Author: <span class="vcard">Justin Campbell</span>

Rock stars of the counter-counterculture

In July this year I arrived at the Brisbane convention centre to hear right-wing YouTubers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux speak on their Australian tour. The scene in the large foyer seemed more like a rock concert than a speaker tour. Hundreds of people were waiting outside buying T-Shirts with slogans like, “It’s OK to be white, “West is best” and “Feminism is cancer”. The experience was unlike anything I’d ever seen in my entire time being involved with politics. A normal right-wing political gathering usually involves a few dozen political tragics, usually men, quietly chatting while waiting to listen to a political speech. This was entirely different, and these weren’t the usual suspects I’d come to recognise. The crowd was the most diverse I’d ever seen. Young and old, men and women, white and black, gay and straight. Through the power of YouTube Southern and Molyneux had reached the Read the rest

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How inclusive is your childcare?

Last week, while organising an event on Eventbrite, I stumbled across an event organised by Inclusion Support Queensland, a key architect of Australia’s childcare industry’s National Quality Framework and Standards. Targeted at early childhood teachers and titled ‘National Quality Standard: Inclusion in Practice’, the event promised to ‘explore how inclusion underpins the National Quality Standard.’

The term “inclusion” is problematic in the context of the childcare industry’s National Quality Standards, since it refers to both disability access and cultural inclusion. While there’s a general expectation that the industry complies with anti-discrimination law in ensuring accessibility and inclusiveness of all children regardless of their cultural background or disabilities, the “inclusion” imperative can become a multi-headed hydra, used to impose narrower and more ideologically driven cultural inclusion policies that many parents may find problematic.

Australia’s childcare system is regulated by National Quality Framework (NQF), introduced in 2010. The NQF comprises: Read the rest

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54 billion reasons why HECS needed reform

Last week the Government secured the required votes in the Senate to pass the Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment (Student Loan Sustainability) Bill 2018. It now looks likely the Government will succeed in passing its proposed changes through the Senate when parliament sits again in August. The amendment will replace the existing HECS-HELP repayment schedule with a new schedule lowering the income at which repayments commence from $55,874 to $45,000.

The changes have been predictably unpopular with students and millennials. Junkee a left-leaning youth news site responded to the news with student focused articles such as, ‘We Asked 7 Students What The HECS Changes Mean To Them’(Spoiler Alert: they all hated the changes and complained that graduates would now be forced to live in poverty).

The HECS-HELP system requires that graduates repay their HECS-HELP debt via the tax system – effectively increasing the amount of tax Read the rest

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Why do you hate the environment?

Whenever I object to the government banning plastic bags or tripling my electricity bill, I’m always asked, “Why do you hate the environment?” The truth is: I don’t. What I do hate is environmentalism. I hate its eco-austerity, its quasi-religious demands for penance and its anti-human rejection of progress. I love the environment, its eco-diversity, clean air and its beauty. What I’m not prepared to do is give up on human progress and economic development for some vision of an environmental nirvana.

Last year, I travelled to Sydney for the Australian Libertarian Society’s Friedman Conference. My original Airbnb cancelled last minute and as a last resort I booked a room in “Sydney’s sustainability house”. The Ultimo terrace house was completely off the grid, it generated its own solar electricity and stored it in batteries. The house used rainwater that my host informed me was cleaner than Sydney’s tap water. Read the rest

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No offence: but you’re going to hell

Rugby union player and devout Christian Israel Folau views on homosexuality has caused a maelstrom of controversy. On Instagram Folau was asked, ‘What is God’s plan for gay people?’ His reply, ‘Hell. Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.’ has been heavily criticised in both mainstream and social media.

Many commentators have called for Folau to be penalised by Rugby Australia and have called for major sponsors of the game to withdraw their sponsorship. In response to the controversy a Qantas spokesperson said ‘as a sponsor of Rugby Australia, we’re supportive of their approach towards tolerance and inclusion, which aligns with our own. We’ve made it clear to Rugby Australia that we find the comments very disappointing.’

There have been some claims in the media that Qantas is considering pulling its sponsorship of the sport, however there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of this apart from Read the rest

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How we shirked our duty to offend

An axiom attributed to Leonardo da Vinci is that great artists steal. In that vein, I shamelessly steal from Spiked! editor Brendan O’Neill his phrase, a ‘duty to offend’. When I first heard this expression, I didn’t get it. A duty to offend? Surely not? The right to offend absolutely, but a duty? That’s going too far I thought. Since that time, I’ve seen people surrender territory in the marketplace of ideas. They abandoned the truth for fear of giving offence. It now matters less what is right, but what people feel is right.

It is inevitable that when we discuss issues of great consequence someone will be offended. In recent years we learned that there is no limit to what some will take offence to. Yet, despite this knowledge, we continue to kowtow to the perennially offended. In a shameful display of moral cowardice, we’ve shirked our duty to … Read the rest

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Queensland’s undemocratic electoral process

Libertarians, classical liberals and small government conservatives will likely be disappointed in their options when they come to vote in Queensland’s election. Faced with a choice of choosing between the Liberal National Party, Labor, the Greens and One Nation many may choose to put a blank ballot paper in the box. Where’re the Liberal Democrats or the Australian Conservatives they will likely ask? The answer to that question has nothing to do with either of those parties’ willingness to run candidates, but Queensland’s byzantine process for registering political parties. It’s time to call bullshit on the corrupt processes used to prevent Queenslanders voting for the party of their choice.

The process for registering a political party in Queensland is outlined in the Electoral Act of 1992 and is described in the Political Party Handbook produced by the Queensland Electoral Commission. That process requires that a political party either have a … Read the rest

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Too controversial to debate: IQ’s role in education

Deplatforming has again become an issue after Teach First a UK not-for-profit organisation that recruits teachers from other academic disciplines removed an article by Toby Young director of the New Schools Networks arguing IQ was the single biggest predictor of student outcome and there were limits to what schools can do to overcome IQ inequity.

Teach First initially published the article with a rebuttal from Sonia Blandford. They later removed the article stating on Twitter: “We made a mistake. We published 2 blogs with opposing views as part of a recent debate on education. One was wrong. We’ve removed it. Sorry.” They replaced Young’s post with a longer explanation for why the article was removed. Stating that, “The aim was to drive debate. But we shouldn’t have published his blog, even with the rebuttal: it was against what we believe is true and against our values and vision. We apologise. Read the rest

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