October 20th 2018


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Internal strife at Fortress ABC by Peter Westmore

EDITORIAL The state is separating children from families

CANBERRA OBSERVED Liberals are bare favourites for Wentworth

DEREGULATION Sugar growers are getting burned on churned-up playing field

EUROPE Attempt to discipline Hungary divides the EU

CHINA Social Credit System gives complete control of every citizen

EDUCATION Curriculum refinements will not fix schools

BANKING ROYAL COMMISSION Banks' failures are a symptom of social malaise

HISTORY Moby Dick and American exceptionalism

SHAKESPEARE Tick-tock: clues to the timeless appear of the Bard

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Trump to UN: we'll do it our way; you do it yours

MUSIC Well-tempered scale: might put an alien in a bad temper

CINEMA Alpha: Beautiful beginnings

BOOK REVIEW Essays towards reconstruction

BOOK REVIEW Can society survive the decay of religion?

LETTERS

CLIMATE CHANGE Hockey 1, hockey 2: Good science contradicts IPCC's two-degree alarmism

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LETTERS




News Weekly, October 20, 2018

Private schools still being short-changed

The Federal Government’s very sensible restoration of $4.6 billion of funding to Catholic and other non-government school students over the next 10 years, previously removed under then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Gonski 2.0 proposals, has attracted all the usual inaccurate and misleading comments, but a lack of relevant statistics.

It should again be noted that the Commonwealth does not employ any teachers or run any schools; and, according to the 2017 National Report on Schooling, out of a total of $56 billion in recurrent spending by the states, territories and the Commonwealth on all schools in 2015–16, the Commonwealth contribution was still only $16 billion, or 28 per cent of the total.

The states and territories between them provided the other $40 billion, of which $36.5 billion (91 per cent) was spent on the 2.45 million students (65 per cent of the total number of students) who attend government schools.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s $460 million per year restoration (over the next decade) amounts to only 5 per cent of the $9.3 billion annual savings provided to taxpayers by the 1.3 million (34.8 per cent of the total) students who attend Catholic and other non-government schools (and who still receive only 23.8 per cent of total recurrent spending). This does not take in to account the billions of dollars spent by non-government school parents to provide 85 per cent of their own capital requirements every year.

In 2015–16, total public recurrent spending averaged $17,275 per government-school student and only $10,147 per non-government school student, a gap of $7,128 per student, which has resulted in the 1.3 million non-government school students saving taxpayers the above-mentioned $9.3 billion annually. The spending gap rose from $5,433 to $7,128 per student over the 10 years to June 30, 2016, saving taxpayers $80 billion in that decade alone.

Commonwealth recurrent funding, which now provides $6 billion a year to state schools, was originally introduced by the Gorton government in 1970 to redress partly the imbalance caused by grossly inadequate levels of state funding for non-government school students compared to government-school students.

The disgraceful Gonski 2.0 “Schooling Resource Standard” mechanism discounts non-government school students’ funding entitlements by the amount of fees that can be squeezed out of their parents. Of course, no such penalties apply to government-school students and their parents, who can spend their after-tax disposable income on a bigger house, a third car, a boat or a trip overseas without penalty. Yet, the moment a non-government school parent decides to spend some of their hard-earned on the education of their children in the school of their choice, the public purse strings are drawn tight.

Even the latest $460 million a year restoration will be distributed on the basis of personal income tax records! Government-school students and their parents qualify automatically for their full taxpayer funding, based on their choice of school, yet their NGS neighbours are subjected to an intrusive and discriminatory procedure.

Laurie Eastwood,
Former president and treasurer of the Australian Parents Council;
former president, secretary and executive director
of the Parents and Friends’ Federation of WA
South Perth, WA

 

Australian defence in face of expansionist China

The recent Chinese attempt to establish four ports in Papua New Guinea and the establishment of three secretive military bases and two field camps in Australian Antarctic territory should be a wake up call to Australia. Not since World War II has the security of Australia been so uncertain.

The Chinese militarisation of the Spratly Islands, ignoring international law and warning shipping, including Australian trading through this sea route, to steer clear, is part of the overall plan of China to become the military superpower in the Pacific region to the exclusion of the United States. To this end China has invested heavily in the eight island chains stretching from Micronesia to the north and as far south as Papua New Guinea.

If military hostilities were to occur, these islands under Chinese economic loan dependence would be strategic areas for Chinese naval vessels to interdict shipping sailing to and from Australia. If fuel supplies to Australia were cut off, Australia would have two to three weeks before the country came to a standstill.

The uncertainty of the American alliance created by deep divisions in the United States and a Democratic Party which has now swung increasingly to the radical does not augur well for Australia’s near future.

The lesson for Australia is that governments can develop the most elaborate social and domestic policies but they are not worth the paper they are written on unless protected by sound defence and foreign policies, including strong alliances with our neighbours in the Pacific region.

Australia has serious gaps in its naval fleet. It has had no destroyers since the Charles F. Adam destroyers were scrapped almost 20 years ago. The United States did offer Australia several years ago four new Kidd Class steam-turbine destroyers of 15000 tons at the bargain basement price of $100 million each.

The Shah of Iran had ordered these ships but, when he was deposed, the ships were put in mothballs in the U.S. Australia turned the offer down and Taiwan snapped the offer up and acquired the four ships. The destroyer gap has now at least been partially filled.

It would make good sense that Australia look seriously at purchasing or leasing an aircraft carrier, possibly manned partly by American crews on loan till we gained the necessary operational and flying skills necessary for taking off and landing on carrier flight decks.

It will be a long time before the first of our $50 billion French submarines slides down the Adelaide slipway; 2034 at the earliest. (Apart from the difficulties the French company has had in finding suitably qualified people in Australia to build the submarines.)

A mix of nuclear and conventionally powered submarines would be our best defence weapons. Conventionally powered submarines have the advantage of quietness – making detection by the enemy more difficult – and nuclear-powered submarines have the advantage of great range without the need to refuel and can remain submerged for great periods without the need to surface.

Wayne Williams,
Secretary, Labour DLP,
Tasmanian Branch,
Hobart, Tas.

 

Clarification on dams

Purely in the interests of having your facts right, I would like to correct a statement by one of your feature writers.

Neil Eagle (News Weekly, September 22, 2018) says the Dartmouth Dam in Victoria is the most recently constructed water storage dam in Australia.

This is incorrect. That dam, according to my research, was completed in 1979. The Burdekin Dam, with a current capacity of four times Sydney Harbour, was completed in 1987, and filled during the following wet season.

If (little word with a big meaning) stage two of the Burdekin Dam is ever built, to enable the hydroelectric capability to be realised, the capacity would double to eight Sydney Harbours.

With all of the talk of renewable energy and drought-proofing Australia being bandied about, surely that would make doubling the size of this dam a no-brainer.

Robert Kennedy,
Ayr, Qld.

Sugarcane industry on the ropes

Sugarcane is a wonderful product. With the right attention it can give multiple benefits to the Australian economy.

Mossman, a town in North Queensland has come up with a visionary plan to modernise its mill and to produce, apart from 100,000 tonnes of sugar a year, biodegradable plastic as a byproduct that can be used for popular consumer goods. Clean, green shopping bags come to mind.

In addition, sugarcane produces ethanol containing environmental cleaning properties that enhance the combustion efficiencies of ordinary petrol, thereby reducing city pollution.

Rich bagasse fertiliser is a natural byproduct of cane. Biopharmaceuticals can be made from the plants, and electricity generation is another possibility for this job-creating but totally undervalued Australian agricultural industry.

Completely out of character with the fine economical attributes sugarcane possesses, townships depending on it are doing it tough, because governments are looking the other way.

If governments want to create more jobs then let them look at places like Mossman, where the potential is high with required government support.

As it is, Queensland’s sugar cane industry is on the ropes.

Robert Bom,
West Rockhampton, Qld.

 

Trans-activists

Transgender activists promote legal recognition of a person choosing to identify as being not the objective biological sex noted at his or her birth.
Not necessarily as being the opposite sex – male versus female or vice versa – but even other imagined “genders” such as “non-binary”, “queer” etc.

It could become compulsory for the rest of us to accept this – or risk penalty under anti-discrimination laws.

Big corporations, most political parties and educational institutions have knuckled under. We need some responsible community group courteously to reject all this as nonsense.

The churches, perhaps – a crucial reason for churches to go on existing and exhorting. The Bible and the reality of human nature concur on this issue.

Australian writer Patrick J. Byrne has published a well-researched book, Transgender: One Shade of Grey analysing what is really going on.

Available from
Freedom Publishing at (03) 9720 5288.

Arnold Jago,
Nichols Point, Vic.

Murray-Darling Basin Plan

I note that the river is recovering from recent droughts. Therefore, it did not die. And it won’t die even if it gets another seven-year drought.

Also, I note that floods are a very natural way of delivering extra water.

Therefore: all flood flows should be counted as environmental water; and flood flow should be averaged over 10 years, which will allow enough water for environment, and will maximise water for farmers, and keep them far from a near-death experience.

This correction to water allocation should happen now, before the farmer dies.

Peter Dixon,
Wodonga, Vic.

 

Death lobby misquote

The couplet, “Thou shalt not kill, but need not strive/officiously to keep alive”, is sometimes quoted by the death-lobby as ancient wisdom justifying the withdrawal of care and ceasing efforts to help the apparently dying.

In fact it is a satire on that very attitude, part of a poem, The Latest Decalogue, by Arthur Hugh Clough, sending up modern moral relativism:

Thou shalt have one God only; who
Would be at the expense of two?

No graven images may be
Worshipped, except the currency.

Swear not at all, for, for thy curse
Thine enemy is none the worse,

At church on Sunday to attend
Will serve to keep the world thy friend.

Honour thy parents: that is, all
From which advancement may befall.

Thou shalt not kill, but need not strive
officiously to keep alive.

Do not adultery commit;
Advantage rarely comes of it.

Thou shalt not steal; an empty feat
When it’s so lucrative to cheat.

Bear not false witness: let the lie
Have time to put on wings and fly.

Thou shalt not covet, but tradition
Approves all forms of competition.

Hal G.P. Colebatch,
Nedlands, WA




























All you need to know about
the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99


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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm