August 24th 2019

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Biological and transgender worldviews are mutually exclusive

CANBERRA OBSERVED Can you have too much of a renewables thing?

FREEDOM OF SPEECH Professor Augusto Zimmermann addresses NCC WA on freedoms

NSW ABORTION BILL Clear and present danger to women's health

RURAL AFFAIRS Land-clearing laws render productive land useless and worthless

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Why an indigenous referendum is misconceived

POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY The post-liberal way: Make good use of the time in the wilderness

ASIAN AFFAIRS Hong Kong defies its obtrusive overlord

SPECIAL FILM REVIEW Danger Close: Australia's fiercest battle of the Vietnam War

HUMOUR Rage against the baked bean

MUSIC Riff wrap: The thing that makes it go 'pop'

CLASSIC CINEMA Dr Strangelove: Helpless fear turned to laughter

BOOK REVIEW The epic awfulness of Mao and his 'isms'

BOOK REVIEW From slave to son of the Church




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News Weekly, August 24, 2019

Gender and race

Re your cover story, “No sex, please, we’re Victorian” (New Weekly, July 13, 2019). The idea that one can “self-identify” as a different “gender” on birth certificates highlights the disconnect between the so-called social “sciences”, with their post-postmodern view of “truth”, and the hard physical sciences, with their empirical view of truth corresponding to reality (what should be obvious to anyone who believes their five senses).

Sex and other physical attributes of people are not determined by people’s wishes, they are determined by observation, measurement and conclusion. While the obvious conclusion that there are two sexes has been true for millennia based on observation, the revisionists now claim what is felt by someone about themselves is truer than what everyone else observes about them!

It is claimed, with no evidence put forward, that plenty of people are born “intersex” or born with same-sex attraction, or otherwise are not what they appear to be to everyone else. The observable facts, uncomfortable as they are to the proponents of the transgender narrative, are otherwise. There are two biological sexes, male and female, not only in humans, not only in all mammals, but in all vertebrates.

Yes, due to genetic abnormalities (most commonly adrenogenital syndrome), some people are born with ambiguous genitals. They are not a third sex. They have either male or female sex chromosomes. Adrenogenital syndrome is a genetic abnormality where the biochemical pathway of sex hormone metabolism is interrupted. Despite this, most are either obviously male or female. Only around a third of the one in 10,000 live births that have adrenogenital syndrome are born with incompletely developed genitals making their sex not obvious (ambiguous). This disorder is not something to be celebrated, but treated, like any other disorder, for example, cystic fibrosis and other genetic disorders.

The idea of multiple “genders” (which traditionally meant “sex”) has no place in medicine or biology, it is a figment of the feverish imaginations of the humanities departments of some universities.

Likewise, the concept of “race” in biology has a fixed meaning. From Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Genus and Species, the biological divisions of creatures are reasonably clear with occasional arguments.

Species are further divided into subspecies, Race and Variety. In this classification, the species Homo sapiens (us) has only one type – no subspecies – only one race and only one variety. We are not like the grey goshawk, which has two “forms”: white in Tasmania and the Kimberley and grey everywhere else.

All people are biologically identical, the differences in genetics between a very dark African and a very light Norwegian are tiny. I don’t use the words “white” and “black”. Pale Scandinavians are not “white”, only true albinos (a genetic disorder) have “white skin”. All people have the same two pigments of melanin, some have more (most Africans) and some have less (northern Europeans).

Dr Philip Dawson,
Low Head, Tas.


Cheap but for ideology

I recall a leading inventor spending $20 million in the 1970s developing a self-tracking reflective parabolic trough mechanism that concentrated the sun’s energy to a pickup tube. The invention was manufactured and sold on the domestic market and exported around the world. The inventor said to me the market wasn’t big enough because Australia had so much “cheap energy”. He was referring to the burning of coal to generate electricity. He said Australia had enough coal to last at least another 100 years. (Presumably our good fortune of having an enormous supply of gas would give us another 100 years.)

So, what happened? Australia has become the patsy. Our state governments (and federal Labor/Greens) have decided Australia will do its bit to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. We’ve previously seen a ridiculous “carbon tax” set up by the former Rudd Labor/Green government finding a good cash cow. As a result, our nation’s biggest earner, the mining industry, suffered.

Lately, the high cost of electricity has meant the business sector has been hit with electricity costs affecting the cost of manufacture and therefore manufactured exports. It has meant Australia has become less competitive on the world market. (Do our Asian competitors really care about carbon emissions?)

In Victoria, under the Labor/Green Government, the Hazelwood power station was shut down, effectively doubling the wholesale price of electricity in that state.

In South Australia, under the previous State Labor government, some special revelation found that, when the wind didn’t blow, the blades of the wind turbines didn’t turn; and when the sun didn’t shine, the output from solar/PV cells dropped; and Adelaide had three devastating blackouts. So, the bureaucrats decided to store the energy generated when the wind was blowing and the sun was shining in a mountain of stacked lithium-ion batteries. In SA, the cost of gas has tripled.

So, the cost of electricity has doubled, the cost of gas has tripled. Thank goodness we have thousands of fee-paying overseas students to bolster our flagging economy!

Warren James,
Tweed Heads, NSW


Reinventing the wheel

I am a retired primary teacher. It amazes me that we don’t have a world-class education system after so many years of trying new teaching ideas, such as Outcomes Based Education (OBE, a total disaster), Continuous Progress Mathematics (CPM) and several others.

Restore those old fashioned progressive readers (Red Shield, Readers Digest and several others) that taught children essential reading skills with books that introduced new words gradually with constant revision, comprehension exercises, lateral readers for the gifted and so on. Each story’s new words were listed at the back of the book so the teacher could introduce them before the actual reading started, thus instilling confidence in the child readers.

Then came a brilliant new theory: present children with colourful storybooks that looked attractive and were at their supposed reading age. It worked. And it didn’t. An estimated 80 per cent of children “cottoned on” to the system. For the remaining 20 per cent, reading was a foreign language.

My wife and I became private tutors for several confused young would-be readers. My wife also taught remedial reading at a local high school. “Please, Miss, will you teach me to read as I want get my driver’s licence by the end of the year.”

I have tried to bring this problem to the fore through our main West Australian newspaper, The West Australian, but it has never got to the starting post. I sometimes wonder, has this vital steppingstone in reading – essential to most other school subjects – ever, ever been seriously investigated by the powers that be? I suspect not.

Kevin Griffiths,
Swan View, WA


Get on to Sky News

Could I put in a strong recommendation for News Weekly readers to tune in to Channel 83 in free-to-air TV for Sky News. So enjoyable to hear a consistent conservative news service. They will love it. How about some News Weekly writers get a spot on Sky News chat panels?

Ron Gane,
Kambah, ACT



The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has caused great waves. The Catholic Church is in a steep learning curve because of it, which eventually may enrich our system of justice in Australia.

In the early centuries, gaining absolution in confession was much more difficult than it is now. By reading John 20:23, we see that if a priest is not convinced the penitent shows proper contrition, he can withhold absolution.

St Pacianus said: “The delinquent must undergo public penance, which entails toil, mortification, persistent tears, and unending laments. Once the penitent has borne this punishment, he is not likely to sin again, knowing that in so doing he will subject himself to a repetition of the same painful process.”

It is the sinner who should give himself up to the police. The priest’s job could be to get him there before giving absolution.

Did the royal commission say anything about requiring complainants to provide their concerns to priests in writing? Police require signed statements before any action can be taken. So why not priests?

Robert Bom,
West Rockhampton, Qld.


Eyes on our spies

Well done to News Weekly for highlighting the resignation of Duncan Lewis as Director-General of ASIO, the emergence of ASD from the shadows under Director-General Mike Burgess and the cyber challenges which Australia faces, in the same week that Burgess was appointed to be the next Director-General of ASIO.

While the two articles concerned didn’t predict Burgess’ new appointment, they do show that he is an excellent choice.

John McCarthy,
Thornbury, Vic.


Middle-class squeeze

I would like to commend Colin Teese for his review (News Weekly, July 27, 2019) of George R. Tyler’s What Went Wrong. The squeezing of the American middle class over the last half-century has important lessons for Australia.

While the Australian middle class has fared much better over the same period, there are some worrying signs that we are moving in the wrong direction. Australian wages have been stagnant for around a decade, although living costs have continued to rise. At the same time, Australian households are now among the most indebted in the world. Combined, these factors contribute greatly to rising economic and financial fragility.

A strong middle class is vital in terms of building and maintaining a successful, fair and stable society. A shrinking middle class would threaten our long-term stability.

Rex Drabik,
Perth, WA


Thorough water inquiry

If a Royal Commission into the water market is to take place, it must be wide-ranging with terms of reference to seek the whole truth.

It must not be like the recent South Australian royal commission, which was a farce, with a pre-determined agenda.

The enabling factor of separating water and land is fundamentally flawed, as outlined in the book, High and Dry, released in 2006 and compiled by Pat Byrne, now national president of the National Civic Council.

Water should not be treated like a whitegood, to be traded for profit instead of being used for food and fibre production. The argument for trading was supposedly to enable water to move to high-value crops. However, high value today can be low value tomorrow.

Another point conveniently overlooked is that water is in the hands of the irrigator, but is the resource of a region.

Move the water, destroy the region along with its reliant businesses and communities. This is what is happening right now.

Any new crops could be grown in any part of the valley. However, for big corporate operations and privatised schemes, it was easier to buy large parcels of cheaper land in the more remote western regions.

Governments bent to their more politically powerful wishes of freeing up water for open trading.

Now, even the corporates are seeing the threat of over development downstream and the inability to supply water in peak demand periods because of water availability and supply constraints.

The ability to guarantee 100 per cent reliability was seen in the Murray Valley to be about 10 per cent of total entitlements issues. However, now these new horticulture schemes are desperately seeking to cover their needs by chasing general security water and any carryover they can purchase. In doing so, they are destroying previously viable dairying and broadacre cropping enterprises.

With them, they are also destroying the reliant businesses and communities which are likely to be critical in providing future national food security.

Neil Eagle,
Barham, NSW

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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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm