Australia

At least China has a policy in The Pacific

B9FE92B2-F4E1-42D4-B633-0E0B2B64B4A0.jpeg

Australian International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells has attacked China’s aid to Pacific nations. Her argument was that China was lending funds to Pacific nations on unfavourable terms and constructing “useless buildings” and “roads to nowhere” in the region. Even if that were so, doesn’t this expose the Minister’s own inadequate policy? Shouldn’t she be preventing such activity by offering more favorable terms and better advice on infrastructure? Isn’t it China’s business to decide whether it deems such spending a waste?

Fierravanti-Wells said to The Australian,

You’ve got the Pacific full of these useless buildings which nobody maintains, which are basically white elephants … I’ve gone to islands and you’ll be driving along on some back road and all of a sudden you see this Chinese road crew building a road to nowhere and you think ‘hmm, what’s all that about’,”

It is all very well firing pot shots at China for its active Pacific policy but at least it has one. Indeed if the end result is that Pacific nations end up agreeing to China’s influence they do so willingly. The Minister can’t claim that these nations are not happy about the situation. Afterall had the ‘international development’ portfolio team done its homework it could see that China has pursued this policy for decades in Africa, Latin America, Pakistan and the Middle East. Who knew?

China has been a poster child of stepping up and filling the void left by The West. China understands that the nations we won’t deal with on the basis of human rights records, dictatorships and the like make perfect bed fellows which leads to even juicier returns provided said despots get the right ‘incentives’. China is not working to virtues.

How can we be surprised? UN sanctions are slapped on North Korea to bring it to heel. Two weeks later Chinese oil ships are trading with North Korea. No cleaner example of China’s disregard for world opinion. China is a master of strategy. It knows it will be stronger than the US in time. 20, 30 or 40 years  is of little concern. Just get the chess pieces in place. Find vulnerable or willing nations off the radar screen and show them love so they reciprocate in ways that strengthens Beijing’s policy directives.

There should be little surprise with this ‘transactional’ Australian government in allowing this state of affairs to occur. Because Tonga or PNG rate less important than China, Japan or the US in terms of trade dollars we apportion the same relative importance to their strategic value. That is about the level of the thinking.

China has the opposite view. It knows that buying influence in Port Moresby with new roads or bridges allows concessions where they really want them. Naval ports. The Chinese have already got East Timor to agree to a trading port which will accept ‘visits’ from PLA Navy vessels.

Our foreign policy is so poorly thought out that even Obama censured us for leasing a port to China! When we’re getting lessons from Obama on foreign policy what more proof do we want for the clueless ineptitude of our government? We’re too busy trying to bribe electorates with multi billion dollar submarine programs where the contractor isn’t even sure it can design what it promised, not to mention arriving in 50 years!

So the Minister best just understand the world we live in. With 5 prime ministers in 10 years is it any wonder we can’t formulate a coherent long term strategy? Australia can moan all it likes about China but its the smug nature of our political class who need to wake up. Complaining to PNG about it’s wealthy sugar daddy is unlikely to find a soothing voice if we offer nothing in return.

By the way, China will only be inspired to keep at it. If anything we’ve only highlighted how our of touch we are in responding and that must bring smiles all around.

Let’s hope the Feds don’t take the same biases in investigations

CF3369CC-B6BB-49BC-AA1E-D30D6F053C46.jpeg

Here we go again. The slippery slope of ‘diversity’ which does everything else other than promote inclusivity because by its very nature it is all about singling out exclusivity. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) brazenly states in its recruitment campaign that they want to get to 50/50 women. Of course there is no issue with hiring women. No ifs or buts. If you are a male, your chances of joking the AFP will be diminished no matter how qualified you might be. What has gender got to do with work performance, let alone the desire to ‘protect and serve’? In most police forces around the world the split is 70/30 men/women. Maybe it is just reflective of individual choices in careers rather than women being selectively discouraged?

The AFP wrote in response to their post,

There’s been a lot of commentary on the fact that we’re targeting women with this recruitment. We’d like to clarify a few things.

In the AFP, women currently comprise 22% of sworn police and 13.5% of protective security officers. Our goal is to increase this proportion to 35% in both streams by 2021.

Today’s ‘special measure’ recruitment action is designed to supplement our current recruitment process – we already have a pool of suitable male and female candidates who applied recently.

This action we’re taking will provide us with additional female candidates. It’s not going to displace existing recruitment pools and it will require applicants to meet all the existing gateways.

Under Section 7D of the Sex Discrimination Act, the special measures we’re taking to achieve substantive equality between men and women in this organisation are legal.”

This lame excuse is yet another spineless rolling over to pander to political correctness. If. 20 candidates apply for 10 positions and there are 10 men and 10 women, wouldn’t it be best to hire 10 women if they were better qualified for ability than the 10 men? Or vice versa? So hire 5 extremely qualified women and 5 inept males just to keep a balance?

Last month CM spoke of the same garbage ‘diversity’ argument in the army.

Recruiters at the ADF have been told they must hire women or face relocation if they don’t comply. The recruiters say there are no jobs available for men in the in the infantry as a rifleman or artilleryman. But these positions are marked as ‘recruit immediately’ if a female applies. If a 50kg woman is in the artillery a 43.2kg M-107 shell is over 80% of her weight. An 80kg man would be lifting the same shells at around half of his weight. This is basic physics.

The West Australian newspaper reported one recruiter who said, “This is political correctness gone mad. I don’t care if it is a man or a woman – I just want to get the best person for the job.”

Yet the political correctness is promoted from the top. Defence chief, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, stressed the importance of diversity for the ADF. “A diverse workforce is all about capability. The greater our diversity, the greater the range of ideas and insights to challenge the accepted norm, assess the risks, see them from a different perspective, and develop creative solutions.”

So once again we are told to view this nonsense as completely acceptable. That the AFP puts gender above ability. Ability and passion are all that matters. Shame on the AFP for having a blonde white woman instead of one from a coloured background for maximum virtue signaling mileage. For all of the AFP’s expertise in forensic science it is an embarrassment to see them use a most flawed identikit for recruitment.

So what is next after the 50/50 target is hit? After all the AFP seeks to match society. Surely what follows is balance in sexual orientation, faith, race and other irrelevant aspects which should be irrelevant to job performance – all in the name of diversity – what a joke. Let men and women chose the AFP of their own volition and take the best of the crop.

Welcome to the nanny state.

Dick Turpin Turnbull will chase away foreign capital

IMG_9810.JPG

I was asked by a client this week on what I thought of Australia’s political climate. I said to him, “if you asked me 15-20 years ago I’d safely argue that it was the only country in the region which could boast incredibly stable government, sensible economic policy and a safe place to park your money. Today I can’t say with hand on heart that this is the Australia you are investing in today. What I will say is that you should keep your powder dry because it will become a ‘pound shop’ in the not too distant future with a weaker currency, higher rates and fire sale asset prices.”

He asked if I could elaborate. I replied “we have had 5 prime  ministers in almost as many years. Before that we never saw anything like that. Our political climate is vile and volatile. We now have a government that is seeking to put in place knowingly unsound policies to arrest poll declines rather than try to fix an out of control deficit. What they are failing to see is that bashing big banks (especially for a conservative Coalition government) out of the blue chases off investment (Alan Joyce and Don Argua are right about that). Foreign investors must wonder whether they may fall foul of knee-jerk regulations and decide the risk is not worth it. So in answer to your question the current climate is going to offer some fantastic opportunities down the line because all of the political turmoil will eventually force change and buying into the market leading into that will be your best bet.”

So with our Dick Turpin highwayman robber at the helm we invite unwelcome flight of capital. If you want to create jobs, growth, stability and invite foreign investment you do so by providing a platform that supports it. It isn’t won by bashing industry, cranking up public spending and hiking taxes. It is done by making yourself the safest place to invest and all the while that happens the risk falls meaning capital is not only cheaper but more abundant. This isn’t trickle down economics but sound policy. Sadly talking of net debt isn’t going to save this government and what is worse Opposition leader Bill Shorten wants to outspend a budget that makes the Sultan of Brunei’s giveaways look like Venezuelan austerity measures.

Australia – the penal colony as of 2016

Convicts.png

The Australian Bureau of Statistics notes the number of prisoners in adult corrective services custody increased by 8% from 36,134 prisoners at 30 June, 2015 to 38,845 at 30 June, 2016. The national imprisonment rate was 208 prisoners per 100,000 adult population, an increase of 6% from 196 prisoners per 100,000 adult population in 2015.

The number of unsentenced prisoners in adult corrective services custody increased by 22%, from 9,898 at 30 June, 2015 to 12,111 at 30 June, 2016. This follows a 21% increase from 2014 to 2015. Sentenced prisoners increased by 2% from 26,163 to 26,649 prisoners.

By State as at June 30, 2016

New South Wales

  • The number of adult prisoners in New South Wales prisons was 12,629, an increase of 7% (832 prisoners) from 2015.
  • New South Wales had the largest adult prisoner population nationally, accounting for 33% of the total Australian adult population.
  • The adult imprisonment rate was 211 prisoners per 100,000 adult population, an increase from 200 prisoners per 100,000 adult population in 2015.
  • Just over half (52% or 6,517 prisoners) of prisoners had previously been imprisoned under sentence.
  • The most common offence/charge was acts intended to cause injury (21% or 2,653 prisoners), followed by illicit drug offences (17% or 2,140 prisoners) and sexual assault (12% or 1,476 prisoners).

Victoria

  • The number of adult prisoners in Victorian prisons was 6,522, an increase of 5% (303 prisoners) from 2015.
  • The adult imprisonment rate was 138 prisoners per 100,000 adult population, an increase from 134 in 2015.
  • Half (50% or 3,246 prisoners) of all prisoners had previously been imprisoned under sentence.
  • The most common offence/charge was acts intended to cause injury (18% or 1,175 prisoners), followed by illicit drug offences (14% or 931 prisoners) and sexual assault (13% or 845 prisoners).

Queensland

  • The number of adult prisoners in Queensland prisons was 7,746, an increase of 6% (428 prisoners) from 2015.
  • The adult imprisonment rate was 206 prisoners per 100,000 adult population, an increase from 198 prisoners per 100,000 adult population in 2015.
  • Two-thirds (64% or 4,946 prisoners) of prisoners had previously been imprisoned under sentence.
  • The most common offence/charge was acts intended to cause injury (22% or 1,730 prisoners) followed by unlawful entry with intent (14% or 1,085 prisoners).

South Australia

  • The number of adult prisoners in South Australian prisons was 2,948, an increase of 8% (216 prisoners) since 2015.
  • The adult imprisonment rate was 219 prisoners per 100,000 adult population, an increase from 204 prisoners per 100,000 adult population in 2015.
  • Half of all prisoners (50% or 1,468 prisoners) had previously been imprisoned under sentence.
  • The most common offence/charge was acts intended to cause injury (18% or 534 prisoners), followed by sexual assault (13% or 374 prisoners) and offences against justice/government (12% or 350 prisoners). Of the 350 prisoners with an offence against justice/government, 195 were sentenced prisoners with an offence of breach of community based order.

Western Australia

  • The number of adult prisoners in Western Australian prisons was 6,329, an increase of 14% (774 prisoners) from 2015. This was the highest percentage increase in prisoners for all states and territories.
  • The adult imprisonment rate was 314 prisoners per 100,000 adult population, an increase from 278 prisoners per 100,000 adult population in 2015.
  • Three in five prisoners (60% or 3,783 prisoners) had previously been imprisoned under sentence.
  • The most common offence/charge was acts intended to cause injury (20% or 1,258 prisoners), followed by unlawful entry with intent (16% or 1,037 prisoners) and illicit drug offences (13% or 800 prisoners).

Tasmania

  • The number of adult prisoners in Tasmanian prisons was 569, an increase of 10% (50 prisoners) from 2015.
  • The adult imprisonment rate was 141 prisoners per 100,000 adult population, an increase from 130 prisoners per 100,000 adult population in 2015.
  • Just over three in five prisoners (61% or 349 prisoners) had previously been imprisoned under sentence.
  • The most common offence/charge was acts intended to cause injury (21% or 118 prisoners), followed by homicide (12% or 66 prisoners).

Australian Capital Territory

  • The number of adult prisoners in Australian Capital Territory prisons was 441, an increase of 11% (45 prisoners) from 2015.
  • The adult imprisonment rate was 144 prisoners per 100,000 adult population, an increase from 131 prisoners per 100,000 adult population in 2015.
  • Nearly three-quarters of prisoners (74% or 324 prisoners) had previously been imprisoned under sentence. This was the largest proportion of any state or territory (the national average was 56%).
  • The most common offence/charge was acts intended to cause injury (27% or 120 prisoners), followed by sexual assault (12% or 51 prisoners).

Northern Territory

  • The number of adult prisoners in Northern Territory prisons was 1,666, an increase of 5% (73 prisoners) from 2015.
  • The adult imprisonment rate was 923 prisoners per 100,000 adult population, an increase from 885 prisoners per 100,000 adult population at 30 June 2015. The Northern Territory continues to have the highest imprisonment rate of any state or territory, with the national rate in 2016 averaging 208 prisoners per 100,000 adult population.
  • Seven in ten prisoners (72% or 1,194 prisoners) had previously been imprisoned under sentence.
  • The most common offence/charge was acts intended to cause injury (46% or 769 prisoners) followed by sexual assault (11% or 187 prisoners).

Looking at repeat offenders, we note that Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders have a disproportionately higher rate than non-indigenous categories, especially men.

Repeat Offenders.png

Although Australian prisoners make up around 79% of all inmates, “foreign born” prisoners by background show the following statistics. While Muslims represent around 2.2% of the Australian population, they represent around 14% of foreign born prisoners. Lebanon, Sudan and Iraq make up the largest components relative. Looking at the Asian population at 12% of total, they average around 25% of the foreign-born prison population. Vietnam, HK and China are the main perpetrators.  The ABS do not break down ethnicity of children born to migrants.

Foreign Offenders.png

It seems that physical assault, illicit drug and sexual offenses top most states and incarceration rates continue to rise in every state and territory.

In summary, while the numbers for both sentenced and unsentenced prisoners have continued to rise, the unsentenced population has grown at a faster rate.

Ten years ago, one in five prisoners was unsentenced, whereas now, the unsentenced population has grown to account for one third of all prisoners.

Over half (55 per cent) of all unsentenced prisoners had an offence of either acts intended to cause injury (29 per cent), illicit drug offences (15 per cent) or unlawful entry with intent (11 per cent).

One in four unsentenced prisoners identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Finally something in the Aussie trophy cabinet

JM

Congratulations to Aussie Jack Miller for his first ever win in MotoGP at Assen in Holland. The race was in treacherous conditions and he managed to win on a satellite bike.

Miller moved to MotoGP from Moto 3 where he finished 2nd in the championship in 2014.

It really is a cashless society

cash
A recent ME Bank survey in Australia found only 46 per cent of households were able to save each month. Just 32 per cent could raise $3000 in an emergency and 50 per cent aren’t confident of meeting their obligations if unemployed for three months.

A recent Federal Reserve survey in the US found only 53 percent of respondents indicate that they could cover a hypothetical emergency expense costing $400 without selling something or borrowing money. Thirty-one percent of respondents report going without some form of medical care in the past year because they could not afford it. So that is 47% who cannot raise $400 in an emergency.

60% of Americans get most of their income from social security. There are 30 million Americans who are receiving some form of disability related payment.

disability

So the US has a $25 trillion unfunded liability. That is not an easy gap to close and the only real way to fix it will be to massively cut back.

Whichever way you cut it – this is not a positive and as we have so many living pay-cheque to pay-cheque do people question why mainstream parties are starting to get a wake up call via the Trump & Sanders show.