Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rapist Indian doctor still allowed to practice in Victoria!

It is acknowledged that he has a mental illness so who knows what else he may do? Is Australia so short of doctors that the government has to take a risk on this guy?

VICTORIAN Health Minister Daniel Andrews is examining the case of rapist doctor Sabi Lal after he was permitted to continue practising. But Mr Andrews won't say if he has the power to overturn the decision.

Dr Lal retained his registration after the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) allowing him to treat patients. The doctor was refused registration by the Medical Practitioners' Board because of prior sexual assault convictions and appealed to VCAT.

VCAT granted Dr Lal registration on the condition he see only male patients aged over 16. The tribunal ruled that he had a low moral culpability because an obsessive compulsive disorder contributed to his offending.

"This is a complex matter, it's a serious matter, I'm getting advice from my department in relation to the ruling of the Court of Appeal," Mr Andrews said today. He said he was yet to read the judgment but would take "action appropriately" once he had been briefed. Mr Andrews said he planned to meet with the head of the Medical Practitioners Board, Dr Bob Adler.

"I believe that the vast majority of medical practitioners...across our Victorian community do a fantastic job, have the best interests of their patients at heart and act in a totally appropriate way. "There is a system for those that do not."


Meat pies and lamingtons hit NYC

Meat pies are Australia's national food. I suffer pie-deprivation feelings if I don't have at least one a week. A pie getting sauced first below followed by a tray of lamingtons

A MELBOURNE businessman is beating the US economic downturn - one pie at a time. University dropout Lincoln Davies, 37, is about to expand his booming pie-making business by opening a second store in downtown Manhattan. "Our business just keeps getting stronger," Mr Davies said. "We expanded as soon as we got the money to do it." April sales at his eastside hangout the Tuck Shop are up 30 per cent on last year and since 2007 weekly turnover has doubled.

Co-owner Niall Grant said there was never a better time to be flogging pies to Americans. "There is more demand than ever for inexpensive, good quality comfort food in New York," Mr Grant said. "We noticed a real spike in October when the downturn really hit."

Now, they sell about 200 meat pies a day, drumming up most of their business through word of mouth. The grungy cafe, which opened in 2005, is well known among Australians but even after four years it still has some locals mystified. "They think a pie is a pizza," Mr Davies said. So how does he educate them? "I just tell them to start eating."

Davies abandoned his business degree at the Melbourne University and fled to Noosa before moving to London where he faked his way through a career in finance by pretending he had an accounting degree. He eventually landed in New York, where he opened the business.


Another brain-dead bureaucracy

THE Tax Office has been attacked in an official report for doing a substandard job at preventing and catching the worst white-collar tax dodgers. In a sweeping review of how the Tax Office manages "serious non-compliance", the Australian National Audit Office yesterday said the tax agency had considerable scope to lift its game in deterring, tracking and prosecuting tax fraud and evasion. These cost the country billions of dollars a year.

The review excluded Operation Wickenby, in which the Tax Office has pursued high-profile names such as actor Paul Hogan and music entrepreneur Glenn Wheatley, leading critics to say the agency was more interested in headlines than recovering revenue. Wickenby has recovered $99.56 million in tax but has cost $300 million over six years.

The report criticised the Tax Office for poor research and analysis and inadequate databases to monitor a specialist non-compliance unit. The audit said the Tax Office had made only limited assessments of the effectiveness of its efforts to deter tax dodgers. The audit said the number of investigations by the serious non-compliance unit fell from 685 in 2003-04 to 178 in 2007-08. The number of convictions also fell in a similar period.

But considering the difficulty of the work, the auditor acknowledged the agency had had some wins. The 178 investigations last financial year recovered $191 million, compared with the unit's annual funding costs of $41 million, the audit said.

Despite these successes, the audit office said there was "considerable scope for the Tax Office to improve the effectiveness of the arrangements to deter, detect and deal with fraud and serious evasion". Tax evasion refers to "deliberately and dishonestly" dodging tax payments. It can include serious criminal conduct and highly organised activities such as abusing revenue systems.

Although the Tax Office has not estimated the total cost of the most serious breaches, official estimates from 2003 said tax evasion cost the country $17.9 billion a year, or 2 per cent of the economy. An estimate by the Australian National University in 2002 put the cost at $122.3 billion, or 14.1 per cent of gross domestic product.

The Tax Office agreed with six of the audit office's seven recommendations and said it had already begun changes consistent with the tenor of the audit office's report. While tax revenue is expected to fall sharply because of the recession, the chances of high-income earners and big businesses trying to dodge taxes are expected to rise when the economy recovers.

Last week's budget allocated $302 million more over four years for the fight against tax avoidance. This was expected to raise an extra $1.3 billion in revenue over four years.


Australian migrant alert system flawed: audit

The database used by immigration authorities to detect criminals, terrorists and other undersirables entering Australia has been criticised as outdated and inaccurate. A report by the National Audit Office has found serious problems with the Immigration Department's Movement Alert List, the database aimed at protecting Australia from dangerous people. The report found the quality of the information on the system had been declining for several years. It also criticised the Immigration Department for not properly maintaining the database and for failing to purge it of dated, inaccurate information.

The report, which made five recommendations, noted the integrity of the database had long been a problem. "Despite efforts to improve MAL data, the overall quality of data has been declining in recent years," the Audit Office said. "Contributing to this position has been the challenge faced by the department in implementing an effective accountability regime to assure the quality of records over time." Compounding the problem was the fact that no one in the department took responsibility for flaws in the system. The system's shortcomings increased the likelihood that authorities might fail to detect a person who posed a threat to the community, the report found. However, the auditor said there was no evidence this had occurred.

The Audit Office said the department had conducted numerous reviews aimed at improving the quality of information, but noted that "most often, these actions falter at the point where someone within DIAC has to take responsibility for carrying out corrective action".

The quality of the Immigration Department's record-keeping has long been an issue. In 2005, the Palmer Report into the wrongful detention of Cornelia Rau criticised the department for "siloing" information.

The MAL is a huge, sprawling database comprising millions of entries. It has two components: a Person Alert List (PAL), which is a database of more than 680,000 people on whom Immigration holds "adverse" information; and more than 2.4 million records of travel documents believed to be lost, stolen or otherwise considered suspect. At present fewer than 1000 Australians are included on the list.

The Audit Office criticised Immigration for wanting to expand the number of Australians on the list. "DIAC's policy on the inclusion of Australians on MAL is not currently coherent or complete," the auditor wrote. "It has not fully clarified its reasons for wanting to list Australians on MAL, nor therefore identified the specific characteristics that would justify considering Australians for listing on PAL."


Sometimes "wogs" are OK

I originally wrote this post for my TONGUE-TIED blog but I think it belongs here too

There is a video here in which a young woman who was a bystander to a shooting uses the term "wog" to refer to what were probably a couple of Lebanese. "Wog" is a common Australian term for whites who are not of British or Northern European ancestry and is generally considered derogatory.

But in this case the speaker seems not to have been condemned, but praised instead. I am not sure of why but I suspect that it was recognized that she was simply talking in the way a lot of normal Anglo-Australians do talk among themselves and a lot of normal Anglo-Australians were glad to hear it in public. I myself use certain wicked words in private conversation too. I think it is quite obnoxious that we have to have different standards for public and private speech, though.

I learn something everyday. From the girl's imitation of what the participants said, I thought initially that the dialogue sounded Maori but where the expression "fully sick boys" came from I had no idea. It is certainly not normal Australian slang. But one of the commenters said it is most likely Lebanese. And it is certainly more likely that Lebanese would have guns than Maoris would. Despite Australia's gun bans, handgun ownership and use seems to be common among Lebanese Muslims in Sydney. That is part of the reason why the Sydney police have a special "Middle East Crime Task Force".

Another report of the story here, noting that the video concerned has been hugely popular. A Leftist blogger has a big dummy-spit about the popularity of the lady here

I suspect that "dummy spit" might be solely Australian slang: If you have ever seen a baby spit out its dummy (pacifier) and start howling at the top of its lungs, you will get the idea of what is meant. It means a bad-tempered tantrum (roughly).

There is a picture of one of the "wogs" here.

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