Thursday, June 24, 2010

How the mighty are fallen: Less than 3 years from rooster to feather duster

After the report below was filed, it emerged that Kevvy had stepped aside and the redhead is now PM. This was a pretty desperate throw as the Federal Labor party has to be badly damaged by it. Few people in the party liked Kevvy. It was only his ability to con the electorate that put him in the job and kept him there. Gillard has turned out much better from a conservative viewpoint than anyone expected so her challenge could return the Labor party to the sort of pragmatism we saw in the Hawke era. I am a bit biased in favour of redheads so I wish her well! Background on the precipitous fall of Rudd here

KEVIN Rudd this morning looks certain to lose his prime ministership in a caucus ballot after he and Julia Gillard last night spent a desperate 2.5 hours in failed talks.

Sky News reports Deputy Prime Minister Ms Gillard was tipped to take up to 70 of the 112 Caucus votes, and that Treasurer Wayne Swan has reportedly backed her for today's leadership ballot (9am AEST). Sky News believes Ms Gillard should win the vote on the reported numbers. Mr Swan is likely to become Deputy Prime Minister.

Key Labor powerbrokers yesterday moved on Mr Rudd, telling Ms Gillard she had the numbers to win. But Mr Rudd made it clear he would not step aside and that his enemies would have to force him out.

The final straw for Ms Gillard came early yesterday. Angered by a morning newspaper report leaked from the Prime Minister's office, questioning her loyalty to Mr Rudd, she called senior powerbroker and fellow Victorian MP Bill Shorten. She wanted to know what to do.

"It p***ed everyone in the caucus off," a New South Wales senior factional leader said. "And it p***ed her off, too. She has been nothing but loyal. And to have that happen was not only stupid but unwarranted."

By late afternoon, Mr Shorten, fellow Victorian Senator David Feeney, NSW MP Tony Burke and South Australian right wing factional leader Don Farrell went to see Ms Gillard in her office. They had been conspiring for the past week and they wanted her to challenge. "I'll consider it," she said. The dice was rolled.

A grim-faced Ms Gillard later confirmed she would stand in the leadership contest as she left Parliament House after telling the Prime Minister she had the numbers to oust him. "I will be a candidate in tomorrow's ballot," Ms Gillard told reporters. If she loses today she would be expected to quit as a minister and go to the backbench.

After the meeting with Ms Gillard, Mr Rudd called a press conference in which he slammed faction leaders, saying voters and not factions had made him Prime Minister, and vowed to fight for his job.


Political correctness kept a disastrous incompetent in her crucial job

Victoria police descended into new lows of incompetence and corruption during her non-leadeship of it

KEY members of the Victorian government were deeply unhappy with the performance of then police chief Christine Nixon in 2007. This led to speculation on her possible early departure from the job.

Secretly taped telephone intercepts by the Office of Police Integrity contradict the Brumby government's public claims that Ms Nixon always had its full backing during the turbulent period when links were being uncovered between corrupt police and the gangland wars.

This week in parliament, Premier John Brumby was forced to reiterate his support for Ms Nixon during her time as chief commissioner. He also denied his government had received Operation Briars phone-tap material during wage negotiations with the police union. Operation Briars was investigating possible police involvement in a murder.

The OPI's own summaries of telephone intercepts from numerous calls made by former assistant commissioner Noel Ashby between June and October 2007 - which have never been publicly disclosed - reveal Tim Pallas, the Roads and Ports Minister and a former senior adviser to former premier Steve Bracks, was unhappy with Ms Nixon's performance.

They also show that the office of Police Minister Bob Cameron was dismayed by Ms Nixon's handling of enterprise bargaining negotiations with the union.

The OPI summary of a call between Mr Ashby and Mr Pallas on July 31, 2007, only days after Mr Bracks resigned as premier, states that the two men: "Discuss implications of Bracks' resignation and portfolio change. "NA (Ashby) enquires as to if Bob Cameron will be moving. NA states that CCP (chief commissioner of police Nixon) will have to step up to the plate. "Pallas states that he will believe it when he sees (it)."

In another call, on June 29, former police media director Steve Linnell and Mr Ashby discuss Mr Pallas's view on Ms Nixon. "NA informs Linnell on his most recent conversation with Tim Pallas," the OPI states.

"The following developments were repeated to Linnell - the CCP (Nixon) is likely going in the next 12 months. "NA says things are not good between government and VicPol because of the CCP. "Linnell says there will be industrial issues because of the CCP. "NA says he has inferred that and Bracks is aware of that.

"Pallas has said to NA that there are risks, she will not be there at the next election but they cannot shorten her contract. She'll go next year if she goes out on a high and if (police union chief Paul) Mullett lays off."

That same day, Mr Ashby tells then assistant commissioner Leigh Gassner Mr Pallas had told him - in the words of the OPI summary - "the government won't run with CCP much longer".

These private opinions were at odds with the government's public support for Ms Nixon, with Mr Brumby declaring on April 9, 2008: "In terms of the chief commissioner, I've said it before and I'll say it again, she enjoys the full confidence of me and the government."


A badly troubled public hospital system in S. Aust.

REPORTS of violence, infections, falls, and medication mistakes affecting public hospital patients increased last year.

Health Minister John Hill tabled the SA Patient Safety Report 2008-09 in Parliament yesterday, which shows the number of reported incidents rose from 22,522 in 2006-07, to 26,094 in 2007-08, and 29,056 last year.

It shows the "sentinel" or most serious events included:

SIX hospital inpatient suicides.

SEVEN instruments left in patients after surgery.

TWO maternal deaths.

More than 7000 patients fell over; nine of them died after falling and 23 of them suffered serious injuries.

About 5900 medication mistakes included 660 overdoses, and about 1750 medication omissions. The number of healthcare-associated infection incidents more than doubled to 167.

The report's introduction says errors are a "normal human condition", that most "did not cause significant harm", and highlights that the increase is in reported numbers, which shows the robustness of the department's safety culture.

Mr Hill said reporting such incidents was important because staff can learn from mistakes and refine procedures. SA Health chief public health officer Dr Stephen Christley said the department had an "excellent safety culture".

"Extensive work has been, and continues to be, conducted across SA Health to address the state and national patient safety priorities," he said.

"This includes improving patient identification procedures, programs to improve team work and new initiatives to help prevent healthcare associated infections."

Opposition health spokesman Duncan McFetridge said a "ballooning layer of bureaucrats" and "years of under-resourcing" of the system had led to a "skyrocketing number of patient safety incidents".

"Minister John Hill has overseen the SA public health system as it crumbles while the Rann Government pours funds into the ballooning budget for the railyards hospital - patients' health and safety is compromised while in SA public hospitals," he said.


Incurable NSW public hospital system

HOSPITALS in NSW have performed 2304 fewer elective operations than last year despite an injection of $122 million over four years in federal funds to cut waiting lists, a leaked report shows.

The monthly Surgical Services Taskforce report also reveals that more than 2000 patients have waited longer for operations than the recommended time set by their doctors.

The proportion of elective procedures cancelled on the day of surgery has risen to 4.3 per cent, more than double NSW Health's benchmark of 2 per cent.

In May the Sydney West Area Health Service, which includes Westmead and Nepean hospitals, cancelled 5.1 per cent of planned procedures. Between July last year and March, it performed 2304 fewer surgeries - the same figure as the total for all NSW hospitals.

Figures for the remaining seven area health services and the Children's Hospital at Westmead cancel one another: Sydney South West and Eastern Sydney/Illawarra have each performed about 500 more surgeries than last year.

The Health Minister, Carmel Tebbutt, said Sydney West had been given $6.5 million more to increase operations and reduce surgery waiting times.

She acknowledged the frustration of patients who have often rearranged their lives, been "prepped" for theatre and then been told their surgery was not going ahead.

"That is unfortunate and we would always prefer not to have to do that, but it is, from time to time, an essential fact when we are running a very busy health system and we have to respond to the most urgent cases first."

On-the-day cancellations are usually due to a lack of theatre time or post-operative beds, a change in the patient's condition or the patient pulling out.

The opposition health spokeswoman, Jillian Skinner, said she had been told of four patients who had been cancelled 14 times, including a 63-year-old man who is still waiting for a heart valve replacement after five bookings.

A record 67,478 patients were awaiting non-urgent surgery at the end of March, a 7 per cent increase on the same time last year and almost 15 per cent more than in March 2008.

Ms Tebbutt said 2874 more operations were completed in the first three months of this year than in the same quarter last year. She pointed to Commonwealth data this week that showed NSW patients received elective surgery within clinically recommended time frames more than in any other state.

"There is no doubt that planned surgery poses huge challenges for our health system but we are responding to that with increased investment, a focus on patients waiting longer times and our predictable surgery program."


1 comment:

Paul said...

The Queensland Health payroll debacle is now leading to worsening understaffing because casual nurses won't work for them if they don't have to, and full-time/part-timers are refusing to do extra/overtime shifts. This is because these are the types of shift least likely to be paid or most likely to be underpaid. If they overpay (which is rare) they grab it back from your next pay without any consultation, but I know people still battling to get paid for shifts worked in April let alone now. I expect they'll start calling for "award simplification" next, hoping that we've forgotten that the old system worked.