Thursday, January 24, 2008

Yuk! Orange-coloured furniture!

How 1970s!

Kevin Rudd has purged his Parliament House office of all traces of John Howard. He has ordered his predecessor's hand-picked Chesterfield-style chairs and the desk of Liberal icon Sir Robert Menzies to be put into storage. The Prime Minister has wiped his office clean of Mr Howard's interior design touches and restored more contemporary fittings purchased when Parliament House was built in 1988.

Mr Howard was sometimes lampooned by critics for his taste in furniture, particularly following his 1999 decision to spend $10,000 on the green leather suite for his office. Scornful critics charged that the chunky furniture would be better suited to Old Parliament House and that Mr Howard had offended the design atmosphere of his huon pine-dominated office. He had previously dumped his prime ministerial desk in favour of the antique used by his hero Sir Robert - the former long-serving prime minister and Liberal Party founder. The desk had been used by several prime ministers between 1927 and 1973 but mainly by Sir Robert.

A spokeswoman for Mr Rudd confirmed yesterday that all of the furniture acquired during the Howard years had been removed from the Parliament House office and placed in a storage basement. This included the green leather chairs, which had been replaced by the original fabric seats in a pale orange. "The Prime Minister has had the normal furniture taken out of storage and put back in his office," Mr Rudd's spokeswoman said. "The furniture purchased by the previous office is now in storage." She said the changes included the Menzies desk.

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Coroner wants inquiry into NSW government health system

THE coroner investigating the death of teenager Vanessa Anderson has called for a full and open inquiry into the New South Wales health system. Deputy NSW Coroner Carl Milovanovich today found the 16-year-old died from respiratory failure after being inappropriately prescribed opiate medication.

Mr Milovanovich said the health system had failed Vanessa at every turn and her death was the result of a systemic failures at Royal North Shore Hospital and other hospitals at which she was first treated. "If one had sat down and planned the worst possible case scenario for Vanessa ... it could have been done better," the coroner told Westmead Coroner's Court. "I have never seen a case such as Vanessa's in which almost every conceivable error or omission was detected and those errors continued to build one of top of the other."

Mr Milovanovich said he continued to see the same staffing training and administrative errors in hospital deaths and called for an inquiry into the health system. "There is little doubt that the NSW health system, while certainly staffed by dedicated professionals, is labouring under increased demand and expectations from the general public," he said. "The government of the day has the responsibility to provide adequate resources, training and staff to ensure the deliver of appropriate and timely medical services. "It may be timely that the department of health and or the responsible minister consider a full and open inquiry into the delivery of health services in NSW."


Officials lose raped deaf girl

QUEENSLAND welfare workers were unable to find a 13-year-old indigenous multiple-rape victim, a profoundly deaf cerebral palsy sufferer whose behaviour had exhausted 43 foster carers and who had been known to the system almost her entire life.

Doctors at Cairns Base Hospital had rung the Department of Child Safety crisis line in an urgent bid to find the girl to treat her for three sexually transmitted infections - chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis - contracted when she was allegedly raped by her 19-year-old cousin at Weipa on Cape York in December. Crisis line staff on December 28 were "unaware" the child was under the care of DCS and had no contact details for her, say case notes provided to the Cape York Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect office and obtained by The Australian.

"A 13-year-old girl who is profoundly deaf, has (fetal alcohol syndrome), cerebral palsy, a learning disability and who has recently been raped," says a doctor in the file. "The best they could do was to give me names of carers. I contacted the Child Protection Investigation Unit (police) and they commenced trying to locate her."

The case of the 13-year-old, who has been supervised by the DCS almost since the day she was born to a 14-year-old alcoholic mother, follows the disclosure in The Australian yesterday of the rapes of very young boys by teenage and pre-teen victims of rape in Kowanyama, to the south of Weipa. It also follows the disclosure in The Australian in December that nine males who pleaded guilty to the rape of a 10-year-old girl in Aurukun had escaped jail time.

The most foreboding file in the case notes of the 13-year-old Weipa victim is the recommendation made on September 3, 2004, when the then 10-year-old was examined by highly-respected paediatrician, Richard Heazlewood. "(The girl) has been in care since November 2003 and has been having access visits to her natural mother in Napranum (near Weipa) and while in Cairns has been attending the Cairns West School," he wrote. "The first stages of puberty are advancing and, according to her carer, she does not mind who she shows this to, which will obviously make her very much at risk back in her home comunity. "(The child) will be best served by remaining in Cairns at the West Cairns Special Impaired Hearing Unit, and also remaining in a stable foster care situation."

That care situation continued until July 2005 when Dr Heazlewood again noted: "(The child) is still attending the Special Education Hearing Impaired unit at West Cairns school. She is demonstrating significant sexualised behaviour, is defiant, has massive tantrums and is quite abusive. "However, her carer is slowly working on these behavioural patterns, with some improvement."

However in December last year the child was in Bamaga Aboriginal community on the tip of Cape York "on a trial placement as 43 foster placements in Cairns have failed. (the child) sexually abusing other children. She is not attending school, her grandmother claims that her mother is drinking and has a new boyfriend, and the child is wandering the streets at night. "The mother is not sticking to the plan of attending school with the child." ....

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Marcos Bagdatis stands by 'racist' slur

Greeks still loathe their former Turkish oppressors

Defiant tennis star Marcos Baghdatis, captured on film chanting offensive slogans on a party video, says he was just sticking up for his country. Footage of the Greek Cypriot tennis star arm in arm with the alleged ringleader of a confrontation with police at the Open and chanting "Turks out of Cyprus" has ignited fury among Melbourne's Turkish Cypriot community, with one leader calling for him to be kicked out of the country. Australian Turkish Cypriot Cultural and Welfare Association president Hakki Suleyman accused Baghdatis of a racist attack and said he should be expelled from the Australian Open and booted out of the country.

But Baghdatis today refused to budge. "There has been a lot of coverage of me appearing in a video on," the tennis sensation said in a statement. "In that video from 2007 I was supporting the interest of my country, Cyprus, while protesting against a situation that is not recognized by the United Nations. "Now I would like to concentrate on the tournament and ask everyone to respect that. I love the Australian Open and want to do well here."

Several clips on video-sharing website YouTube show Baghdatis at a barbecue hosted by the Hellas Fan Club after he was knocked out of last year's Open and reportedly singing "Turks out of Cyprus".

Victorian Premier John Brumby warned fans and players there was no room for ethnic rivalries at sports events. "There is no place for ethnic rivalry in sport in our state,'' Mr Brumby said. "It's one thing to get out there and support your player, but it's another to get into the business of ethnic rivalry and there is no place, I think, in Melbourne in our sporting culture for over-zealous ethnic rivalry,'' Mr Brumby.

Mr Suleyman said his association would write to Tennis Australia, the State Government and other organisations calling for Baghdatis to be expelled from the Australian Open and the country for abusing his position. "When you become a professional sportsman you have to be careful about what you are saying and it doesn't matter where you are, you are followed and it can be used against you,'' he said.

But friends of the tennis player, who plays Lleyton Hewitt tomorrow in the tournament's third round, rushed to his defence. Sources today told Herald Sun Online the video was filmed after Baghdatis was knocked out of last year's Open. It was one of about 30 songs sung on the night, a source from the player's entourage said.

Turkey invaded and occupied a third of Greek-controlled Cyprus in 1974. Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria director Bill Papastergiadis denied the chants were racist and that the call for Turks to leave Cyprus was in line with a United Nations resolution. "`It's not exactly expressing a view which doesn't conform with the UN resolution or with the general global view of that incident,'' Mr Papastergiadis said.

Tennis officials are meeting to decide how to respond to the matter, and the Association of Tennis Professionals is meeting Baghdatis' management to discuss the issue.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The samples are tested for chlamydia micro organism.