FEDERAL BUDGET FOR 2001-02
First a comment about the recent Federal Budget. An important facet of the Budget was the tax concessions given to retirees, especially the self-funded retirees. One can see some good reasons for these concessions, apart from the Howard government trying to win votes. Many retired people are probably still not properly compensated for the increases in living costs due to the introduction of the GST. Taxes on superannuation funds mean that retirees earnings are taxed a number of times before they get them. And of course the more people are encouraged to provide for themselves in retirement the less the taxpayer has to pay for old peoples pensions.
On the other hand, and this may upset some readers, the self-funded retirees tend not to be those who occupied the lower rungs of the wages/salary ladder or suffered chronic unemployment. Many would have spent years, or a whole career in well-paid and secure jobs, often in government agencies. When they were bringing up children in the fifties and sixties they would have had the benefits of tax deductions and child endowment without a means test. Compared to many working and bringing up families nowadays they would have had it fairly easy.
My real whinge however is with the lack of any benefits for families in the budget. With the means test for Family Allowance and virtually no tax benefits for families with both parents working (and pretty limited benefits where only one parent works) most working people bringing up children are not well looked after. The family is our societys most basic unit and it is about time that we realised this. Hopefully our politicians will also realise this by the time they start campaigning for the next election.
RACE RIOTS IN AMERICA AND BRITAIN
A race riot broke out in the American city of Cincinnati, just before last Easter. Over 830 people were arrested. Blacks set fire to more than 100 homes and businesses and made random attacks on any whites caught in, or driving through, black neighbourhoods. In one case blacks attacked a woman they thought was white but who turned out to be an albino Negress. The riots stopped when the authorities called a curfew.
The excuse for the riots was the killing of a black criminal by a white policeman. This brings to fifteen the number of blacks killed by police, not all of them white, in Cincinnati in the last six years. The blacks killed include a man who killed his girlfriend's 15-year-old daughter with an axe, and another with a string of offences behind him who shot a female police officer four times.
The city's mayor and the state governor attended the funeral for the dead criminal, although they did not attend the funerals of four police officers killed by blacks in Cincinnati over the last four years. Political correctness prevailed when a white man, who threw a brick through the window of a black mans car was charged with a "hate" crime. It looked like no black would be charged despite a large number of attacks on whites.
(Main source: American Renaissance, June 2001)
Riots broke out in the English town of Oldham late in May. There have been minor clashes between whites and Asians, mainly Indians and Pakistanis, for some months but things recently came to a head following the brutal bashing of a 76-year-old white man by Asians. Apparently in retaliation, members of the right-wing National Front attacked houses belonging to Asians. Four were arrested but despite this, hundreds of Asians rioted, attacks being made on a number of pubs in the area and cars burnt. A number of petrol bombs were thrown at Police.
Shortly after in Aylesbury, south-east England, 60 Asians fought with a gang of skinheads. Police arrested 13 Asians and seven whites. A little earlier there were smaller riots in Bradford between whites and Asians. Bradford has also seen tensions between Muslims and Hindus.
On the 6 June trouble broke out in Leeds when 300 Asians, mainly Bangladeshis fought with police. Later in the same month the Plough Inn in Tividale, Tipton was smashed up by a gang of forty Asians.
Its not surprising that the British National Party, which opposes non-white immigration, gained increased support during the recent British elections.
(Main sources: Daily Telegraph 28/5/01; www.abc.net.au/news 29/5/01; AR July 2001; BNP Internet 26/6/01)
RUCTIONS IN THE ABORIGINAL INDUSTRY
Controversy erupted when the Sydney Morning Herald carried an article detailing the suffering of four women allegedly raped by Geoff Clark, Chairman of ATSIC. Three of the women were Aboriginal, one was white. Clark has not yet been charged by the police with any of the rapes but the allegations brought on a public discussion of violence, sexual and otherwise, by indigenous males against indigenous females.
NSW magistrate, Pat O'Shane further inflamed the controversy by claiming that a lot of women manufacture a lot of stories against men. This may be true in some cases but O'Shane, an Aboriginal woman picked a poor time to make her statement and one wonders if she would have spoken out if a non-indigenous male had been accused of the rapes.
An article by Miranda Devine (SMH 21/6/01) brought up the problems of sexual abuse against children in Aboriginal communities. This seems to have worsened since Sir Ronald Wilsons "stolen generations" report, or if it hasn't, at least there seems to be a general inhibition about intervening to help the victims of abuse. Devine quotes a 1999 report by Queensland's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Womens Task Force on Violence. The report details some horrific acts such as when a "three-year-old child was sexually assaulted by three males, and about 10 days later another male returned and after sexually assaulting her, assaulted her again using a mangrove root". In another case a "boy of four had been raped by two 10-year-old boys. The police advised the two could not be charged and nothing else was done". It appears that there were even worse stories that had to be censored out. As Devine points out, the only way to rescue these children would be to take them away from their families but this would create another "stolen generation". Nevertheless some children do get removed from dangerous family situations. Of 70 children removed from drug dependent families in NSW over the last 3 years, 22% were Aborigines.
An article by Anne Summers (SMH 25/6/01) discussed the problem of violence inflicted on female Aboriginals by their men. Summers quotes a study of female deaths over a ten year period and found that 15% of the 701 deaths were indigenous women. Actually the real proportion could have been higher as 50 victims were not identified by race. She also quotes documents that say the level of violence within families and communities is getting worse.
The next day an article by Stan Grant appeared (SMH 26/6/01). It decries the bad picture painted of Aboriginal men and claiming there is an intent to go back to the "dark days of assimilation". He sees a solution in greater Aboriginal responsibility and autonomy. One wonders why the level of autonomy granted so far, the granting of extensive areas of land and the establishment of ATSIC, has not seen an improvement in problems of violence and alcoholism.
Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan threw more oil on the flames when he brought up the problems of sexual violence in Parliament and actually accused an Aboriginal leader of being a child abuser. He called for a federal commission for children which might have the power to override state departments (Daily Telegraph 27/6/01). A few days later the Telegraph (29/6/01) carried an article telling about a number of cases where women had their eyes permanently damaged in domestic violence.
One can only hope that rather than fall back into apathy or political correctness those in positions to improve the situation do something to effectively and permanently reduce the level of violence and other abuse.
New dating techniques and research by scientists at the University of Queensland's Department of Earth Sciences has thrown more light, and controversy, on the evolution of modern humans. Much of the study has been on fossils known as Nanking Man which were found in the Tangshan Cave in China. Nanking Man belongs to the Homo erectus species, which is believed to be closely related to modern man.
The Nanking fossils may date back as far as 620,000 years ago. This means that Homo erectus specimens from China do not overlap with archaic Homo sapiens (modern man) in China. This could be taken as evidence of the Multi-regional Continuity model of human evolution as compared to the Out of Africa model.
The first model contends that modern humans descended from various Homo erectus populations in different parts of the world. Gene flow between semi-isolated but inter-connected Homo erectus populations meant that modern man evolved in a number of different locations.
The Out of Africa model claims that modern man evolved in Africa and migrated to Europe and Asia about 100,000 years ago, replacing all other human (or closely related) populations.
However the evidence that Homo erectus lived in Asia much longer ago than once thought does not prove that they are the ancestors of modern Asians. On the other hand it does not lend support to the theory that modern humans originated in Africa.
It appears the story of human evolution is pretty complex and one wonders whether we will ever have all the answers.
(Main source: Australasian Science, May 2001)
THE ORIGINS OF EUROPEANS
Two articles from the New Scientist web site give ideas on the ancestry of the population of Europe (and hence the ancestry of white Australians).
The first article claims that, based on a reading of the genome, fewer than 50 people founded the entire population of Europe. (The term "genome" refers to the range of genes found in a species or group, or the information carried in those genes.)
This would indicate that there has been quite a lot of inbreeding after the original 50 individuals left Africa 60,000 years ago. (The article obviously follows the Out of Africa model.) Today there are about 500 million people living in Europe. The low degree of genetic variation is good news for medical researchers as it will make it easier to isolate the genes that underpin common diseases.
The second article however gives the impression that the ancestry of Europeans is more complicated. This article claims that 80% of Europeans are descended from just two ancient groups of hunter-gatherers. The more traditional view claimed that most Europeans were descended from Neolithic farmers who arrived much later. Researchers have found that most modern European men have inherited their Y chromosome from Palaeolithic ancestors who lived 25,000 and 40,000 years ago. The Y chromosome is passed on purely along patriarchal lines for the simple fact that it is only found in men.
Based on studies of 22 genetic markers on the Y chromosomes of European men, researchers built up a family tree of ancient populations. This indicated that 80% of the men who were descended from two ancient lineages. The oldest of these lineages is linked to people who came from Central Asia 35,000 to 40,000 years ago. These people established the Aurignacian culture which developed sophisticated rock art painting and tools. About half of modern European men are descended from these people.
The second lineage descends from a wave of migrants from the Middle East 25,000 years ago. They are linked to the Gravettian culture.
These new findings agree with earlier work on mitochondrial DNA which is passed on to children only by their mothers.
(Source: www.newscientist.com 16/5/01)
SUSTAINABLE POPULATION AUSTRALIA
Here are a few details extracted from the June 2001 newsletter of Sustainable Population Australia (formerly Australians for an Ecologically Sustainable Population).
- In 1974 France closed its borders to non-EEC immigrants and its immigration rate has been relatively small ever since. In fact it has been below 100,000 every year since 1973 despite France's population being three times that of Australia. In 1996 France's external debt was $117.6 billion. In 1999 Australias external debt was $222 billion. In 1999 France had net exports of $23.9 billion while Australia had net exports of minus $9 billion.
- According to ABS statistics in the year June 1999 to June 2000 Australias population grew by 219,900 (1.16%) to 19,157,000. This was made up of a natural increase of 120,800 and net immigration of 99,100. Almost half of the growth occurred in Sydney or Melbourne.
- Since the 1960s successive opinion polls have shown an increasing proportion of Australians want a smaller intake of migrants.
- World population reached 6.1 billion in mid-2000 and is currently growing at an annual rate of 1.3%, or 77 million people per year.
- Australias fertility rate at 1.76 is high by European standards. Spain has a rate of 1.23 and Italy 1.27.
IMMIGRATION ON THE RISE
An article by Bob Birrell in People and Place (vol 9, no 2, 2001) outlines the government's new immigration targets for this financial year (ie 2001-2002). Projected numbers are well over 100,000 and these are made up of a family category of 37,900, a skills category of 45,500 at least, special eligibility 1,600 and a humanitarian and refugees intake of 12,000. In addition there are another 8,000 "contingency" places for skilled migrants. These places are expected to be taken by overseas students gaining their qualifications here or those that have occupations on the "Migration Occupations in Demand List".
These figures give a total of 97,000 to 105,000 depending on how many of the contingency places are filled. A large proportion of the refugee places will go to illegals that are granted refugee status but there is no suggestion that other change of status cases will fall into the above figures. These could raise the final figures substantially not to mention the impact of those with New Zealand passports who come for the weekend and stay forever.
"When someone calls you a racist it is the most graceless way of admitting he has lost the argument."
Jared Taylor, "Arguments for Our Side" American Renaissance June 2001
"You know, when I was growing up here; the missions weren't bloody Club Med or anything; they weren't without their problems, but what you had were poor families that were basically functional, but now...
"What we are facing now is an epidemic of grog and drug addiction. Its like a whirlwind in the communities. It sucks in everyone. Even kids from stable families. We're talking about a social contagion. Its spreading all the time and dragging in more and more recruits."
Noel Pearson, quoted by Maxine McKew in The Bulletin 10/7/01
"FERAL FUTURES: The Untold Story of Australia's Exotic Invaders" by Tim Low, Viking, Ringwood 1999 (ISBN 0 670 88465 0)
Tim Low's comprehensive work deals with how numerous foreign species of fauna and flora have been introduced to Australia, deliberately or inadvertently, and the dangers posed to the natural environment.
Some of the worst problems come, not from the larger and more familiar ferals but from those less obvious such as garden plants, aquarium fish, invertebrates and even fungi. Take dieback in native forests for example. This appears to be due to the accidental introduction of cinnamon fungus (phytophthora cinnamomi). Related fungi attack fruit and vegetables. The spores for these fungi are hardly likely to be detected by the average person and can be accidentally transported in pot soil or even the soil on bulldozer blades or car tyres.
Another barely detected import caused a mass death amongst pilchards along half of Australias coastline. The disease was caused by an exotic herpes virus, which may have been introduced in frozen pilchards, or fishmeal fed to farm tuna. Australian tuna farms import more than 10,000 tonnes of seafood each year without quarantine inspection.
According to Tim Low nurseries, pet shops and botanic gardens can also be serious sources of introduced pests. He even argues that gardening is damaging Australias environment more than mining. Plants that are attractive and harmless in the garden can have a devastating effect once established in the native environment. In fact garden plants make up 30% of all noxious weeds including seven of our 18 worst environmental weeds. Examples include the rubber vine which has smothered vast areas of our rainforests, the athel pine which has displaced red gums along many inland rivers, and the water hyacinths which smothers lakes, rivers and dams.
Low devotes a chapter to one of our better known pests, the cane toad. These originated in South America and were introduced to various countries in the hope that they would eliminate insect pests. A batch of toads was brought to Australia in 1935 in the hope that they would devour the greyback cane beetle that afflicted our sugar farms. The cane toad had no effect on the cane beetle but it developed an appetite for apiarists bees. Due to its poisonous skin and glands both dogs and native animals like goannas and quolls (tiger cats) that eat the toad generally died. Meanwhile the toads multiplied and it spread from Queensland to the Northern Territory and New South Wales.
While the cane toad is our only noxious amphibian the other branches of the animal kingdom are well represented among our feral invaders. Low lists 24 mammals, 26 birds, six reptiles and 31 fish. Imported invertebrates are well represented.
While exotic species have been established here a large number of native Australian species have found homes overseas. The brushtail possum and five species of wallaby are now found in New Zealand. A few wallaby colonies have been established in Hawaii and Scotland. Kookaburras have established in New Zealand and Florida in the US has flocks of budgerigars. The infamous redback spider has turned up on toilet seats in Japan, New Zealand and Tristan da Cunha.
Perhaps the most dramatic establishments of Australian natives have been our flora. Florida now has large forests almost exclusively comprising Australian paperbarks and she-oaks. Parts of South Africa are infested with wattles and eucalypts are rampant in Zimbabwe.
Whether its exotics in Australia or our fauna and flora colonising other countries, most ferals are not likely to disappear. Biological or chemical means may reduce their impact but this brings in further complications. For example the biological control of feral olive trees could also impact on trees grown by the olive industry.
The danger of further pests being introduced is very real. The growth in international trade is a source of danger. The World Trade Organisation sees quarantine laws as possible surrogate tariffs. WTO guidelines expect countries to favour trade over the need to protect their environments and industries from introduced pests. Plants and animals, even aquarium fish can harbour organisms that may escape to the natural environment. Second hand farm machinery is sometimes transported without being thoroughly cleaned to ensure no insects, spores or seeds are on board.
"THE PAULINE HANSON STORY" by John Pasquarelli, New Holland Publishers Pty Ltd, Frenchs Forest 1998 (ISBN 1 86436 341 X)
This book on Pauline Hanson and her early and highly controversial career in politics is written by John Pasquarelli, Hanson's former adviser and minder. As such it gives insights from someone who had an intimate knowledge of the genesis of the Pauline Hansons One Nation Party.
While Pasquarelli was sympathetic to Hanson on ideological grounds he was disappointed that she was as keen on perks as other politicians. He was exasperated by her failure to study up on background reading and the internal politics that developed in her electoral office.
Perhaps more worrying was the hysterical reaction of Hanson's opponents. Demonstrations were well publicised but much slimier tactics were employed by some. Vile and threatening messages came through the office e-mail while some sickos actually stuck razor blades into envelopes in the hope of injuring people who opened them.
Considering the recent upsurge in the fortunes of Hanson and One Nation the book may seem a little outdated. Nevertheless it should be of use to anyone wishing to delve into the career of Pauline Hanson.
"CAPE YORK: The Savage Frontier" by Rodney Liddell, published by the author 1996 (ISBN 0 646 28348 0)
Rodney Liddell's book is an interesting mix of history, anthropology and Aboriginal issues. Most chapters contain interesting stories from the history of northern Queensland and the Torres Strait. There are chapters on the Kennedy Expedition, the gold rush on the Palmer River, cyclones, shipwrecks and other occurrences that make the history of this region so interesting.
One particularly interesting chapter deals with the unhappy fate of Mary "Lizzie" Watson. Back in the 1880s Mary had been left at her home at Lizard Island with her baby son and two Chinese servants while her husband sailed north searching for sea slugs. The small group on Lizard Island were attacked by natives, apparently with cannibalistic motives. One Chinaman was killed and the other suffered spear wounds. Mary fired at the blacks and drove them away. Fearing further attacks Mary with her baby and the wounded Chinese servant tried to escape the island using a bisected water tank as a boat. They made it to another island but failing to find fresh water or attract the attention of a passing ship, all three perished.
Liddell devotes a chapter to his ideas on the origins of Australias Aboriginals. He dismisses the claim that the people we know as Aboriginals are the descendants of the first people to live in Australia. He asserts that the original inhabitants were of the same race as Papuans but were largely displaced by a Pre-Dravidian people who were the ancestors of present-day Aboriginals. He cites as evidence the woolly hair of the indigenous Tasmanians as against the straight or wavy hair of the mainlanders. Other Pre-Dravidians include the Veddah of Sri Lanka and various indigenous groups in India, Malaysia and the Celebes.
What happened to the original woolly haired inhabitants? Liddell suggests that they were largely wiped out on the mainland by ancestors of present-day Aborigines, a few survivors still being attacked when the first whites arrived.
Liddell's assertion that more than one race of people inhabited Australia before white settlement could very well be true, although the story is probably be much more complicated than the one he outlines.
Another matter he disputes is the estimates of the Aboriginal population in 1788. For years it was claimed to be 300,000 but recently, probably more because of politics than real evidence, figures of 700,000 or more have been claimed. Liddell asserts that the figure of 300,000 could be too high rather than too low. He states on page 6 of the book:
"Even this figure could be excessive when one considers the thousands that died each year from disease and thousands more from their savage tribal warfare in which entire tribes were massacred by their powerful opponents.
The belief that they lived in a lotus land of plenty, free of violence and disease is the romanticised dream of individuals who are unable to relate to the violent realities of the times.
The truth of the matter is that the aborigines lived in a very harsh and dangerous environment."
Liddell questions quite a lot that has been written by historians and other academics. In fact he devotes a chapter to Academic Blunders. For instance he points out that noted anthropologist, Norman Tindale often made mistakes in identifying which tribe lived in a particular area. Similarly historians have attributed crimes committed by others to the famous Frank Jardine. He continues this theme and details how a television documentary also falsely accused Jardine of committing massacres against Aborigines whereas he actually went out of this way to try and save one tribe from another.
Liddells book is certainly not politically correct, in fact he tends to criticise those that are. This of course makes it all the more interesting.