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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, in the spirit of E.O. Wilson's 'consilience', i.e. 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.

Roo scientists admit industry stimulates roo population growth whilst calling roos pests

This scientific submission on commercial kangaroo management was closely based on the literature from the industry, which proved to be a revelation in what it actually admitted about its manipulation of kangaroo population numbers. Basically, the very small number of scientists dominating the academic literature and the industry have stated (variously) that the industry artificially stimulates population growth rebound beyond normal numbers in targeted populations of kangaroos; that they then justify their industry and culls on the basis that the animals are too populous and a pest; that the Australian public would not allow the industry to continue if they did not swallow the line that kangaroos are a pest; that although the industry and population culls are justified in order to prevent damage to grasslands and erosion by overgrazing, this is in fact false, and the example is given of kangaroos even at 50 per square km making almost no impact on the land, whereas the sheep that the industry is purportedly saving the land for, devastate it. This is my second article on kangaroo science (see the other one here) and I did not go into it expecting to find such blatant snake oil passing for research among a very small cognoscenti, but here it is. I’m was surprised as you will be. Also, one final word, even if the industry is correct in saying that it artificially boosts kangaroo numbers in order to have enough kangaroos to ‘harvest’, as I say at the end, that does not apply to all populations and that does not mean that the strategy is not causing population crashes and demographic anomalies, for reasons that I raise in this article. If you think there are fewer kangaroos around, you may well be right and have a better idea than the industry itself. (This researched article by evolutionary sociologist Sheila Newman [1] was originally submitted to the South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022 (kmp@sa.gov.au) on behalf of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council on 7 October 2017.)

Video: Russia and Iran close the gap and stand together - Putin & Rouhani historic meeting

This article was republished on the Syrian Free Press on 4 Nov 2017.

[UPDATE 7 Nov 2017: Added excerpts from President Rouhani's speech.] I was riveted by this video in its presentation of the antithesis of United States policy in new agreements between Russia and Iran. The video begins with a remarkable political message in the ceremonial exchange of documents of agreement on very important material matters, which should make a big difference to politics in the region - and won't please the United States. These included agreements on nuclear energy transport cooperation, oil and gas exploration, technology and information technology, railway electrification, urban construction and development, trade in the energy industry, visa-free travel for groups between Russia and Iran, and agreement on extradition of convicted persons between the two countries and cooperation on legal affairs. In addition they agreed on mutual cooperation in fighting Islamic extremism, the encouragement of cultural exchange and sports, and working on the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. This news conference was part of a trilateral meeting of Vladimir Putin, President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. Putin and Rouhani appear in the video. You have to be aware of the momentous nature of the agreements in order to appreciate this otherwise somewhat stilted piece of diplomatic theatre. America has been trying to isolate and weaken Iran, which has both considerable oil reserves and a catbird seat on the shores of the oil-rich (if logistically highly problematic) Caspian Sea. America has backed wars in the region, invaded neighbours, and tried to undermine support for Russia in the Middle East because it wants permanent influence there. Obama, in his negotiations about Iran's use of nuclear power, may have been trying to keep some communications open, but Mr Trump has breached all democracy by openly threatening Iran. Iran (now that Syria has been crippled) is the leading technological and socially progressive power in the region, bitterly resented by Saudi Arabia and Israel. Now, apparently ironically, but actually quite naturally, Russia has resealed and expanded its friendship with Iran. In so doing, it has made Iran much more secure. How will the United States, NATO and the EU respond to this?

What are the 3 factors that induced rapid population growth?

This article comes from a response to a Quora question and sumarises a lot of material from my books on population theory.[1] It raises a number of factors that 'traditional' demographic theory usually cannot investigate due to its very narrow range of inquiry. There are more than three factors mentioned here and they are: Sea-level rise after last glacial maximus pushed populations together and created more fertility opportunities; Changing transport technology created more fertility opportunities; The rise of cities created more fertility opportunities; and the commodification of land and the rise of money created more fertility opportunities; local tribes had immunity to local pathogens so had lower infant mortality and better life expectancy; Inheritance law variations and the creation of land-less labor; The importance of fossil fuel (coal, petroleum) in expanding and supporting bigger populations; to which I could have added, the importance of wood supply as a pre-fossil-fuel limiter of population. I also mention that the theory explored does not conflict with Hamilton's inclusive fitness theory which Dawkins used to develop his 'Selfish Gene' theory, however it does identify countervailing forces to the associated 'Every creature breeds to the maximum' theory.

Small Business Ombudsman: "High energy costs slash small business investment"

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has expressed dismay that politicians continue to argue over energy policy while small businesses suffer.
Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the latest East & Partners SME survey* of 1280 businesses showed 70 per cent would reduce investment in capital expenditure because of higher energy prices.

Galaxy Poll finds overwhelming support for Dick Smith on population

Dick Smith commissioned a Galaxy poll to assess both the impact of his $1 million TV ad campaign based on the Grim Reaper AIDS ad of the 1980s, and community attitudes towards Australia’s developed-world-leading immigration-fueled rapid population growth. The sample comprised 1,005 respondents, distributed throughout Australia including both capital city and non-capital city areas – the report is attached. The main findings of the poll were:

 The majority of Australians (83%) believe that population growth is of such significant consequence that every major political party should have a population plan.
 There is an overwhelming belief that politicians should be doing something about population growth (82%).
 Population growth is an issue of concern for the majority of supporters of both the Coalition (62%) and the Labor Party (62%).
 Among those that have seen the TV ad 91% are convinced that every major political party should have a population plan.

Growth lobby trolls and journos, population theories and growth religion

Van Badham, the author of an insulting Guardian piece against Dick Smith, (Thursday 7 September 2017) parades the usual cliches about 'educating women' to deal with population growth, despite the obvious fact that although women in Australia still have relatively high rates of literacy, our population just keeps growing faster and faster. Not because Australian women are having huge families, but because mass immigration from overseas contributes 60% of Australia's population growth. How is education going to fix that, Ms Van Badham? [16 September 2017: See new footnote #5.]

New: The Affordable Housing Party gets the population connection

"The Affordable Housing Party: the single issue party dedicated to solving Australia's housing affordability crisis. Australians are now living with some of the most unaffordable housing in the world, but it doesn't have to be this way! Obscene tax incentives to invest in property. Our lawmakers profit from the status quo. We opened up our housing market to investors all over the world. Australia's rapid population growth. Home buyers are paying too much to try to compete with investors. This can't go on forever!" Former journalist, Andrew Potts, Sydney, registered the Affordable Housing Party (AHP) with the Australian Electoral Commission earlier this month. Policies include: Phasing out negative gearing and capital gains discount on investment property sales; Stopping overseas buyers from buying Australian properties; Taxing properties left empty by investors; Cutting down immigration to 70,000 annually; Banning full time Airbnb properties; Ending “no fault” evictions for rental properties. Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/AffordableHousingParty/

Bullying on the Australian Independent Media Network "AIM"

Michael Taylor, co-owner of The AIM Network, and his on-line associate, Kate Lee, have wrongly and publicly accused me of promoting on the AIM Network site the argument that Martin Bryant was unfairly convicted of the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre, using this to characterise me as a 'conspiracy theorist'. My commenting ability was terminated as Taylor was publicly accusing me of lying and insisting on a response. To me, this was clearly an attempt to shout down views that were against their preferred argument and, when that failed, they cut me off. Even if I had written a piece about Martin Bryant and even if it it had been proven to be rubbish, this should not come into an argument about something entirely unrelated - population numbers. For this reason I am publishing this abreviated record of our exchanges, and commenting on the behaviour others have also encountered on this so-called 'alternative media' site. I think it is important to warn people of how they may be treated on the AIM Network, because of the importance of providing respectful true alternatives to the Mainstream Media (msm). The AIM Network purports to be independent media, but many of its articles seem to mirror the propaganda attitudes of the mainstream news. The AIM site seems to be dominated by a socialist alliance brigade that has attempted to take over every indymedia site in Australia.

The Liberal Population Task Force Public Forums may yet be useful

The Victorian Liberals have been running public population forums for their "Victorian Population Policy Taskforce." Please read on to get an idea of what is involved and how you might use these forums for good, despite their cynical nature. The article includes a list of the forums still to be held at time of writing this article. As you would expect, the people comprising the Taskforce include some heavy hitters from the extreme growth lobby and, really only one person who has questioned population growth policy - Dr Bob Birrell. We can be sure that the Liberal politicians and other growth lobby activists behind the forums are pushing for extreme population growth to continue despite its awful consequences, just as the Victorian Labor Government is. The purpose of the forums is to manufacture consent by pretending that current immigration numbers cannot be stopped or reduced, however bleak their impact. The message is put in pseudo solidarity as, "Yes, we feel your pain, we wish we could do something, but we cannot." This throws the audiences into a state of helplessness. However, the forums do present the possibility of people who actually know the facts and are concerned about citizens, residents' rights and wildlife needs, to reach the wide spectrum of people who come to the forums and point to the way out of the false dilemma. Those audiences are dying to hear that the political parties (in and out of government) have the capacity to stop the massive population growth and that Australians should and must resist it. Consider taking copies of The Residents' Bill of Rights, which proposes that Australian growth be brought in line with the OECD average. Consider printing out this recent Population Flyer and taking copies. You might also consider taking a copy of recently retired Labor MP Kelvin Thomson's 14 point plan, which is a viable and well-informed plan to stabilise Australia's population. Inside this article there are also recent ABS and OECD graphs and a population doubling time calculator.

Walk to save St Kilda Rd trees and parklands Sunday 30 July 2017

Save the date: Sunday 30 July 2017. Walk in St Kilda Road and Environs for National Tree Day. Walk in St Kilda Road grand boulevard on Sunday 30 July 2017 or join an information walk in St Kilda Road and Environs. There will be information meeting points along St Kilda Road, from opposite Victoria Barracks down to near the intersection of Toorak Road and St Kilda Road, manned at least from 1.00pm to 4.00pm., and planners, engineers, politicians, arborists, heritage consultants and others will be invited and available for information and discussion on St Kilda Road and Environs. Video inside explains what is at stake.

Prof Justin O'Connor in "Smart Cities vs Creative Cities Symposium"

[Illustration from screen print of Prof Justin O'Connor's slide presentation.]The population and development behemoth is so multi-faceted that many of us feel like blind people trying to describe an elephant. Far richer than the bewildering 'policy porn' we are constantly subjected to by planners and growth merchants, the videos from this wonderful symposium provide vital clues to how we have been ambushed and sidelined by the nightmarish infrastructure juggernaut. "The ‘Creative City’ attempts to mobilise culture and creativity for city branding, urban regeneration and cultural industries growth, which also point to new forms of urban planning and governance. It has been closely associated with the “creative class” and the creative- entrepreneurial city in ways that have frequently become divisive and exclusionary, focusing on arts flagships, photogenic CBDs, and real estate profits. So too, cultural production has been reformatted under the rubric of the ‘creative industries’ in ways that foreground their contribution to economic growth. Increasingly calls have been for social justice, citizenship and the rights to the city, with a return of community and activist-focused arts activities, as well as new forms of ‘post-capitalist’ production communities." Source: "Smart City - Creative City", which is where the video of which this article is mostly a transcript, comes from, along with four others. The symposium took place at the Chunky Move – Dance Company Melbourne, Southbank, Australia on 15 June 2017.

Sustainable Australia Party fights the population ponzi

“The big issues we feel are job security, housing affordability, planning in our suburbs and our environment. And all of those major indicators are going backwards with this onslaught of rapid population growth. So, it’s changing our daily lives. It’s gone beyond some big number into the future. It’s actually hitting us in the face when we drive out of our driveway in the morning and we try and get to work. Or when we try to look up a job when we try to get our next opportunity. Or when we look at our green space in our suburb that’s disappearing. Or looking at our urban heritage… that’s just being bulldozed for this highrise development”. (William Bourke, Sustainable Australia Party, speaking on 3AW to Neil Mitchell)

Population song from Bangladesh, with translation

This song is sung in Bengali, which is a language from Bangladesh. It was a theme song for World Population Day 2013. I liked the tune and found the singers appealing. I wondered what the words were and obtained a translation through a friend in India. See inside.

The Propaganda Age: John Pilger, Vanessa Beeley on Sputnik with Neil Clarke

John Pilger and Vanessa Beeley talk about the amazing growth in mass-media supported war propaganda in our times, including the grotesque fantasies manufactured about Russian intervention in US elections and the creation of a false cold war. Vanessa Beeley describes how, when she was in Aleppo, she was witness to the absolute fabrication of what was happening there. And now, the almost complete silence on what seems like American ethnic cleansing of Arabs in Raqqua - where the US is using depleted uranium, phosporos weapons and not providing any humanitarian corridors.

3 Groups censor the rest on population numbers at Planning Backlash Rally 8 June 2017

The Minister for Planning has publicly insisted [1] that Victoria has to fit 10 million people in Victoria with four more million in Melbourne and that that is the reason for the planning dictatorship he is trying to force on Victorians. If we did not 'have' to fit in millions more, no new plan would be 'needed'. Population numbers as a topic dominate the mainstream press,[2] but three residents' action groups in Planning Backlash - possibly trading on their marginal electorate status - reportedly held the rest to ransom for their presence at the Planning Backlash rally on the steps of parliament 8 June 2017. Their ransom was censorship of their fellow groups in a promise that no rally speakers would mention the role that population growth has in driving Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 and all the destruction it promises. Even though the Victorian Government has openly published several written policies for massive population growth, [3] the Yarra Residents' Coalition, Brunswick and Moreland groups of Planning Backlash have been identified as censoring debate about this on the very steps of Victoria's parliament.

Video: Brad Marsh Restore residents rights Planning Backlash 8 june 2017

Brad Marsh of Alphington speaking for Yarra Residents' Coalition Brian Walsh of Kew Cottages Coalition, speaks at 'Restore Residents' Rights', a Planning Backlash Rally organised by Mary Drost on the steps of Victorian Parliament, 8 June 2017. This rally was a huge protest by many residents' and ratepayer groups against the Victorian Government's despotic plan to privatise the planning system in order to provide for an increase in Victoria's population from approx 6m to 10m by 2050, mostly through immigration, in order to satiate the greed of developers who have taken over this country. Read more here: https://candobetter.net/node/5228

Video: B McNicholas Restore residents rights Planning Backlash 8 june 2017

Ms B. McNicholas, of Save St Kilda Road, speaks about the removal of heritage listed trees by the state at dead of night from St Kilda Road. [St Kilda Road is Melbourne's Champs Elysees. Distinguished by its avenue of large old trees, botanical gardens and war memorials, it dates back to early Melbourne.] The removal of the trees was done under a police guard without notifying citizens or residents. See also this website on the problem: https://stkildard.com.au/?gclid=CITNuN_TudQCFdIHKgodkR8EGw.

Video: Mary Drost speaks at Restore residents rights Planning Backlash 8 june 2017

Mary Drost, Convenor of Planning Backlash, speaks to the protesters at 'Restore Residents' Rights', a Planning Backlash Rally she convened on the steps of Victorian Parliament, Australia, 8 June 2017. This rally was a huge protest by many residents' and ratepayer groups against the Victorian Government's despotic plan to privatise the planning system in order to provide for an increase in an increase in Victoria's population from approx 6m to 10m by 2050, mostly through immigration, mostly through immigration, in order to satiate the greed of developers who have taken over this country.

Clifford Hayes speaks at Restore Residents' Rights - Planning Backlash

Speaking at the 8 June 2017 Planning Backlash Rally to Restore Residents' Rights, Clifford Hayes describes how Mr Wynn, Minister for Planning, has removed the protection given by residential zones that were put in by Matthew Guy, the preceding Planning Minister. Hayes says he has to give some credit to the previous government for having had the guts to introduce those zones, which were at least the result of some consultation with the residents. Minister Wynn, however, he observes, refuses to meet with resident planning groups, only listening to the developers, the planners. (A voice calls out in the background, "They're both the same!" and Clifford Hayes agrees.) The Planning Backlash Rally, organised by Mary Drost on the steps of Victorian Parliament on 8 June 2017. was a huge protest by many residents' and ratepayer groups against the Victorian Government's despotic plan to privatise the planning system in order to provide for an increase in Victoria's population from approx 6m to 10m by 2050, mostly through economic immigration, in order to satiate the greed of developers who have taken over this country and the political parties. Hayes describes fighting high-rise development as Mayor and Councillor in Brighton against successive governments. He has also run as a candidate for the Sustainable Australia Party, which tries to educate the public about the need to fight against bi-partisan plans for massive population growth in Australia.

Professor Michael Buxton speaks at Restore Residents' Rights - Planning Backlash

Michael Buxton, Professor of Environment and Planning, RMIT University, speaks at 'Restore Residents' Rights', a Planning Backlash Rally organised by Mary Drost on the steps of Victorian Parliament, 8 June 2017. This rally was a huge protest by many residents' and ratepayer groups against the Victorian Government's despotic plan to privatise the planning system in order to provide for an increase in Victoria's population from approx 6m to 10m by 2050, mostly through immigration, in order to satiate the greed of developers who have taken over this country. The impact of this undemocratic policy is the architectural rape of our natural and built surroundings. Professor Buxton gives many examples of planning outrages, present and threatened in a strong and lucid speech.

David Davis, Shadow Planning Minister, speaks at Restore residents rights, Planning Backlash 8 May

David Davis, Liberal Shadow Minister for Planning 2017, makes many promises to reverse the Victorian Andrews Labor Government's destructive planning initiatives at 'Restore Residents' Rights', a Planning Backlash Rally organised by Mary Drost on the steps of Victorian Parliament on 8 June 2017. This rally was a huge protest by many residents' and ratepayer groups against the Victorian Government's despotic plan to privatise the planning system in order to provide for an increase in Victoria's population from approx 6m to 10m by 2050, mostly through economic immigration, in order to satiate the greed of developers who have taken over this country and the political parties.

Jack Roach speaks at Restore Residents' Rights - Planning Backlash

Jack Roach, of Boroondara Residents Action Group (BRAG) speaks at 'Restore Residents' Rights', a Planning Backlash Rally organised by Mary Drost on the steps of Victorian Parliament on 8 June 2017. This rally was a huge protest by many residents' and ratepayer groups against the Victorian Government's despotic plan to privatise the planning system in order to provide for an increase in Victoria's population from approx 6m to 10m by 2050, mostly through economic immigration, in order to satiate the greed of developers who have taken over this country and the political parties.

What next after the 8 June protest? Residents groups on front line of democracy

Victorians and Australians need to initiate a new democratic process and hold to it. Residents' action groups now find themselves at the coal-face of democracy. They are the front line representing the future of our cities, states and this country. Their task is to identify, defend, and establish new property, community and natural environment rights and the implied citizens' rights that accompany these rights. We can no longer rely on the traditional environment NGOs or alternative political parties to represent us on these fundamental problems. They have been silenced by one means or another. Twenty years ago no-one would have contemplated making Planning Minister Mr Wynn's statements on drive-time ABC radio that we have to fit in 10 million more people in Victoria with four more million in Melbourne. This insane proposition is not the end of it by any means, either. Not only would Melbourne keep on growing, but most state governments are trying to force similar changes on their residents and the property development lobby has in the past admitted to the desire for something like 50 new mega cities around Australia, with eight new ones currently on the drawing board. The scale of these commercial projects will demand authoritarian regimes similar to China's. The looming privatisation of the planning system carries a danger of law suits from commercial developers against government, resident groups and private individuals if they try to object to any and all constructions. This paper proposes starting the new democratic process using the Planning Backlash Residents' Bill of Rights document and building on this. Victoria lacks any effective democratic process except state and council elections, but these elections give almost no rights to citizens and residents, renters or owners. This has to change or we will live in a property-developer-led dictatorship with our population completely replaced and displaced by constant massive construction and infrastructure projects, like those in China.

Michael Bayliss talks on Planning Backlash and the Development Crisis in Melbourne

3CR talkS to Michael Bayliss from Planning Backlash about the development woes facing Melbourne and how this issue will only become more serious in light of plans to further deregulate the planning system. Whether it is increasing densities in the inner suburbs or developing the urban fringe, we are not getting the standard of development that Melbourne requires as we proceed to a low carbon economy. (Article adapted from one published on 3CR at https://www.3cr.org.au/citylimits/episode-201705310900/planning-backlash-and-development-crisis-melbourne. Interview begins at 13.10. [Note that the links to 3CR probably won't work unless you remove the 's' in https. We have added the 's' in order not to be stigmatised by Firefox browsers as displaying 'passive mixed content'.]

ALP takes a backward step for Frankston's environment again

After years of residents battling to preserve Frankston Reservoir as a safe habitat for indigenous flora and fauna by preventing it being used for boating, biking etc, instead keeping it for passive enjoyment of nature, the latest Frankston ALP member has clawed it back under the management of the discredited Parks Victoria.

Hacked Macron emails and is the US Deep State funding Macron?

There is a piece going round, signed by 'Anon', which lists well-known facts about a Deep State organisation which is supposed to be funding Macron. It says, for instance, that Macron joined the Fondation Jean Jaures in 2006 and that this association is a puppet of the National Endowment for Democracy. Indeed, if you look at their political partners' website, you can see that The Center for American Progress is listed as one of their 'Political partners'. The Board of Directors of the Center for American Progress is redolent of the pre-Trump administration and the Clinton/Soros aligned. See some details of these links below the "Quick Rundown" inside. It does make sense, because Macron is backing the European Union which is really aligned with the United States and Macron has stated that he approves of Trump's recent foreign policy flip on the Middle East and North Korea. Macron has uncritically repeated the US CIA line of Putin being a dictator and a hacker.

Le Pen vs Macron & global elites in 3rd French presidential debate 2017

As the moderators summed up, Le Pen and Macron hold irreconcilably different points of view. This was a battle between a nationalist representing the French as a people and an ex-banker representing the global elite with all the support of banks, the mainstream media, the EU and the US-NATO bloc. Marine Le Pen is a highly skilled barrister, versed in criminal law, who was raised in anti-establishment politics, but one cannot help think of Joan of Arc trying to fight off the English here.

Plausibles and implausibles in the French Presidential elections 2017

Unexpectedly Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, the president of the Stand up France (Debout la France) has backed Marine Le Pen for President of France. He feels that France must be saved from Macron's savage globalism and believes that many Republicans will join him in this. One can see that on the face of it, Le Pen has slightly fewer prospective votes than Macron, if you go by the form on the nine candidates who didn't make it to the second round and how their voters might now vote. But Le Pen is running a superb campaign and elite favorite, Emmanuel Macron has already tripped over his highly publicised very expensive shoes. As Le Pen has implied, now that the field has narrowed, people will be able to see both candidates more clearly. [The original title of this article was "Le Pen's chances as President improve as Stand Up France's leader backs her & Macron looms."]

Wilson's Prom Tidal River threatened with daily commercial tour boats

Are you aware that Wilsons Prom is under threat from private interests again? This time they want to base a commercial boat tour operation at Tidal River. If you've ever visited the Prom, you will be familiar with the northern end of Norman Bay where the Tidal River estuary spills out across the wide flat beach. It is no exaggeration to say that this is the most popular beach for visitors to the Prom and a playground for children and families. This same spot is to be taken over by Pennicott Wilderness Journeys with 3 large amphibious boats (12m x 4m) which will take up to 32 passengers each on a 2 hour tour of the marine park. The boats will ride up onto the beach to load and unload their passengers - "Outta the way kids!" See also: "Parks Victoria fail to protect marine environment - Auditor General Victoria" and "Parks Victoria incompetent management of invasive weeds and animals: Auditor General

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