Hanson’s ‘controversial, outlandish’ comments on Islam draw disappointment

Senator Pauline Hanson’s criticism of Islam in an interview on ABC’s ‘Insiders’ yesterday has drawn disappointment from Kuranda Seyit, Secretary of the Forum on Australia Islamic Relations.

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“She knows that by making these controversial outlandish statements she’s going to get more interest in her political endeavors,” he told SBS.

Senator Hanson said that Islam was “purporting” to be a religion, but was actually a political ideology bent on imposing Sharia law.

“They hate western society, the want to change us,” she said.

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One Nation’s platform includes calls for a Royal Commission into Islam, a halt on all Muslim immigration, a public ban on facial veils and a ban on Halal certification.

Mr Seyit said her statements on Sunday were “very, very disappointing”.

“All it does is divide out society and create more hatred in the world, and I think that she really needs to wake up to herself and take more responsibility as someone who is an elected representative of the community,” he said.

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On Saturday afternoon, Prime Minister Turnbull delivered a response to the Hanson interview in comments to a press pack in Queensland – he criticised her stance on vaccinations and her admiration of Vladimir Putin.

Fairfax correspondent Adam Gartrell said Turnbull should have weighed in on her anti-Islam comments as well.

“She says she wants to keep Australians safe but the people who actually risk their lives doing just that say Hanson’s rhetoric – holding the vast majority of Muslims responsible for the sins of a misguided few – has the opposite effect,” he wrote.

“Turnbull should call her out on that, too.”

The Prime Minister’s office noted Mr Turnbull was responding to a question when he commented on Putin, though he did raise criticism of Hanson’s anti-vaccination stance of his own volition.

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Pauline Hanson stands by Putin praise

Pauline Hanson has stood by her praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying she doesn’t care what happens in his country and she admires him because he shows strength.

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The One Nation leader told ABC TV on Sunday Mr Putin was “a strong man” who she respected a great deal and was the kind of strong leader Australia needed.

But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Mr Putin and the stronghold he had on his country should not be admired, pointing out Russia was subject to international sanctions over its role in shooting down the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, killing 298 people including 38 Australians, and for invading Ukraine.

“Vladimir Putin’s Russia is not and should not be an object of admiration in any respect,” Mr Turnbull told reporters.

“It should withdraw from the territory it’s occupied in the Ukraine and it should provide the information that we know they have on the identity of the people who shot down the MH17 airliner and in doing so murdered 38 Australians.”

Senator Hanson queried the proof of Russia’s involvement in the atrocity.

“I do not like to see any lives lost by any crash or that, but can you tell me honestly, do you know for sure that you know he was actually the one who did it?” Senator Hanson asked reporters in Perth.

“There’s been speculation.

“What I have said is the man stands up for his country, for his people. He’s a proud leader of his nation and he has the support of his people.

“I would dearly love to see one of our two leaders stand up and deliver a speech like he has done on the floor of his parliament. I wish some of our leaders here would have some of that backbone.

“Because that’s what people want, to be proud that people are Australians, that those who come here will be Australians and integrate and assimilate into this country.”

Asked how she felt about the way people who spoke against Mr Putin were sometimes dealt with, Senator Hanson laughed and said: “What happens in Russia, I really don’t care. It’s all about here.”

Labor frontbencher Brendan O’Connor found Senator Hanson’s comments offensive and contemptible.

“It’s quite extraordinary that someone so undemocratic, someone who it would appear has been involved in the deaths of so many Australians would be a hero of Senator Hanson,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

She also stood by comments that parents should have their children tested for allergic reactions to vaccinations before proceeding with them, but denied she was anti-vaccination.

Pollution kills 1.7m children a year: WHO

A quarter of all global deaths of children under five are caused by unhealthy or polluted environments including dirty water and air, second-hand smoke and a lack or adequate hygiene, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.

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Such unsanitary and polluted environments can lead to fatal cases of diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia, the WHO said in a report, and kill 1.7 million children a year.

“A polluted environment is a deadly one – particularly for young children,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a statement. “Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water.”

In the report – Inheriting a sustainable world: Atlas on children’s health and the environment – the WHO said harmful exposure can start in the womb, and then continue if infants and toddlers are exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution and second-hand smoke.

This increases their childhood risk of pneumonia as well as their lifelong risk of chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma. Air pollution also increases the lifelong risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, the report said.

The report also noted that in households without access to safe water and sanitation, or that are polluted with smoke from unclean fuels such as coal or dung for cooking and heating, children are at higher risk of diarrhoea and pneumonia.

Children are also exposed to harmful chemicals through food, water, air and products around them, it said.

Maria Neira, a WHO expert on public health, said this was a heavy toll, both in terms of deaths and long-term illness and disease rates. She urged governments to do more to make all places safe for children.

“Investing in the removal of environmental risks to health, such as improving water quality or using cleaner fuels, will result in massive health benefits,” she said.

Five-fold variation in specialist fees

Some Australians are paying five times more than others to see a specialist depending on their need and location, according to new research.

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Analysis of Medicare claims published in the Medical Journal of Australia found certain states had higher bulk billing rates and that fees varied by an average of over 70 per cent.

In the field of neurology, the difference between the lowest and highest out of pocket expenses was approximately $189.

The research has led to calls for greater transparency in setting specialist charges.

Professor Gary Freed, of the Centre for Health Policy at the University of Melbourne, and Amy Allen, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, analysed Medicare claims data from 2015 for an initial outpatient appointment with a consultant physician in eleven frequently used non-surgical specialties.

These included cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, geriatric medicine, haematology, immunology/allergy, medical oncology, nephrology, neurology, respiratory medicine, and rheumatology.

Most visits required a significant out of pocket payment, with specialties bulk-billing on average between 30 to 42 per cent of visits.

The highest rates of bulk-billing were in haematology (60 per cent) and medical oncology (53 per cent), and the lowest in geriatric medicine (17 per cent).

Large differences were also seen between the different states and territories.

Doctors in the Northern Territory bulk-billed 76 per cent of visits, a greater proportion than anywhere else.

Bulk-billing rates in NSW and South Australia were just above 40 per cent, while Western Australia was the only state with a rate below 20 per cent.

Currently, the authors suggest, there is no way for patients to know if paying more means better care.

“As there is no publicly available information about the quality of care in the outpatient setting or any validated outpatient quality measures available in Australia, these fee variations are not based on any objective information about the care provided by individual doctors,” they wrote

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) says doctors set fees based on a range of factors including the “complexity of care” and the costs of running a practice.

In recent years, the rebates provided through the Medical Benefits Scheme “have not kept pace with the costs of running a quality medical practice”, an RACP spokesperson said in a statement to AAP on Monday.

“This has been exacerbated by the rebate freeze,” they said.

The report authors say the policy of prohibiting insurance coverage for outpatient care may need to be reconsidered in light of the new data.

Asian-Australian candidate argues One Nation not racist

“This is a typical one of my signs that has been defaced.

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I’ve got many residents here who are kind enough to let me put the signs in the front of their yards, but this is what happens. They get defaced. The moment you put them up, they get defaced.”

The sign One Nation candidate Tshung Chang is holding is a picture of himself and the party’s leader, Pauline Hanson.

The word ‘racist; has been scrawled across the sign, with devil horns and fangs drawn on Senator Hanson’s face and a speech bubble from her mouth reading, “I don’t like anything.”

“This is the, uh, the nonsense that’s going on, that people want to perpetrate this myth that we are racist.”

Tshung Chang says he finds the graffiti ironic, considering he is of Chinese-Malaysian heritage.

But it could be argued the slur is directed at Pauline Hanson.

Critics of the One Nation leader say her maiden speech to the Australian parliament in 1996 revealed her racist views.

“I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians. Between 1984 and 1995, 40 per cent of all migrants into this country were of Asian origin. They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate.”

Tshung Chang, whose father is Chinese-Malaysian, was in his twenties at the time of those comments.

“I didn’t treat any of them negatively. I mean, she was just expressing her view. There’s nothing … what people have realised is there’s nothing racist in our policies. I’ve read them all. It’s about equality, treating everyone the same, okay? So it’s not favouring one group over another. That’s definitely not our policy. That’s not the One Nation policy. But people confuse that because of a statement made 20 years ago.”

Tshung Chang says former prime minister John Howard had expressed similar views with the Liberal Party’s One Australia policy in 1988, which aimed to reduce Asian migration.

“Somehow, people have forgotten, or forgiven, him for it because he became prime minister, whereas, Pauline’s view, it keeps on (coming) up. Look, I’ve also met Pauline on several occasions, and I can tell you she does not have a single racist bone in her whole body.”

The father of two says he was drawn to the party because it spoke plainly and he was fed up with the two major parties.

A self-described swinging voter, he joined the party three months ago and became the candidate for the Liberal-held, lower-house seat of Riverton.

State treasurer Mike Nahan holds it with a more than 12 per cent margin.

But Tshung Chang, who works in finance, says the Liberal-National Government has destroyed the state’s economic standing.

He dismisses the Government’s claim that a sharp rise in the state’s population during its mining boom, a dwindling share of the state’s GST* and falling iron-ore prices led to a record debt.

“They’re not listening, you know? Small-business owners can’t understand why they cannot balance the budget. If the government was run like a small business, the government would be bankrupt by now because of the huge deficits. So, these things … it appears to be quite an easy fix for all these things, from a small-business point of view, from many’s household-budget point of view, but it doesn’t seem to be getting through to the major parties.”

The 44-year-old Mr Chang arrived in Australia at around age 5 from Malaysia.

His father had studied in Perth during the 1970s under the Colombo Plan, where he had met his Caucasian mother.

Tshung Chang says, after working at a ratings agency in Hong Kong for nine years, he has adapted a philosophy on immigration derived from his ratings days.

“Anyone who comes here … I call it the Triple-A, being someone from a ratings-agency background. The highest possible credit rating was Triple-A. I think anyone who wants to come to Australia has to adopt what I call the Triple-A, which means ‘assimilate, accept and adapt’ to the Australian way of life. Lots of people have done it. Lots of people in Riverton have done that.”

Tshung Chang says many voters he has spoken with have not heard from the major parties during the campaign.

And political analyst Peter Kennedy says that may be correct.

He says there is strong anxiety in the electorate and the major parties have not been listening, especially to voters in the outer suburbs and regional areas.

“I think there’s a huge dissatisfaction with the major parties. There’s a feeling that the major parties have failed to deliver, and the people who have been attracted to One Nation, I think, they’re concerned about job security, they’re concerned about their families and jobs for their kids and just where the country’s heading. And I think they feel that the major parties aren’t providing the answer, they’re looking for something else.”

Mr Kennedy says One Nation’s views on immigration are not what is attracting people to the party as they may have previously.

He points to the party continuing to gain in popularity, with a recent poll putting them at about 13 per cent of the primary vote.

“It’s a protest against the major parties. It’s not necessarily huge support for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, because I don’t think that they’ve actually looked at all the policies. It’s more they don’t like what the major parties are doing, they’re looking for something else, and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation looks, on the surface, attractive.”

 

 

 

Retail sales rebound softly in Jan

Australian retail sales rebounded softly in January with economists attributing the rise in spending to volatility rather than a longer-term trend.

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Seasonally adjusted retail spending rose 0.4 per cent to $25.73 billion in January, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The rebound was led by household goods sales, which jumped 1.4 per cent, and cafe, restaurant and catering service sales rising 1.6 per cent.

Household goods sales were boosted by a 2.4 per cent jump in electrical and electronic goods sales.

Hardware, building and gardening supply sales also rebounded 1.1 per cent in January, after falling in December amid discounting due to a liquidation sale ahead the closure of Masters Home Improvement, Woolworths’ failed challenger to Bunnings.

Citi economists warns that the monthly pick-up in sales of household goods and at cafes, restaurants and catering services came after a few months of weakness.

“We, therefore, view the bounce as volatility rather than the start of a trend of secular strength, particularly given weakness in wages growth,” they said.

“The other reason why we view retail sales growth as weak is because of the ongoing discounting cycle and competitive pressure from new entrants that is keeping price growth well contained.”

Capital Economics chief economist Paul Dales said that even if growth in retail sales were to remain at 0.4 per cent in each of the final two months of the first quarter, it appeared that real consumption growth would still struggle to match the December quarter’s 0.9 per cent rise.

“And looking further ahead, we remain wary about the outlook for the household sector,” he said.

“In particular, tepid wage growth and modest employment growth will probably mean that real consumption growth this year falls short of last year’s 2.7 per cent.”

Smiling Renshaw riles India in Bangalore

As Virat Kohli resorted to toilet humour during the second Test in Bangalore, Matt Renshaw opted for his standard response to sledging.

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Australia will resume at 6-237 on day three of the absorbing contest, having built a 48-run lead thanks to half-centuries from Renshaw and Shaun Marsh.

Australia captain Steve Smith, who scored eight from 52 balls on a tense second day, swapped barbs with India counterpart Kohli throughout his innings.

Renshaw adopted a different tact when he was targeted with verbals throughout a four-hour stay at the crease.

“I just try to smile, because in my past experience smiling seems to unnerve the bowlers a bit more than talking back,” the 20-year-old said.

“They seemed to get quite frustrated. I trying to just enjoy it out there and have fun.

“I don’t try and say too much out there.”

The fresh-faced opener, who scored 60 to help Australia reach 6-237 and claim a 48-run lead at stumps on Sunday, revealed some of Kohli’s more light-hearted chat.

“I was just trying to enjoy it and laugh at what he was saying, because some of it was quite funny,” Renshaw said.

“He was just reminding me to run off and go to the toilet again, which happened in Pune, so it was quite funny.

“It was really loud out there … it’s something I’m probably not used to, but it’s about embracing different conditions and challenges.

“We all took it pretty well and we know that they’re trying to get under our skin because we’ve got a one-nil lead in the series.”

Renshaw, who is Australia’s leading run-scorer in the series and has faced more balls than any batsman from either side, exhibited remarkable composure for someone who had never set foot in India prior to arriving three weeks ago.

Playing just his sixth Test, Renshaw riled the opposition for some 196 balls.

Kohli was cantankerous when he put down a sharp slips catch. It came when Renshaw was on 29 and was the only chance he offered.

Ravichandran Ashwin raged when Renshaw stood his ground at the non-striker’s end, blocking the offspinner’s attempt to field the ball and allowing Smith to score a single.

Ishant Sharma was none too impressed with Renshaw’s impersonation of the veteran paceman’s eye-popping astonishment.

“It was just a grind, but we needed to bat the whole day and managed to do that,” Renshaw said.

Cheteshwar Pujara, who did his best to rile Renshaw from short leg, noted “when we play the Australian team there is always some sledging involved”.

“”It was all in the spirit of the game and there was nothing personal,” Pujara said.

Hanson vaccination stance branded ‘crazy’

Public health experts have joined a chorus of condemnation against One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson, who on Sunday voiced anti-vaccination sentiments in an appearance on the ABC’s ‘Insiders’ program.

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Senator Hanson urged parents to do their own research and accused the government of “blackmailing” parents by withholding welfare payments for un-vaccinated children.

“Don’t do that to people. That’s a dictatorship,” she said.

The Australian Medical Association voiced an incredulous reaction via Twitter.

“The AMA and doctors everywhere are happy to report that vaccines save lives, control, and eradicate disease,” the organisation said.

“Immunisation programs have achieved such great success, some people have become complacent. The stakes are too high for complacency.”

IF?? The AMA and doctors everywhere are happy to report that vaccines save lives, control, and eradicate disease @PaulineHansonOz #auspol pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/ZzrtvC151B

— AMA Media (@ama_media) March 5, 2017

AMA President Dr Michael Gannon tweeted that thousands could be maimed if vaccination denial spreads.

Former AMA President Brian Owler accused Senator Hanson of embracing conspiracy theories and being “dangerous and ignorant”.

Grattan Institute Health Director Stephen Duckett said he was “disgusted” by the senator’s comments.

“This is a situation where you’ve got a popular politician with a significant following who’s actually giving crazy, crazy medical advice,” he told ABC radio on Monday. 

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“She has to apologise and retract that statement,” the former head of the Department of Health said.

“Vaccines are safe,” he said. “I cannot stress how angry it makes one feel that she is putting lives at risk.

“If parents choose not to vaccinate their children, they are putting their children’s health at risk, and every other person’s children at risk too.

“It is a vital health objective to ensure that everybody is vaccinated.”

Labor leader Bill Shorten tweeted that vaccines save lives.

“One Nation’s campaign of misinformation is plain dangerous,” he said.

– with AAP

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Eels halves insist best is yet to come

They had the ball on a string on Sunday, but Parramatta halves pairing Clint Gutherson and Corey Norman insist they can only get better.

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Gutherson and Norman controlled the Eels’ opening-round win against Manly perfectly at Lottoland, each scoring a try in the 20-12 victory.

The match was the first the pair have been partnered together, and while Norman at times had the Manly defensive line fooled, he later told coach Brad Arthur he was unhappy with his performance.

“I was a bit tired and a few of my plays weren’t good enough – and a few of my kicks too,” Norman said.

Perhaps he will be happier when he revisits the tape this week.

He collected his own grubber to score the Eels’ first try, kicked a 40-20 to put them in the position for their second and then threw the last pass to Gutherson for the visitors’ third.

The pair also kept Manly pinned deep in their own half and limited the Sea Eagles to just 38 per cent of possession.

Parramatta forced the hosts to drop the ball out seven times after they were caught in their own in-goals, as Norman and Gutherson asserted their authority as the Eels barely gave the Sea Eagles a sniff.

Norman reverted to the No.7 jersey following Kieran Foran’s departure from the club last year, while Gutherson only shifted to the halves by Arthur when his new playmaking partner was suspended for the last eight matches of the season.

They first trained as pairing until Christmas, but barely had a week together in the New Year before Norman strained his hamstring at the Auckland Nines and sat at all of the Eels’ trial fixtures.

“We clicked there but we’re still a bit rusty,” Norman said.

“It was very good but in saying that we’ve got a lot to improve on.”

Meanwhile Gutherson said he was starting to settle into the No.6 jersey.

“I’m still learning the position,” he said.

“I’ve still got a bit of work to do with Norms. That will come in the next few rounds.”

Pauline Hanson is not racist, says Asian-Australian One Nation candidate

In her maiden speech to the Australian parliament more than twenty years ago, Pauline Hanson said Australia was in danger of being swamped by Asians.

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“They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate,” she told the house.

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West Australian One Nation candidate Tshung Chang whose father is Chinese-Malaysian was in his twenties at the time of the speech.

He had been born in Malaysia and migrated to his Australian mother’s home city of Perth in the late seventies.

Mr Chang said he did not consider Ms Hanson’s comments racist.

“I didn’t treat any of them negatively,” he said.

“She was just expressing a view.

“What people have realised is that there is nothing racist in our policies.

“I’ve read them. They’re about equality, treating everybody the same.”

Mr Chang said former Prime Minister John Howard had expressed similar views years earlier with the One Australia policy, which aimed to reduce Asian immigration.

“He was worried about that too, but somehow people have forgiven him for it because he became Prime Minister,” he said.

“Whereas with Pauline it keeps being brought up.

“I’ve met Pauline on several occasions and I can tell you that she doesn’t have a single racist bone in her whole body.”

Mr Chang says that the One Nation leader doesn’t have a “single racist bone in her body.”AAP

Chang’s ‘rating system’

Mr Chang came to Australia when he was about four years old.

Born to a Chinese-Malaysian father, who studied at university in Perth under the Colombo Plan, and a Caucasian-Australian mother, Mr Chang started his working life in finance.

He spent nine years in Hong Kong at a rating agency.

He has adapted his own ‘ratings system’ for immigrants to Australia.

“I think anyone that comes to Australia has to adopt what I call the ‘Triple A’, which means assimilate, accept and adapt to Australian way of life,” he said.

The father-of-two is contesting the Liberal-held lower house seat of Riverton at the WA election ON March 11.

Mr Chang said he was inspired to join politics and One Nation three months ago because he believed the Liberal-National government had led the state into financial ruin.

The WA government has argued a rising population, dwindling share of the GST and falling iron ore prices has contributed to the state’s record debt.

Mr Chang said if One Nation won the balance of power, the party would stop any new projects, push the federal treasurer to restructure the state’s share of GST revenue and reduce wasteful departmental spending.

“One of the things that drew me most was it’s one of the only parties that still calls a spade a spade,” he said.

“There are serious issues in the community and we have to speak honestly about them.

“If there’s pain we have to be honest about it.”

So thrilled to be running as PHON candidate in the seat of Riverton at . Please tweet me your thoughts and views pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/SQdyO2mNUN

— Tshung Chang (@Chang4Riverton) January 19, 2017One Nation speaking to the people

Political analyst Peter Kennedy said One Nation was listening to the electorate better than the major parties, particularly in the regions and outer suburbs.

He said the party was not defined by its stance on immigration anymore, but was now appealing to disaffected voters across a range of issues.

“There’s a feeling that the major parties have failed to deliver,” he said.

“The people who have been attracted to One Nation, they’re concerned about job security, they’re concerned about their families and jobs for their kids.

“And just where’s the country heading.”

Mr Kennedy said One Nation had evolved from its first inception but did not appear to be winning votes on its policies.

Some of those policies include moving some government departments to regional areas.

A crime policy aims to “adopt a zero tolerance approach to cultural practices that are either illegal or which conflict with Australian values and customs“.

As well as mandatory sentencing for assaulting a police animal.

“I think it’s a protest vote,” Mr Kennedy said.

“It’s not necessarily huge support for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation because I don’t think that they’ve actually looked at all the policies.

“It’s more they don’t like what the majors are doing, they’re looking for something else and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, on the surface, looks attractive.”

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