that is due to include steps to fight sexual harassment on the streets as well as extend the statute of limitation for rape of minors.
In late October, protesters in Paris disrupted the opening of a retrospective of Roman Polanski’s work following new rape allegations against the French-Polish film director.
But for Deneuve and the other signatories of the letter, including writers and journalists, this went too far.
“This vigilante (online) justice has punished men in their jobs, forced some to resign, when all they did was touch a knee, try to steal a kiss, talk about ‘intimate’ matters in a work dinner,” they wrote.
“We defend a right to pester, which is vital to sexual freedom.”
Sydney commentator Stewie Jones-Cartwright said the campaign against men had gone on for too long, leaving a trail littered with wrecked lives and broken families over often false accusations by women.
“The Family Court is known among men’s groups as a forum to legally denounce mostly innocent husbands or defactos as child abusers, rapists or worse,” he said.
“The Craig McLachlan case is one of the worst media circuses I have seen in decades similar to the Rolf Harris acquittal on appeal in the UK on some charges which were false allegations of sexual abuse.
“The men-hating lesbians in the media should be sacked and prosecuted for their long campaign against often innocent men.”
A republic for Australia means NO MORE RIGHTS and NO MORE FREEDOMS.
They will make the new constitution so that it only benefits THEM and not we the people!!
A republic is great for politicians as they can then rewrite the constitution and somehow any references to TREASON will all be removed.
ONLY a REFERENDUM by ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ can decide on whether we are allowing Australia to become a Republic !!!
The Commonwealth Games to be held on the Gold Coast in April will be known as the gender bender games after Games Chairman Peter Beattie instructed the 15,000 volunteer helpers not to refer to spectators as Mr or Mrs; Girl or Boy; Maid or Maiden; Ladies or Gentlemen, policeman or policewoman, ad nauseam.
Saying “see you later” to a blind man or woman was simply unacceptable and could confuse the poor person, Mr Beattie said.
‘Policeman’ is just not on lest a request to a gender neutral police person be taken the wrong way.
For example a volunteer gender neutral person reported a suspicious ‘person’ to a police ‘person’ saying the suspicious ‘person’ whose gender is unidentifiable was seen going into a ‘gender’ neutral toilet.
When the police person asked the gender neutral volunteer which gender neutral toilet the suspicious ‘person’ entered, the gender neutral volunteer became confused.
“I don’t know which toilet that suspicious person entered because on the doorway was a sign that could have been for a disabled gender neutral person but on the other hand the signs are all the same because one type of gender neutral person can enter the toilet of another gender neutral person and if either gender neutral person has fluid gender, how does it know which toilet to enter?”asked the by now disoriented gender neutral volunteer person.
The police person then called for assistance on his UHF radio requesting assistance to search the gender neutral toilets in case a confused, fluid gender person had entered the disabled, gender neutral person’s cubicle.
“ I want three gender neutral police persons to come to the gender neutral toilets to help look for a suspicious, confused possible gender neutral person in the wrong cubicle.”
Three police persons of dubious gender arrived to search the gender neutral toilets for a confused fluid gender person.
“How do we know if there is a confused fluid gender person is in the wrong toilet?” one police person asked when arriving at the gender neutral toilets.
By now the original police person had to make a decision on how to find such a confused fluid gender person but ensure it was not a genuine disabled fluid gender person.
Decisively he said: “You two police persons come with me to this side and you two police persons go to the other side and just take a guess if you see a confused fluid gender person.
“I will lift the dresses and you pull down the pants.”