Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The killer bitch that the NSW ambulance sees no reason to fire

They had good grounds to fire her years ago -- but government employees are a protected class, of course

THE horrendous triple-0 record of the operator who took teenager David Iredale's last harrowing call includes hanging up on a desperate caller and ignoring emergency calls to read novels. The callous attitude of Stacey Dickens is revealed in the triple-0 operator's ambulance service disciplinary records, obtained by The Daily Telegraph.

Five years before she ignored David's pleas for a rescue helicopter and put him on hold while he was lost and dying in the Blue Mountains, Ms Dickens was disciplined for terminating an emergency call. Like David's case, ambulance officers were having difficulty finding Riyadh Alenzi, who had collapsed and stopped breathing while working at the Leppington Pastoral Company on September 10, 2001.

When a colleague called triple-0 to ask when a lost ambulance would arrive at the Bringelly company in Sydney's southwest, Ms Dickens terminated the call and failed to try to call him back despite having the number.

The Daily Telegraph has gained exclusive access to Ms Dickens' disciplinary record, including other incidents in which she was chastised for reading novels while on the job. According to the documents, on some occasions there were triple-0 calls flooding into the Sydney ambulance operations centre while she remained engrossed in her book.

Despite her record and even after admitting at an inquest into David Iredale's death that her mind was not on the job and that she was failing to absorb what the dying teenager was telling her, Ms Dickens is still employed by the NSW Ambulance Service as a triple-0 operator.

In the Leppington Pastoral Company incident, the ambulance arrived 45 minutes after the original call, and Mr Alenzi recovered. A spokesman for Health Minister John Della Bosca refused to weigh into Ms Dickens' position with the ambulance service or whether she had been disciplined.


A great kid

And another lesson for us all from Asia. Odd that "racism" didn't hold her back, though. Racism affects American blacks only, apparently

JUST two years after she arrived from Vietnam struggling to speak English, Tram Ngo is one of Queensland's greatest academic success stories. Her story is just one highlight of the 2008 Year 12 results, released by the Queensland Studies Authority and detailed inside The Courier-Mail today. Ms Ngo not only graduated with an OP 1 from Alexandra Hills State High School last year, but won a scholarship at QUT to study engineering.

Ms Ngo admits she had no idea what her teachers were saying for her first three months of Year 11. "I can read and write, but I couldn't understand 50 per cent of what the teachers say, so I take the notes and then when I went home I would read the book again and match what the teachers say to the book," she said.

She credits as her inspiration her teachers and fellow students who spent countless hours helping her. But her teachers say it is the other way around. Alexandra Hills State High School acting principal Jan Jarman said Ms Ngo was an inspiration. "She proves if you want something enough, if you want something hard enough and you are prepared to put in the effort, you definitely can succeed."



Four current articles below:

Hot-air doomsayers have nothing substantive to say in defence of their cause

By Ian Plimer, a professor at the University of Adelaide, and author of "Heaven and Earth - Global Warming: The Missing Science"

In "Heaven and Earth - Global Warming: The Missing Science", I predicted that the critics would play the man and not discuss the science. Initial criticism appeared before the book was released three weeks ago. Well-known catastrophists criticised the book before they actually received a review copy. Critics, who have everything to gain by frightening us witless with politicised science, have now shown their true colours. No critic has argued science with me. I have just enjoyed a fortnight of being thrashed with a feather.

Despite having four review copies, ABC's Lateline photocopied parts of chapters and sent them to an expert on gravity, a biologist and one who produces computer models. These critics did not read the book in its entirety. The compere of Lateline claimed that he had read the book yet his questions showed the opposite. When uncritical journalists have no science training, then it is little wonder doomsday scenarios can seduce them.

In The Age (Insight, May 2), David Karoly claims that my book "does not support the answers with sources". Considering that the book has 2311 footnotes as sources, Karoly clearly had not read the book. Maybe Karoly just read up to page 21, which showed that his published selective use of data showed warming but, when the complete set of data was used, no such warming was seen.

Robert Manne (The Weekend Australian, Inquirer, April 25-26) claims to be a great democrat yet demonises dissent on a matter of science. He is not a scientist. The gains made in the Enlightenment, the scientific method, history and integrated interdisciplinary science are all ignored in an ideological push to remodel the economy.

Primary producers should be very worried about an emissions trading scheme underpinned by incomplete science. Unions in industrial centres may even make conditional financial support of the ALP because the workforce they represent will be lambs to the slaughter with an ETS.

Capital city ABC and newspaper media outlets have treated the public with disdain. They have used arrogant pompous scientists who talk down to the public and yet these scientists forget that the public employs them. My critics are never asked: Who funds them? What have they to gain by following their party line? Why have they ignored a huge body of contrary science? What are their political associations? What unelected groups support them? Yet I am constantly asked these questions.

The huge number of recent letters tell me that there are winds of change. The average punter has been told for more than two decades that we are all going to fry. He is not stupid and is blessed with a rare commodity missing in many academic circles: common sense.

Life experiences of rural people are very different from those of city folk who have little first-hand experience of nature. My correspondents feel helpless and disenfranchised with the unending negative moralistic cacophony about climate change. They know it smells but they cannot find where the smell comes from. The reason why the book has been a publishing sensation is because the average person knows that they are being conned and finally they have a source reference.

The hypothesis tested in my book was that increased atmospheric CO2 creates global warming. This was shown to be invalid on all time scales and by a diversity of methods.

In the past, climate change has never been driven by CO2. Why should it be now driven by CO2 when the atmospheric CO2 content is low? The main greenhouse gas has always been water vapour. Once there is natural global warming, then CO2 in the atmosphere increases. CO2 is plant food, it is not a pollutant and it is misleading non-scientific spin to talk of carbon pollution. If we had carbon pollution, the skies would be black with fine particles of carbon. We couldn't see or breathe. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong appeals to science yet demonstrates she does not have a primary school understanding of science.

The atmosphere contains 800 billion tonnes of carbon in CO2. Soils and plants contain 2000 billion tonnes, the oceans 39,000 billion tonnes and rocks in the top few kilometres of the crust contain 65,000,000 billion tonnes of carbon in carbon compounds. The atmosphere only contains 0.001 per cent of the total carbon in the top few kilometres of the Earth.

If all the fossil fuel on Earth were burned, the atmospheric CO2 would double. The Earth has been there before and high atmospheric CO2 has accelerated plant growth and increased biodiversity. It is the sun, water vapour, rocks and oceans that have stopped a runaway greenhouse or a permanent snowball Earth.

I would like to see some fundamental questions answered by the climate catastrophists. If CO2 drives temperature, why were there past ice ages when the atmospheric CO2 content was many times greater than at present? Why has the role of clouds been ignored, especially as a 1per cent change in the amount of cloudiness could account for all the changes measured in the past 150 years? If natural forces drove warmings in Roman and medieval times, how do we know that the same natural forces did not drive the late 20th-century warming? Why didn't Earth have acid oceans and a runaway greenhouse when the atmospheric CO2 was hundreds of times higher than now? Is the present increase in atmospheric CO2 due to the medieval warming?

It is human arrogance to think that we can control climate, a process that transfers huge amounts of energy. Once we control the smaller amount of energy transferred by volcanoes and earthquakes, then we can try to control climate. Until then, climate politics is just a load of ideological hot air.

To argue that human additions to atmospheric CO2, a trace gas in the atmosphere, changes climate requires an abandonment of all we know about history, archaeology, geology, solar physics, chemistry and astronomy. We ignore history at our peril.

I await the establishment of a Stalinist-type Truth and Retribution Commission to try me for my crimes against the established order and politicised science.


Climate backdown: Rudd should retreat on jobs legislation too

This is the first big policy retreat Kevin Rudd has had to swallow in the face of the global recession. Let's hope it's not the last. The alternative for the Prime Minister to backtracking on his climate change promise was to deepen Australia's recession. And the risk to today's jobs was always going to trump a threat to the environment decades later.

Rudd's promise to bed down a full-blown carbon emissions trading scheme by the middle of next year was always a stunt to get in ahead of John Howard. It was a big ask to bolt on a scheme that threatened Australia's advantage in cheap carbon-based energy that had fuelled the nation's modern prosperity. It became madness to do this as the economy hopefully tried to drag itself off the canvas after the king hit from the deepest global recession since the 1930s. So delaying the start date, to mid-2011, and a softer ramp up, with a low $10 fixed price on each tonne of carbon emissions, were inevitable moves.

The fanciful idea that mandatory emissions reductions would be good for the economy, without any cost, by producing "green jobs" has gone up in smoke. There inevitably will be a cost, at least in the lengthy transition.

Business wants some certainty on exactly what carbon costs it will have to plug into its investment models.

Rudd's retreat will open up the issue of whether the carbon trading scheme with all its special deals - as opposed to a cleaner carbon tax or some hybrid model - is the best way to go, in light of the UN's Copenhagen summit in December.

It also will increase the pressure on the Government over its other policy vulnerabilities. One is the raising of expectations for increased entitlement spending - such as on the aged pension and maternity pay - just as the recession has exposed the structural black hole in the federal budget.

The other is Julia Gillard's reregulation of the job market during a recession that could push unemployment to double-digit levels. Rudd should now demand that Gillard's award modernisation, which threatens to push up casual and penalty rates across much of the services sector from the start of next year, be put on hold.


Conservatives still ready to fight Warmist laws

MALCOLM Turnbull has refused to back Kevin Rudd's amended plan for an emissions trading scheme, insisting the Government needs to give more protection to the coal industry. The Opposition Leader yesterday accused the Prime Minister of having executed an embarrassing backflip on emissions trading, but said the Government ought to ask the Productivity Commission to review its proposals.

The comments came after Mr Rudd announced he would delay Labor's promised 2010 start-up date on emissions trading until 2011, and lift the target for carbon emissions reductions from 10-15per cent to 25 per cent. Mr Rudd appealed for Mr Turnbull to support his new plan, saying it had addressed the key Coalition concerns on timing and the targets.

But Mr Turnbull withheld support yesterday as the Greens continued to attack the Government's scheme as too generous to big polluters. "Today's announcement represents a massive backdown, a humiliating backdown given the way he's attacked the Opposition relentlessly for more than a year as we've pointed out the flaws in his emissions trading scheme," Mr Turnbull said. "But given that he has given himself more time to start the scheme, why not give ourselves more time to get it right? The most important thing is that we ensure that we have a scheme that is environmentally effective and economically responsible. That requires more work."

Mr Turnbull said the Coalition believed the Rudd plan placed trade-exposed industries at a disadvantage against their competitors. And there was inadequate support for the nation's biggest export earner, the coal industry. The plan also included no forecast on the near-term impact of the ETS on jobs and growth and was short on detail on other means of emission abatement.

The Greens rejected the Government's new plan, saying it would give $2.2billion in assistance to big polluters. "If you add a little bit of green to brown, you still get brown," said Greens deputy leader Christine Milne. "By delaying the start of the scheme and capping the carbon price at $10 a tonne for the next year, the Government has ensured that there will be essentially no climate action in Australia until July 2012 at the earliest."

The Southern Cross Climate Change Coalition, which includes unions, the Climate Institute and environment groups, said lifting the emissions reduction target to 25 per cent would boost international efforts for an agreement on reducing emissions worldwide. "This internationally-credible target, coming after COAG (the Council of Australian Governments) cleared the way for renewable energy legislation and further steps on energy efficiency, means the CPRS should be supported so business can get on with investing in the clean energy and other low-carbon jobs that other competitor countries are investing in," the coalition said.

Business Council of Australia president Greig Gailey supported the revamped scheme. "Given Australia's current economic circumstances, the BCA welcomes and supports the Government's responsible decision to delay the commencement of the CPRS by one year to July 1, 2011, to provide business with more time to prepare for the scheme and to alleviate some of the pressures confronting Australian business as a result of the global financial crisis," he said.

The Minerals Council of Australia was cool on the scheme, saying the changes did not address the central flaw, which was to embark on full permit auctions from the outset.


Solar panel nuttiness gets nuttier (and incomprehensible)

BRISBANE environmental lawyer Jo Bragg and her partner, Gary Kane, spent $28,000 on three roof panels to generate solar power for their home in the inner Brisbane suburb of Highgate Hill. After receiving a federal government rebate of $8000, they hoped to recover their investment in a cleaner planet within a few years by selling excess power into the mains electricity grid. In the three months to April, they used 1384 kilowatt hours and produced 388 kilowatt hours of excess power, for which they received the princely sum of $12.96 after taxes. "Governments are not being serious about reducing energy consumption with lousy amounts of money like that," Ms Bragg said.

Her family is the kind Kevin Rudd had in mind yesterday when he announced that individuals and households would be part of a revamped carbon pollution reduction scheme. The Prime Minister said households would be able to calculate their energy use at home and pledge contributions to the $25million energy efficiency savings fund to effectively offset their emissions. "Individuals will be able to calculate their energy use and establish the savings they could achieve with a more energy-efficient home," Mr Rudd said.

"A household or individual could then make a tax-deductible donation to the pledge fund, which the fund would use to buy and cancel carbon pollution permits equivalent to that level of energy use."

Ms Bragg said she hoped the carbon permits scheme would be flexible enough to allow households with renewable energy to be paid for the gross amount of power produced -- not just the excess -- as happened in Germany and some other countries. "It makes sense to provide incentives to homes to make it worth their while to invest in renewable energy," she said. "Even if we were paid for the gross amount of power produced, it would take us eight or 10 years to recover the investment."

Mr Rudd said a website would be provided for people to calculate their energy use and buy and retire carbon pollution permits. "Because the pledge fund will pool pledges, even small amounts can combine to make a big difference," he said. "People will be able to pledge as little or as much as they can afford." The fund would be voluntary.


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