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Sheila Newman's blog

About Sheila Newman, social researcher


Click on "About Sheila Newman, social researcher" to read more and for links to books by Sheila and reviews.

It is hard to label me conventionally because I really write in a new paradigm, where social and physical sciences come together.

For sociologists an early start-point for my work was Catton & Dunlap. My first research thesis compared population, energy and environment policies in Australia and France. For biologists and zoologists, my theory is compatible with Richard Dawkins' work.

Lib candidate David Leyonhjelm opposes koala national park denies declining populations

Lib Candidate David Leyonhjelm says Northern NSW koalas are not endangered by logging. Animal lawyer, Angela Pollard, says, "Logging density has doubled, with an extra 140,000 ha of coastal forests targeted for clear-felling. She adds that the previous protections on retaining mature trees have also been removed, and this impacts most severely on the koalas’ main source of food tree. The new logging rules also remove the requirement to check for koalas in the canopy before a tree is felled."

Australian burden of disease for brain disorders almost twice global figure - New Report

Mindgardens Neuroscience Network (Mindgardens) has commissioned a white paper on the burden of disease and cost of brain disorders in AustraliaThe burden of all brain disorders in Australia accounted for 20.5 per cent of disability-adjusted life years, nearly twice the global figure of 11.1 per cent illustrating the scale of the health care challenge. The white paper reports the disease burden associated with neurological, mental health and substance use disorders is in excess of $74 billion. Between 2010 and 2017 substance misuse (drugs, alcohol) grew at 24.7 per cent, followed by neurological disorders at 15.6 per cent and mental health disorders by 8.6 per cent.

'Lives are being destroyed' - legal assistance funding needs urgent review, huge budget boost

The dire state of legal assistance funding in Australia has been highlighted as a matter of critical importance in the Law Council of Australia’s 2019-20 Pre-Budget Submission, with a boost of at least $310 million a year required to address critical gaps in the system.
Additional funding should also be provided to introduce Justice Impact Tests, improve resourcing of federal courts, and establish a National Justice Interpreter Scheme, said Law Council President, Arthur Moses SC.

2GB Podcast: Kelvin Thomson responds to Bill Shorten on wage stagnation in Australia

The opposition leader said this week that the next Federal Election will be a referendum on wages & the Reserve Bank Governor was saying he couldn’t understand why wages weren’t going up more given the underlying strength of the economy. Michael McLaren of 2GB Radio is joined by the Hon. Kelvin Thomson, former Federal Member for Wills now advisor for Sustainable Australia Party’s Clifford Hayes to talk about Bill Shorten’s declaration that the upcoming election will be a ‘referendum on incomes’.

Wildlife and domestic animals in Bunyip fires need RSPCA assistance - will they get it?

Wildlife carers and rescuers and local farmers have requested the RSPCA to provide its mobile vet clinic ready to assist the expected influx of injured and suffering animals as soon as people are allowed back into the areas currently affected by the Bunyip fire. Barrie Tapp, Senior Inspector for Animal Cruelty Australia Hotline, says the RSPCA and their mobile vet van are needed now. "We already have reports of animals dead and dying."

Massive Protest in Support of the Bolivarian Revolution Largely Ignored

While the world’s attention was focused on the Venezuelan opposition, as it tried to transport US aid into Venezuela against the government’s will, a major protest took place in Caracas that was opposed to US intervention in Venezuela.

Video and commentary first sourced at https://therealnews.com/stories/massive-protest-in-support-of-the-bolivarian-revolution-largely-ignored

"Hands Off Venezuela" Rallies Held in Cities Around the World

“Hands Off Venezuela” Rallies Held in Cities Around the World

TRNN correspondent Dimitri Lascaris reports on a protest at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office in Ottawa, Canada

"Hands Off Venezuela" Rallies Held in Cities Around the World

“Hands Off Venezuela” Rallies Held in Cities Around the World

TRNN correspondent Dimitri Lascaris reports on a protest at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office in Ottawa, Canada

Independent UN rights expert calls for compassion, not sanctions on Venezuela

The crisis in Venezuela will not be solved by sanctions that “can lead to starvation”, a UN-appointed rights expert said on Thursday. Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy, who reports to the Human Rights Council, issued the warning against the background of widespread suffering in the South American country, linked to spiralling economic woes and deep political uncertainty. (Article first published at United Nations site 31 January 2019.)

Trump's naked threats of war; Maduro's response

Trump made naked threats to invade Venezuela made on 19 February, in a speech truly evocative of Hitlers'. Instead of threatening Jews, Trump is threatening people he perceives as 'communists'. The unquestioning crowds, the dumbed-down US elite cheering war on, show the result of an American education system and press entirely given over to propaganda. US Congress, mostly robots under control by Neocon money, has to authorise any military action - but will they even try to stop it?

Sydney: Last Australian crew to carry iron ore for BHP and BlueScope return

The last Australian seafarers to carry iron ore for BHP and BlueScope — work that was undertaken for more than a century — will return home tomorrow after completing their final voyage to Dandong, China. “Scott Morrison should front up to Sydney Airport, meet these workers, and tell them why his government has rubber-stamped BHP and BlueScope replacing them with exploited foreign seafarers who are paid as little as $2 an hour.” (MUA Secretary.)

Groundhog day for Venezuela as US demands elected President Maduro surrender to its own appointed ‘president’

1973 saw many oil producing countries become independent and nationalise their oil. Some succeeded and others, like Australia, were brought to heal. Ever since 1973, the US and Europe have been trying to reverse these nationalisations. Venezuela is a case in point.

In a gesture befitting Lewis Carol's Queen of Hearts, the United States has suddenly abandoned all pretences of lawful procedure and common sense by officially declaring that opposition leader, Juan Guaidó is the real president of Venezuela, not Nicolás Maduro Moros, who was actually elected President by Venezuelans.

To put things in perspective: Getting rid of President Maduro because the 2015 parliamentary election placed his own party in the minority would be like making President Trump step down because the Democrats are now in the majority in Congress - to paraphrase Venezuela's diplomat to Russia.[Article by Sheila Newman with James Sinnamon]

Kelvin Thomson joins Sustainable Australia Party, advisor to Clifford Hayes MP

The Hon. Kelvin Thomson, former Federal Member for Wills, is joining the Sustainable Australia Party. Mr Thomson served as an Australian Labor Party Councillor for the City of Coburg from 1981 to 1988, Member of the Victorian Parliament for Pascoe Vale from 1988 to 1996, and Federal Labor Member for Wills for over 20 years from 1996 until the 2016 Election. Mr Thomson will be advising Sustainable Australia’s first elected Member of Parliament, Mr. Clifford Hayes, who was elected as a Legislative Councillor for the Southern Metropolitan Region at the recent Victorian election.

Will challenges in Australian law and under Roman law

Australia has horrible inheritance laws. They are the source of terrible injustices and family disputes. Below I quote from Ben White et al, "Estate contestation in Australia: an empirical study of a year of case law," which talks about the non-financial costs as well as public and private costs. It rates the chances of court actions succeeding in different states and describes differences in state laws. It also refers to some suggested reforms, which include making it more difficult for adult children to contest wills. To my mind, this would mean to keep on disinheriting them in the disreputable Anglosphere way. At the moment any adult child can contest a will on the basis of being very poor. One of the reforms this study flags is that a person would have to show they were very poor before they qualified to contest the will. However that would not take much away from all the hurt and jealousy about unequal distributions, so famous in King Lear. I prefer the French Civil code, which says you have to distribute your estate equally to all your children, legitimate and illegitimate, from any marriage. This kind of law also cuts back the expansion of de facto claims, which in Australia, the US, England etc threaten to expand nearly infinitely now that both heterosexual and same-sex liaisons can be interpreted legally as de facto - yet another indicator that marriage is mostly about property in the Anglosphere, where spouses trump children and marriage can bankrupt you. For the rules on this, see, for instance, https://fortefamilylawyers.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FFL_485542_Proving-the-existence-of-de-facto-relationships-in-family-matters.pdf.

Male harems in Saudi Arabia - The tradition of locking up rival princes

On Saturday 4 November 2017 Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman placed “30 of Saudi Arabia’s most senior figures, among them blood relatives of senior rulers,” as five-star prisoners at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton, “accused of corruption”. [1] A year later most, possibly more, remained locked up and shaken down.[2] Many of them were billionaires. This must be the only country that locks up billionaires, especially if they are relatives of the ruler. The ‘corruption’ charge may be true, but it also serves as an excuse to control the activities of rivals to the throne and their supporters. Although such practices are not unknown in elites outside Islam,[3] this it is very traditional in the Ottoman Empire sense. Before the 16th century Ottoman rulers used to execute all their rivals. When Suleiman came to power in 1520 he commuted this to simply locking princes up in a big harem, where, “they were kept in a perpetual state of preadulthood, denied the right to marry or to father children by concubines.”

Video interview of Sandra Kanck, National SPA President

"Media resistance has always been one of the big problems," says Sandra Kanck, who came from a family where there were seven children and she learned early that one wage did not go as far for seven as it might for fewer. From 1994-2009 Sandra served as an Australian Democrats’ Member of the upper house of the South Australian Parliament. Her ‘maiden’ speech in parliament was – predictably for those who know her – about population. For more than nine years Sandra Kanck has been either President or Vice-President of SPA, mostly the former, including reluctantly juggling the role of Acting Treasurer for three months during one of her stints as President.

Latham's 8-Point Plan to stop overpopulation in Sydney

Ex Labor leader, Mark Latham, recently joined Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party and will be running for the NSW legislative council at the next state election. Here is his 8-Point Plan to "save Sydney “suffocating” from overpopulation and overdevelopment."

Latham's 8-Point Plan

1. Our immigration program must be framed in the interest of the people who live here now. This is especially true of policies impacting on an over-crowded, increasingly dysfunctional city like Sydney.

2. Permanent immigration numbers should be slashed, bringing them closer to their 20th Century average of 70,000 per annum (down from 190,000 currently). Temporary visas must also be cut back.

3. NSW should not take any more special refugee intakes, given the mismanagement of Syrian refugee settlement by the Baird Government.

Video: Has oil demand peaked? (Press tv Economic Divide program)

This program from Press tv Iran is interesting and useful in bringing us up to date. Iranians know a thing or two about oil production and the oil market. The issues of peak demand and peak production are very hard to estimate and no-one here pretends to have the answers, but a number of factors are canvassed, including US President Trump. As usual, however, in such programs, population growth and economic growth are skirted around. Similarly, increasing efficiency among OECD countries is taken as a given, and increasing consumption among 'developing' countries is also taken as a given. The elephant in the room is, of course, when does peak demand meet peak production.

Kangaroo & Wombat Workshop funding arrangements fall short - Can you help?

Michelle Thomson, of Animalia, is hosting two wildlife care workshops with Linda "Indi" Dennis: one is on kangaroos and the other is on wombats. The workshops teach how to care for Kangaroos, Wallabies, and other Macropods and for wombats. Linda "Indi" Dennis is a well known wildlife carer,educator and advocate for our wildlife. By the way, Animalia, which operates on a shoestring, has advance-funded this workshop and now a major funding source has fallen through. The Animal Shelter may have to close if no fresh funds come in; the situation is actually desperate. Please consider donating to Animalia if you cannot attend the workshop. There are more and more injured animals as human population expands, and not enough qualified carers. Workshops that actually train new carers are as rare as hens' teeth. Animalia takes this initiative time and time again. Please help keep this little ark afloat.

Libs say they will protect Mornington Peninsula from overdevelopment

"Only the Liberal Party will protect the amenity and character of our neighbourhoods and rural hinterland," says Russell Joseph, Liberal Candidate for Nepean. We don't often publish statements from the major parties, but this is the first one we know of that looks at protecting the Mornington Peninsula. The Peninsula is an incredibly biodiverse part of South-Eastern Australia, hardly explored to date in terms of paleontology, rapidly losing its native fauna and flora. The undeniable fact that governments since Jeff Kennett have promoted destructive population growth here makes any policy to protect it extremely important. We will publish statements from any other political party that has a plan to protect the Mornington Peninsula from overpopulation.

PNG Governments censor film on Australian developer takeover

[Video inside] An internationally acclaimed film of Paga Hill community’s fight for justice from the illegal eviction and demolition of their homes in downtown Port Moresby has been banned from screening today at the PNG Human Rights Festival. It is known as 'The Opposition Film'. See trailer and details of showings here. There is a lot of Australian involvement in this disgraceful powerplay, including NSW court system and Australian developers. However, what is happening in PNG is also happening to Australians, who mostly fail to realise that they are also being treated and exploited like a 'developing country'.

Claims that DNA from a 350-year-old dingo tooth could save the species in Australia are rubbish, dingo conservationists say

In response to claims that DNA from a 350-year-old dingo tooth could save the species in Australia, National Dingo Preservation and Recovery Program spokesperson Dr Ian Gunn said the reverse was the case. “On past experience, the evidence will be used to justify a continued sheep industry campaign to exterminate the species across Australia. Just because of the introgression of domestic dog genetics in some individuals, or because they are not the dingo variety identified by the genes in this ‘one-tooth’, they then falsely claim the animals they are killing are not real dingoes."

28 October: State Election Forum: Vic MPs to take planning questions from the public

It is important to hear policies from key MPs before the election. Thanks to Prof Michael Buxton, we have a large lecture hall in Swanston Street, on the west side, called RMIT Building 80, and we have room 7 on the ground floor. Take note - it is 3 weeks today - lets fill the hall. (Mary Drost, Planning Backlash).

Sunday 7th:Public Meeting - Stop overdevelopment in Melbourne - Hawthorne Arts Centre

2.30PM - Sunday 7th of October 2018. Open Public Meeting Stop Over-Development in Melbourne! Speakers: Professor Bob Birrell, Professor Michael Buxton, Mary Drost OAM Planning Backlash, Jack Roach, Boroondara Residents' Action Group, Leith van Onselen- economist. Venue: Zelman Room, Hawthorn Arts Centre, 360 Burwood Road, Hawthorne.

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