Friday, April 16, 2010

Man goes to government hospital seeking help; is refused help; becomes angry; is attacked by security staff and is killed

Sitting on people to restrain them quite commonly causes death by asphyxia so you would think that medical personnel would be the LAST people to do that. And what were FOUR police officers doing there? Was it because he was black?

But regardless of the cause of death, isn't that a great way to run a public hospital? Attacking mentally ill patients instead of treating them? Sure shows the level of care and expertise available, doesn't it? Your government will look after you!

A MENTALLY ill father-of-three has died after he was handcuffed by police in a north Queensland hospital, injected with anti-psychotic drugs and suffered respiratory failure.

Police Ethical Standards officers are due to meet today with the family of Lyji Vaggs, 27, who went voluntarily to his local public hospital's mental health unit several times on Wednesday seeking to be admitted, The Australian reported. Vaggs - from Townsville, was told by hospital staff there were no beds available and that he should go home and take his medication.

Family members said yesterday that Vaggs, a nephew of Aboriginal academic and activist Gracelyn Smallwood, had bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and that he told hospital staff he needed help because he was "hearing voices".

It is understood Vaggs became "boisterous", was forcibly restrained by security staff and police were called. He was handcuffed and injected with anti-psychotic drugs, at which point he stopped breathing and died yesterday.

Associate Professor Smallwood has been asked to speak on behalf of the family. She will attend today's meeting with police. The Australian understands the police officers who responded to the call for assistance were involved in only a minor way with restraining Vaggs, but did handcuff him.

"We were told several of the mental health orderlies and security staff held him down and sat on Lyji until the police came, and when he was needled he stopped breathing," a family member said.

"A mental health doctor later came out to a roomful of us who were waiting and said he could not figure out what caused Lyji to stop breathing, but it was probably when they restrained him." Professor Smallwood said....

"This boy was like my own son. He did not need to die. He was calling out for help. Now his wife Stacey is left with three little boys - and we all want to know why."


Labor Party aiming to cut private school funding?

More likely they will freeze funds going to private schools while increasing funding elsewhere. Roughly one in three pupils in Australia is now privately educated at some stage so it would take a bold government to attack that. The campaign by former Labor leader Mark Latham to do so was undoubtedly a major reason for his resounding election defeat

TONY Abbott has questioned the point of the education funding review flagged by Julia Gillard and claimed the government would cut funding for private schools if re-elected.

The Australian reported this morning that the Education Minister told the Sydney Institute she would launch a review into education funding at the end of the month. She also guaranteed schools would maintain their funding until 2012 and said there was no suggestion that non-government schools would lose funding.

But Mr Abbott has today questioned the purpose of the review if it simply recommended more money for schools. “What's the point of having an inquiry if it's just more money for everyone?” Mr Abbott asked on the Today program on the Nine network. “Where's the fiscal responsibility in that?”

Mr Abbott pointed to the Rudd government's broken promise not to means test the private health insurance rebate before the 2007 election as evidence it would seek to strip funding from private schools. “You just can't trust these people,” he said.

“They don't like private education. They will, after the election, if they're re-elected as sure as night follows day, they will try to cut private schools funding.”

But Ms Gillard said she was prepared to go to fight the next election on the issue of trust on school funding. “I'm happy to fight the next election on the issue of trust,” she said. “School funding, we have almost doubled the amount of money going into schools.”

In a speech to the Sydney Institute last night Ms Gillard said her plan was to use information gathered through the My School website to ensure all schools were adequately funded. There is widespread criticism the existing model favours elite schools over public schools.

“We have given a funding maintenance guarantee. I gave it last night. This is not about taking money of schools,” Ms Gillard said this morning. “The school funding review that I opened up last night is about all schools. We currently have a system where we don't look across at all schools and say `how are they being funded?' I want to do that, I want to get it right for every child and every school.”

The government has promised to review schools funding before 2013 when the current Howard government model expires.


Flood of illegals coming to Australia in boats shuts down all other immigrant checking

IMMIGRATION Department officials have been ordered to back off all non-essential visa checking, such as raids on brothels and illegal fruit pickers, as mainland detention centres are at risk of overflowing because of the constant transfer of asylum-seekers from Christmas Island. The Australian has learnt that Immigration Department compliance officers were told late last week to detain people only where necessary, because of the space pressure inside detention centres.

The instructions, which were issued verbally, not in writing, are understood to have been handed down last Thursday and Friday.

It is believed compliance officers were told to ease off all non-essential work and to detain people at airports only when absolutely necessary. Yesterday, a spokesman for the department conceded there was "some pressure" on detention centres onshore.

"Compliance officers have been asked to consider the impact of current detention capacity when planning their field operations, including looking at alternatives to detention," the spokesman said.

Pressure on mainland detention centres stems largely from a refusal by the government to authorise a spill to the mainland.

The comments came as authorities on Christmas Island yesterday unloaded a total of 135 people at Flying Fish Cove in nine barge trips - passengers from three boats intercepted last week.

The Australian understands that most had travelled from Afghanistan but that they had been intercepted before the government announced a suspension of all new Afghan and Sri Lankan asylum claims.

The latest arrivals came as the Danish government began investigating reports in Australia that claimed it had suspended refugee applications. Denmark is concerned that its position on asylum-seekers was misrepresented in Fairfax newspapers after statements by Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and Immigration Minister Chris Evans last Friday said that Australia was not the only country to suspend Sri Lankan refugee applications.

And yesterday, the head of Indonesia's people-smuggling taskforce at the National Police, Commander Hermawan, was quoted in local media, warning that as many as 5000 illegal Middle Eastern immigrants were preparing to cross from Malaysia to Indonesia, where they would be stranded by the Australian government's policy change.

As the latest asylum-seekers landed on Christmas Island, the Coalition moved to toughen its stance on border protection by ruling out family reunion rights for boatpeople. Less than one week after unilaterally committing a Coalition government to a lower migrant intake, the opposition's immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, has again provoked the ire of party moderates, this time by barring boatpeople from access to the family reunion scheme.

Mr Morrison yesterday told The Australian that a Coalition proposal to reintroduce controversial temporary protection visas would prohibit visa-holders from bringing family members to Australia. "We won't be offering family reunion under the TPVs," Mr Morrison said. "Then you'd be effectively offering the same rights and entitlements as permanent visas, and this is not a permanent visa."

The proposal has prompted outrage from refugee groups, who say TPVs forced asylum-seekers to bring their families on the boats with them, sometimes at the cost of their lives. Refugee Council president John Gibson yesterday condemned the proposal as reckless and inhumane. "If you want to talk about causation, there is absolutely no doubt in the world about that factor, because the number of women and children increased four-fold," Mr Gibson said.

Mr Morrison's proposal was also attacked by Liberal moderates Petro Georgiou and Russell Broadbent. Mr Georgiou, perhaps the most outspoken Liberal critic of Howard-era refugee policies, described TPVs as "pernicious instruments".

"History shows that a number of women and children on SIEV X were drowned seeking to be reunited with people in Australia who had been found to be refugees and who were on temporary protection visas," Mr Georgiou said. "Under the Howard government, almost all people on TPVs were converted to permanent protection visas."

Last night there were 2212 boat people on Christmas Island, which was originally designed to hold just 400.

The overcrowding has forced the Immigration Department to put mattresses on the floor of small rooms that held just one bed a year ago but now sleep up to five men. An education facility inside the centre has been converted to a dormitory, and people sleep where they used to take Australian studies classes.

"It's tight, but we're managing," a spokesman for the department said yesterday.


Duped dads win back child payments

Sadly, Australia seems to be one of the few countries that allows such basic justice

MEN are using a new law to win back hundreds of thousands of dollars paid in child support for children they later discovered were not theirs.

New figures obtained by The Australian reveal that since January 2007, 48 men have won back a total of $434,378.64 paid through the Child Support Agency. The men used DNA testing to prove they were not the biological fathers of children they had been supporting. One man got back more than $70,000 by proving children were not his. But among the 48 orders, the sums to be repaid by mothers ranged down to less than $20.

Section 143 of the Child Support (Assessment) Act, requires the Family Court to consider issuing orders for repayment where paternity is successfully challenged and child support has been paid.

Child Support Agency deputy secretary Philippa Godwin said the agency had received no complaints about the process, but women's groups are outraged by the numbers. "Where parentage has been satisfied for child support purposes, but a parent believes they are not a parent of a child, they can apply to a court for a declaration that a child support assessment cannot be made against them for that child," Ms Godwin said.

"As part of determining this application, the court can order a DNA test to determine paternity of the child. The results of the test will be considered by the court in deciding whether to make the declaration." Hundreds of tests have proved that an aggrieved man is, in fact, the biological father of the child in question.

Sole Parents Union president Kathleen Swinbourne said the new laws were hurting children at the centre of DNA disputes. "What does this say to children about being wanted, being loved, being parented? What does this do to children whose fathers turn around and say, `I'm not your daddy anymore, I don't want you'," she said. [More to the point, what does it say about lying and deceitful women?]

"The effect of this on children must be devastating. And that's to say nothing about the financial circumstances mothers find themselves in in trying to continue to support their children while trying to pay back child support."

Ms Swinbourne said she did not accept the argument that men should be entitled to change their role in children's lives based on biology. "If you've raised these children and parented them, you can't turn around later and change your mind. It doesn't matter what the DNA says." [And it doesn't matter if women lie and cheat? It's the woman who has caused any harm to the child by her lies]

Men's Rights Agency director Sue Price said it was about time that men who had been duped by former partners were able to remedy the situation. "I think it's a good thing that children are able to know the biological father rather than their pretend father," she said. "I think it's essential that they should be able to have the money repaid to them. Why should they have to pay for another man's child?"


Despite huge public pressure, the Queensland government still can't work out how to pay its doctors and nurses

Disillusioned Australian doctors will start drifting away from the system to be replaced by poorly trained and sometimes disastrous doctors from the Third World (e.g. India)

THE Australian Medical Association's Queensland President is concerned doctors could "turn their backs" on the public system if their pay is not processed correctly next week.

AMAQ President Dr Mason Stevenson said they surveyed 300 doctors and more than 92 per cent had been affected by Queensland Health's payroll bungle. More than 66 per cent said their pay problems had lasted for over a month.

He said the findings show the situation was worse than they originally thought. "Most have not been paid their overtime or on-call allowances, while some have not been paid at all,'' Dr Stevenson said.

Earlier, Queensland Health director general Mick Reid agrees his job should be on the line over the bungled payroll system. Speaking on ABC radio this morning, Mr Reid said many of the problems had been fixed but others had emerged. “The numbers are going down with people who are coming forward with significant pay issues,” he said. “And many of the issues we identified in the first pay run have been picked up in the second.

“Some additional issues have arisen in the second so they’re not all fixed. “The vast majority of people have been paid correctly. But even if one hasn’t been paid, that’s one too many.”

Mr Reid said the responsibility for the plagued system rested with him. “I take absolute responsibility for the payroll of Queensland Health, so it’s my responsibility,” he said.

Mr Reid was asked whether his neck should be on the chopping block. “That should be part of the review,” he said. “My first task is to get this fixed.”



Paul said...

My partner is still waiting to be paid for a shift done a month ago. Contact the pay office and you get a lecture about priorities. Seems some workers are more inportant than others when it comes to being paid. Previously when they overpaid they deducted it back out of the following pay wihtout any advice whatsoever. Sometimes with shiftwork and penalties pays can look quite good and many didn't realize they were overpaid until their next pay came up short with unexpected deductions. Enquiries usually were met with implications of dishonesty on the part of the pay recipient.

Seems the same aggressive principles don't apply with underpayments or non-payments. This "glitch" is notable for the lack of overpayments. All errors are in QH's favour.

Glenis of Qld said...

I await with great interest to see if Mr Reid does indeed take responsibility and resign. It depends if he is a Labor mate. Then he can rest assured that he wont.