Thursday, November 26, 2009

Will they ever learn? Another NSW ambulance bungle over lack of street address

How many people do they have to kill before they get their act together? These phone helplines where some know-nothing just sits in front of a computer screen are a disaster. They usually fail completely when something non-routine comes up. I have experienced it many times with Telstra and have only got action by writing a letter to the Telstra boss. But writing letters is no help in an emergency. Emergency services should have somebody with local knowledge that they can call on if their computer data is inadequate. With Telstra, I have had arrogant and ignorant operators hang up on me too. That's just how computer-driven helplines deal with non-routine problems

Six months after an inquest found NSW triple-0 operators bungled a series of calls from a dying schoolboy lost in the Blue Mountains, the service has been accused of failing another person in need of help. Stuart Jamieson called the emergency line from a remote property near Boomi in far northern NSW on Monday to get help for a man who had become seriously unwell after working in the heat. An operator ended the call because Mr Jamieson could not provide a street number.

"I gave the road that went past [the location]," Mr Jamieson told Fairfax Radio network today. "They said they wanted a house number. I said there's no house number." Asked what road his property was on, Mr Jamieson said: "The Boomi-Goondiwindi Road. They couldn't find Goondiwindi on a map because ... it's in Queensland. "They said they could not find the Boomi-Goondiwindi Road."

AAP found the road in seconds, with two clicks on Google. Because the operator could not locate Mr Jamieson on a map, she terminated the call. "We were quite prepared to meet the ambulance at the road," Mr Jamieson said. An ambulance eventually arrived after he contacted a local stock and station agent who found help by knocking on the door of the Goondiwindi ambulance service, he said.

The emergency services operator who disconnected his call has since been stood down, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The incident followed an inquest earlier this year into the death of Sydney schoolboy David Iredale. The 17-year-old became separated from his two classmates on Mount Solitary during a three-day trek in 2006. The inquest found three triple-0 operators bungled a series of calls for help he made to them before he died - because they did not have a street address.


Some more observations of Queensland police goons

An email from a reader of With dishonour they serve

Perhaps getting older one becomes more sensitive to things, but since I moved to Cotton Tree at Maroochydore 4 years ago, I have found myself thinking more and more with dissatisfaction on the matter of the police force in Qld, from the most basic level, that being, someone in the street who simply observes and takes note.

Each and every instance of observing members of the police has been unsatisfactory-to-highly unsatisfactory, and here I find myself, searching Google and reading a blog such as yours.

Of late, I witnessed a police car pull up an acquaintance of mine as he was walking home from work, and watching the manner of their interaction with him, I was appalled. It was a police car with 4 members inside, patrolling the very quiet waterside neighbourhood of Cotton Tree. They pulled the car right off the curb in front of this chap, blocking his progress along the footpath, wound down a window and demanded with aggressive tones what he was doing. When he replied he was walking home from the Plaza where he worked as a store manager (he was in full uniform, very neat, with a work bag), they queried him further about his address and place of work, then drove off abruptly with no further comment.

The interaction contained no salutation, no final words of thanks or recognition, nothing, just abrupt, aggressive bullying with absolutely no reason. The person was clearly shaken, quite badly, to the point where I offered to walk him home and hear what had happened in further detail.

I was so taken aback, and so affronted by this event in my little street, in my sleepy neighbourhood, involving a person who in no terms looked like a victim or suspect either, that I actually called the local Maroochydore station, and made a formal complaint.

This in itself was an ordeal, in which I had to endure every effort to shunt my complaint aside, to verbally badger me into recanting and hanging up, and eventually to placing obstacles in my path to making a complaint which I felt was my right, as a taxpaying citizen concerned at the conduct of a public employee. I am not so much of a pushover, and can string a sentence together, an attribute I have found that absolutely infuriates the police communications office, luckily as otherwise my complaint would have gone the way of many others, I am betting.

It seemed that at some point I passed a test, the "do we really have to do something about this person" test, after which a police communications person called me back and addressed the issue, albeit in a way that I suspect meant it would go no further. As it turns out, the car was responding to a call reporting a woman yelling in the area, and they were doing a drive by of the street.

Since then I have kept careful note of all further incidents I have witnessed by police in my town, and I must say, the attitude of dogged rudeness and self entitlement absolutely appalls me. I started out thinking along the lines of your latest blog entry, the hardships of the police job, and the social penalties they must work under, and giving them benefit of the doubt for that. But my observations are all in instances where really ordinary, respectable for lack of a better term, people have born the absolute rudeness and bullying of their local police force.

When an officer cannot enjoy an interaction with a pleasant member of the public, one like my acquaintance who would have been pro-police, polite to a fault, helpful and thankful, then there is something wrong, seriously wrong, in the system. The excuse that they deal with the awful spectrum of humanity, and hence their job is so difficult, no longer pulls weight with me.

As a PhD, a MPsych and a very well travelled, intelligent law abiding citizen (yes after dealing with the communications office one finds oneself pulling out all the armour and giving it a polish) I say the Queensland police force is a repulsive organisation, not fitting of the tax payers dollars to fund it, nor the good will it so belligerently demands.

Toothless police watchdog?

Parliament told CMC head 'refused to act' on complaint about police Mafia. They could at least have looked into it. The claim that it was outside their jurisdiction is risible. Once again we see evidence that the CMC is just a reincarnation of Sir Joh's old Police Whitewash Tribunal

A MAGISTRATE'S wife has detailed explosive claims about how the head of Queensland's corruption watchdog refused to investigate her allegations about cabals of police families committing serious crimes. Respected academic Dr Christine Eastwood has claimed Crime and Misconduct Commission chair Robert Needham failed to act on her allegations that a senior member of his own organisation was a member of one of the families. But Mr Needham last night denied the allegations, saying they appeared to stem from a long-running family dispute.

In a statutory declaration, Dr Eastwood, the wife of Southport magistrate John Costanzo, claims she and her husband held a meeting with Mr Needham in a Coolangatta hotel room in August. Dr Eastwood alleged Mr Needham taped their conversation but refused to accept her complaint. "Towards the end of the meeting, when I expressed concern that he had left me with nowhere to go, he again discouraged me from going to police and reiterated that the CMC would not accept the complaint," she said. "He left the meeting room and refused to take with him any of the documentation I had prepared in relation to the complaint."

Mr Needham said it was a case of "adding one and one and getting 10". "Unfortunately, the emotional situation means their objectivity has totally gone." Mr Needham said the allegations were not in his jurisdiction and did not raise "reasonable" suspicion.

Opposition deputy leader Lawrence Springborg attempted to table Dr Eastwood's declaration yesterday, as well as a complaint and correspondence with the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee, in Parliament. While Mr Springborg said Dr Eastwood's declaration had not yet been put before the parliamentary committee, Speaker John Mickel stymied the tabling of the documents out of caution not to breach House rules applying to submissions before a committee.

But last night, under federal parliamentary privilege, Liberal MP Peter Lindsay read Dr Eastwood's statutory declaration into the Lower House record.

Dr Eastwood claims in the documents that senior police, including detectives in the fraud squad and in the drug and property crime squad, were potentially involved in serious crimes including fraud, forgery and murder. The documents show Dr Eastwood wrote to the PCMC after Mr Needham allegedly refused to act but she objected to the committee informing the CMC of her complaint to seek a report from the watchdog on the issue. She said such a move could potentially inform the allegedly corrupt police of her complaint, putting her family at risk.

In Parliament, Mr Springborg questioned Attorney-General Cameron Dick on whether he was aware of the issue and if he was satisfied they had been fully investigated. Mr Dick criticised Mr Springborg for trying to table the documents before the PCMC but promised the matter would be properly investigated.

SOURCE. There's a smell of coverup over this -- JR

Token ETS the best idea for Australia

By Greg Sheridan

THE battle of expectations over the Copenhagen climate change conference next month has been fascinating to watch. At first, everything had to be done by Copenhagen, which would produce a binding agreement: targets, offsets, compensation for low-income countries and all the rest. Now everyone knows that nothing real will be achieved at Copenhagen. Of course, whatever happens there will be hailed as a great success. But nothing much will happen.

Watching the debate, I am afraid I have become a climate change agnostic. I am not a denier, nor really a sceptic. I am agnostic. I do not know whether the science that says we're all doomed if we don't de-carbonise the economy is true. Neither does anyone else.

But I am more than half convinced by the argument that we should give the planet the benefit of the doubt. It would be good if we polluted less. I'd like to end the dependence of Western societies on Middle Eastern oil. And one day, even if climate change is not a killer, the world will run out of fossil fuel. So by all means let's diversify our energy sources and clean up our environments. But I don't want us to go broke in the process.

And given that what we physically do in Australia will have almost no effect on the global climate, whatever the scientific faith you choose to believe in, we would be much better off facing the future, whatever it is, as a rich nation rather than a poor one.

In trying to evaluate this issue I have tried to gauge the seriousness of the key players. I'm not convinced that anybody in power anywhere really thinks this is an end-of-the-world issue. Certainly no one is behaving as if it is.

Kevin Rudd said this week that climate change is an "existential, fundamental" issue, then came up with an emissions trading scheme package so recondite and larded with giveaways that it seems unlikely to have any great effect on greenhouse gas emissions. I don't want to misrepresent our beloved PM, but this is really Rudd adopting the agnostic attitude, with his usual rhetoric of moral grandeur attached: sensibly do as little as necessary and see what comes up.

It would be folly for Australia to get out in front. In the end I suspect we'll do more or less whatever the Americans do, plus or minus half a per cent. Copenhagen will not produce anything like the binding deal originally envisaged, but will produce some movement to lower carbon emissions. Australia needs to shelter in the mainstream of developed but resource-rich countries (which really means the US), doing our bit but not overdoing it.

Washington under Barack Obama certainly doesn't appear to regard climate change as an existential question. Obama has clearly given health care a higher priority. He may well announce some sort of target before the Copenhagen meeting but no real economic action will be taken before next year and my guess is the economic action ultimately will be pretty equivocal.

The Europeans look, at times, as though they believe their own rhetoric. But most of their ostensible greenhouse reductions come from switching from coal to gas, decommissioning East German industry, exporting factory jobs to China and creative accounting.

As for China and the other developing nations, there is not the slightest chance they will sign up to any binding targets. To get them on board at Copenhagen, the world has to accept the most spectacularly rubbery figures. China, and all the countries I love such as India and Indonesia, will commit to actions only on the basis of what the boffins call counterfactuals: facts that don't exist.

A couple of years ago Indonesia's environment minister told me his country would cut emissions by 19 per cent. This sounded impressive until I realised he meant 19 per cent of what would have happened had there been no change. That kind of calculation is infinitely malleable.

A couple of weeks ago in New Delhi, India's Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor told me India had 17.5 per cent of the world's population but produced only 4 per cent of emissions. He said: "Per capita we are about 120th in the world. We're not part of the cause of the problem, but we do see the moral need to be part of the solution." He said quite a lot of nice things about the environment, but concluded: "We are still a country that cannot take 24 hours of electricity for granted. Six hundred million Indians are still not connected to electricity. If we approach development as consciously green minded, can we get help for the technology that works? (We also) have a duty to our people's development."

Two things strike me about Tharoor's elegant words. First, where is the technology that works, at anything like a reasonable price, in generating electricity without greenhouse gas emissions? Second, no Indian politician is going to tell 600 million fellow Indians they can't have electricity, but everyone in the West can. I describe this not to condemn it or to praise it but simply to register it as reality. The vast majority of new electricity generation in India, as in China and most of the developing world, comes from coal-fired power stations, and still there is no clean coal technology that works.

You cannot give electricity to 600 million people in India, and similar numbers in China, without massively increasing greenhouse gas emissions. The only technology that could possibly generate electricity on a big scale other than coal is nuclear. The Rudd government shows all its fine words on climate change are not to be taken too seriously by refusing to export uranium to India. No one in the world really takes this issue as seriously as they pretend to. Neither should we.


Sri Lankan government cracks down on people smugglers

I am guessing that this is in part driven by a hope that most of those caught will be Tamils. Sri Lankan Sinhalese have a hatred of Tamils created by many years of ferocious Tamil terrorism -- and a desire for some degree of payback is very understandable

As a further 52 asylum seekers were brought ashore on Christmas Island [Australia] yesterday, a fleet of fishing boats carrying 142 Sri Lankans bound for Australia was intercepted. Sri Lanka's navy last night said it seized the four fishing trawlers off the island nation's southern coast and handed them over to local police.

"The passengers had paid large sums of money to people smugglers to take them abroad," navy spokesman Athula Senarath said. In recent months there has been an increase in the number of Sri Lankans trying to enter Australia, many claiming political asylum - most famously the 72 who ended up aboard Australian Customs vessel Oceanic Viking.

At Christmas Island yesterday, however, the 52 new arrivals - brought to land under the watchful eye of an Australian Federal Police contingent - were Afghans.

They were transferred from an Australian Customs vessel standing off the island and conveyed by barge to the public wharf in Flying Fish Cove, where interpreters were waiting with buses to take them to the island's detention centres. Sources said the latest group comprised 39 adult males, one adult female and 10 minors, plus two crew.

Extra security precautions have been in place since Saturday night's violent riot at the island's principal immigration detention centre - where the men will be housed while their identity and security checks are carried out.

The women will be put in temporary accommodation of prefabricated huts behind barbed wire in the grounds of the recreation centre and at an adjacent construction camp. The male arrivals will put further stress on the already overcrowded camp, which was built to hold 400, expanded to cope with 800 and has recently held more than 1000. On Monday, nearly 70 people who were processed on Christmas Island were informed they were to be granted permanent visas and taken to Australia. [A reward for forcing the gates!]



Jaynath Sisodiya said... you doing....good post and interesting one...I m Jay...studied in Griffith @ Nathan Campus and now back in my home country. It was nice experience in Oz with you guys...Just want to tell you that I have same interest like you in politics..

Do visit :

I wont mind exchanging the link with you...hope it works for both of us.


Julie Brown said...

How about how the local member of Bathurst spoke about him assisting a woman whose husband died because they got lost on Ray Hadley