The problem the Ramsay Centre was a donor in disguise . It wanted full control of the educational and research program. Very different from other donors.
Abbott is an old dog too but with no new ideas. $500,000 wind farm experts provided no advice in two years
Lest we forget
“It was the Abbott government’s original idea for the University of Western Australia to host a think tank created by the “sceptical environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg, according to leaked talking points. The government will provide $4 million over four years to bring Dr Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Center methodology to Australia at a new centre within the University of Western Australia (UWA) business school.”The Age
Abbott starts laying his own booby traps. “The key to understanding the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation is that it’s not merely about Western civilisation but in favour of it.” This made it “distinctive”. “This is an important national project.” The only thing to fear here was the dictum of John O’Sullivan, current international editor of Quadrant: “every organisation that’s not explicitly right-wing, over time becomes left-wing.”
In the schemes of negotiation, this did not play well. Australia’s national university was essentially being told that autonomy over the program – selection of staff, selection of students, and the program itself – would not be exercised by autonomous academics and officials within it, but by those without. Take the cash, but accept the strings. ANU Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt subsequently claimed that “academic autonomy” was at risk, terminating the conversation.
A group of academics at the University of Sydney, having gotten wind of negotiations being conducted between the Centre and their own Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence, claimed any collaboration with the Ramsay Centre “a violation of our crucial role in promoting a society of diversity, inclusiveness and mutual respect”. Their open letter deemed the enterprise to be promoting a “conservative, culturally essentialist, and Eurocentric vision” mired in “chauvinistic, Western essentialism.” Besides, subjects on western civilisation were already being studied “intensively” at the institution.
How Remeniscent is this when Tony abbott tried a $4,000,000 bribe any Australian university to provide a department for his favorite Climate Change opinionator Dr Bjorn Lomborg. An academic whose qualifications were sufficiently borderline to question his ability to be a tutor let alone the head of a newly bought department whose ideas Abbott wanted taught as an absolute. Lomborg seems to have disappeared off the world map since Tony Abbott’s efforts failed to raise him and place him on his anti- climate change pedastal. The Ramsay Center seems exactly the same act of bribery yet again to push yet another relative concept to have Western Civilization position treated as an absolute on the history of civilizations at ANU. Despite the bribe they declined prefering their academic integrity instead. (ODT)
The decision has outraged the reactionary right. It is evidently the end of civilisation as former prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott know it. They have gone “full mental jacket”.
For example, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) pontificated that the ANU had sacrificed Western Civilisation on the “Altar of Leftist Warriors”. Crikey’s Emily Watkins has set out the details of the many explosions of confected outrage from the rabids. That was written before The Weekend Australian’s front-page article, a two-page “Culture War” special and an editorial, all angrily condemning the decision. Only moderate Liberal, Peter van Onselen, on another opinion page, backed the ANU’s sensible decision.
Personally, I find the status-consciousness of our culture repellent. It saturates the society, soaking every institution and even the public spaces between institutions, as in the value-judgments we constantly make (even half-consciously) about others’ clothing or looks or confidence. In a sense, status-consciousness fuels our world, determining our behavior through its implicit presence in social and institutional norms. (For if we act contrary to norms, we’ll have a lower status.) This is to say that anti-democracy fuels our world, for the principle of respecting status/authority/power is opposed to that of respecting the equality and potential rationality of all people. Moreover, as I just noted, the people we end up admiring are usually precisely those who don’tdeserve to be admired, given the qualities it takes to succeed in a capitalist world. To quote the historian Albert Prago, “in an amoral society, the amoral man is best qualified to succeed.”
In Australia, almost every member of the right commentariat subscribes to this view of the West and the Rest, or something like it. It was illustrated almost perfectly by an exchange between Cory Bernardi and Andrew Bolt on Sky News. Bolt played a clip of Robert Menzies advocating the White Australia policy, where Menzies discussed the importance of national homogeneity. Bolt and Bernardi agreed that Menzies was right, but for the wrong reasons. The policy should have been one of culturism, not of racism. “I think that was the actual deeply immoral part of the White Australia policy, that it was couched in concern over race, rather than of culture,” concluded Bolt.
Australia is a nation scared. Scared to fully stake out its own flag. Scared to install an Australian as head of state. Nervous even about bringing into the daylight a more complete account of its own creation.This is at odds with our strongly internalised ruggedness myth. And it is even more inconsistent with the legendary “fair go”.
An Australian soldier speaks publicly for the first time about a commando night raid in which five Afghan children were killed.
If you’re a fan of Australian crime stories you’re likely to have come across the work of Paul B. Kidd; 2UE radio host, ‘true crime historian’, and self-described big game fisher. Kidd enjoys a regular call-back gig on the weekends and has chalked-up no less than 22 books to date. His publisher’s website describes himMore
Andrew Forrest’s report on Indigenous employment and welfare makes incorrect assertions, is unbalanced and would be conducting a “massive social experiment” on vulnerable people if the recommendations were taken up, the National Welfare Rights Network (NWRN) has warned.
The miner’s proposal to create a cashless welfare card with restrictions on its use has the potential to cause significant damage, according to NWRN, which also criticised the proposal to have principals decide whether students should have access to Youth Allowance.
NWRN said it was a “real concern” the report had moved away from the terms of reference and offered broad comments on matters outside the scope of Forrest’s review.
“This has resulted in a report that tends to simplify some issues, perhaps trivialise others, and appears polemical and aggressive towards those with alternative views,” it said in a submission to the review seen by Guardian Australia.
Forrest released the report, titled Creating Parity in August, after being asked by the prime minister to review how to improve Indigenous employment outcomes. It is currently in the consultation stage before the government decides which recommendations to take up.
Forrest has warned the government against a piecemeal approach saying for the overhaul of the employment and welfare system to be effective every recommendation must be upheld, a claim NWRN rejected.
Forrest’s recommendation to give school principals the power to veto claims for Youth Allowance would harm “community, family and school inter-relationships”, the submission said.
“It will also mean that social security decision-making will be applied inconsistently to different citizens depending on the school they happen to attend. Income support claims and payment should be based on legislative criteria, and based on an objective assessment of need,” the submission said.
“This proposal also places an additional burden on school principals who already have huge responsibilities.”
NWRN said the healthy welfare card, which would be compulsory for people on income support and would not be able to be used for alcohol or gambling, appears to have been “driven by good intention” but the proposal was “unacceptable in its current form”.
“People living on the lowest incomes in Australia would be subjected to a massive social experiment, the likes of which we have not seen before. A denial of access to 100% of a person’s social security entitlements in cash is unprecedented, and, arguably, a serious breach of human rights,” it said.
The submission said not allowing people claiming income support to have cash would make them subject to the $10 minimum spends many shops impose on eftpos cards and would even make it difficult for children to attend events with a “gold coin” donation at schools.
Forrest has defended the card, arguing it allows people to budget and avoid gambling, illegal drugs or alcohol.
“Humbug [begging for money in Indigenous communities that can involve violence] ravages vulnerable communities and hence, vulnerable people. This is directly what we heard in our submissions, and it is how we came upon a solution for the option of cashless welfare payments,” Forrest wrote soon after the review was released.
“Alcohol, gambling and illegal drugs are destroying vulnerable Indigenous and other families and communities across Australia. The other 26 recommendations of the Forrest review are empowered by the card and together will end disparity while promoting considerable economic activity.”
NWRN called the focus on early childhood in the review “positive” and welcomed the intentions to target support and integrate education services. However, it warned cutting Family Tax Benefits payments if children did not meet school attendance targets would harms both parents and children.
“This approach does not address the real reasons why young people fail to regularly attend school,” it said.
NWRN said it was ironic the only mention of disability in the report was about stopping people eligible for Newstart and Youth Allowance testing their eligibility for Disability Support Pension (DSP)
“It is difficult to respond to this recommendation as it seems to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the current system,” the submission said.
“There is no current ability or discretion to transfer somebody from an activity-tested payment to the Disability Support Pension (DSP). A person may only be granted the Disability Support Pension if a claim is made and they meet all relevant medical and residential qualifications. The bar is a high one. Only 42% of claims for DSP are successful.”
The NWRN submission said the report called for the removal of all discretion for granting exemptions from activity testing but failed to recognise the strict guidelines already in place.
“Any tightening of the existing strict rules would cause great hardship for people facing issues such as pregnancy, homelessness, serious mental illness, or domestic violence,” the submission said.
The submission lauded Forrest’s recommendation for the top 200 companies to increase Indigenous employment to 4% but said a similar target should also apply to Indigenous people with a disability.
NWRN does not support the creation of tax-free status for Indigenous businesses and social enterprises and said the review could have focused more on structural issues and barriers to regional development.
“We have concluded that the proposals in the report are unbalanced in that they are largely dismissive of training activities,” the submission said.
Parliamentary secretary for the prime minister, Alan Tudge, says there is broad support in the community for the report’s recommendations.
“They know that change has to be made. They like that Andrew Forrest’s report is so comprehensive, going from early childhood all the way through to training and employment,” he told ABC Perth on Tuesday.
“Of course there are some disagreements over the tough love measures, particularly for example linking welfare to school attendance. Some people like that, others don’t. But overall, we’ve had a pretty good response.”
Tudge said some Aboriginal leaders had suggested the Healthy Welfare Card be on an opt-in basis rather than compulsory, with 50 to 80% of a person’s welfare available on it and the rest available in cash.
He said the Cabinet was taking the recommendations “very, very seriously”.
“We know that grog is destroying many of these communities. We know that school attendance sits at about 60% in many of the remote places which means that kids are effectively not learning and will end up on the welfare queue. We know there are an insufficient number of people in work,” Tudge said.
“So we’ve got to do things differently. Forrest has presented us with an ambitious report. It’s a wide ranging report. We are carefully considering every single one of those recommendations.”
What he is saying is the very people, the very ethnic groups that would take exception to 18C are the same ones that are, in part, some of them, affected or take offence to the anti-terrorism legislation. To make them feel not picked on he’ll retain laws against free speech,” Bolt identified “obviously muslims, jihadists, people from the Middle East.”
“Don’t we need a frank debate, more frank than it’s been so far into how the Islamic culture, muslim culture, how they integrate here?”
And the retention of these laws make such a debate legally dangerous.
Bolt is comfortable saying publically “Aboriginal Culture is to blame for the individual and community problems of Aboriginies” He is comfortable for attacking Islam because it is a religion and not a race and now he is saying the topics are dangerous and the press and media are all pussies for not raising these issues. The man is like a beached whale thrashing around in every direction. He is now declaring himself to be a racist and the issues he raises are racial. He is here admitting to be a self confessed liar.
Cultures are not immutable they change and influence each other there is not an either or clash. Oh dear we drink red wine and eat spaghetti. Shit we eat middle eastern food. For Bolt that’s Haram, non kosher and dangerous because Assimilation was moving upstream. In the 50’s Australia was in need of labour and lot’s of it. So we accepted a multicultural intake of Turks, Greeks,Lebanese, Yugoslavs and even Dutch. What happened this country boomed and flourished. We learnt to eat, drink sing celebrate and do things differently. Nationality clubs and services sprung up and yes we imported issues as well. Those issues didn’t go away because migrants totally assimilated but people had economic success and were allowed to develop.
Curmudgeons like Bolt existed ‘wog’, ‘dago’ ‘slope’. Urban myths abounded ‘ if you go to Collingwood you’ll get knifed’ ‘All Vietnamese are drug dealers’ ‘Yugoslavs were all Ustashi’
In 1950s Australia, for example, women grew up accepting that women were inferior to men. No one ever said it. They simply soaked up the culture. Some knew with absolute and unconscious certainty, that any woman who hadn’t made the house spotless, washed and ironed every drawer-escapee, cooked a three-course breakfast and packed lunches for her family, prepared the evening’s roast and baked a cake and, finally, donned the mandatory ‘lippy’, hat, and gloves for appearing in public, even on her own front porch … yes, any woman who hadn’t done all this and more by 8am … was a slut.
Ban the bomb demonstrators and anti Vietnam were the ages equivalent of terrorists the CPA members were denigrated under constant surveillance by ASIO The Andrew Bolt’s of the day claimed ‘and so it should be ‘as they were a threat to the Aussie way of life. Frank Hardy was the Mike Carlton of the day. Conscientious objectors were thrown in jail, poofter bashing was god’s rightful retribution and single mothers non existent. “Catholic dogs stink like frogs” was the the abuse thrown at me on the way home from primary school.
Bolt blames Aboriginal Culture for their demise. Arnhem Land Peoples was a kinship culture contrasted with white society in that there was no chance of accumulating wealth when one’s relatives cannot rightly be refused if they are in need.” They has been in contact with Macassan Muslims and they were in no way disrupted by contact with Muslims something which cannot be said about the later cultural contact experiences of these now oppressed people. While Arnhem land peoples spoke of the period of contact with Macassar as a Golden Age. This attitude of the indigenous people contrasted starkly with relations during the period of assimilation and oppression under the white colonial administration. The contrast is plainly between the generosity and democracy of the Macassarese and the stinginess, meanness and colour bar of the Whites.”
Bolt’s biggest fear is that by retaining section 18C and Multi cultural policies Australia is “being asked to assimilate to immigrant values” in response to Mr Abbott’s decision to drop the changes.
This coming from the mouth of an admitted elitist who has said he shunned and was never drawn to Australian Culture until he married and was introduced to it by his father-in-law. Why do we accept this Muslim-hating, Koori-hating, racist bigot?