Thursday, June 17, 2010

Number of desk officers grows 10 times faster than front-line police in Victoria

The cancer of bureaucracy is particularly virulent where the government is Left-run -- as it is in Victoria

THE number of desk-bound officers in Victoria has grown 10 times faster than front line police in the past two years. Figures released to the Herald Sun show half the extra non-operational officers have joined Chief Commissioner Simon Overland's office.

The revelation comes as the force spends thousands of dollars to fight access to police rosters in the Supreme Court.

Opposition crime spokesman Andrew McIntosh said the figures helped explain why the force appealed against a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal order to release police rosters to the Opposition. Mr McIntosh said the rosters, which had been released under Freedom of Information in 2007 and 2008, would show the true staffing levels at police stations.

He also questioned the role of Police Minister Bob Cameron, who signed off on the appeal. It is the first time in almost a decade a government minister has personally lodged a gazetted appeal notice. "This constitutes unprecedented political interference by the minister in the actions of a supposedly independent agency," he said.

Between June 2008 and March this year, the number of police in Mr Overland's office doubled to 26, accounting for one in every six of the 82 extra sworn officers to join the force in that period. The extra 27 non-operational police took the total of office-bound officers to 493, a rise of almost 6 per cent. The 55 extra operational police took operation numbers to 10,512 - an increase of 0.5 per cent.

A police spokesman said the force was already working on plans to redeploy more than 250 police from desk jobs back to operational roles after promised Government financing. The increase in staff in Mr Overland's office was due largely to two continuing projects. The force also denied any accusations of political bias.

Mr Cameron's spokesman said the minister's involvement in the appeal was an administrative requirement.

Ombudsman George Brouwer has begun inquiries into an Opposition complaint against Victoria Police about its handling of FoI requests.


Rudd corruption over political advertising

The Rudd Government is facing an inquiry into its broken promise on political advertising. 7News can reveal a public servant who recommended the advertising watchdog be dissolved is now being paid a small fortune to do the job himself.

Auditor-General Ian McPhee will front a Senate committee in Canberra tomorrow to publicly detail his concerns about Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's back flip.

Earlier this year Mr Rudd dumped a system which proposed advertising campaigns be scrutinised by the auditor-general independently. He has since passed the role onto a committee of former public servants, including advertising review author Dr Allan Hawke.

The way in which Mr McPhee was swept aside by Dr Hawke's review has guaranteed a new controversy. Dr Hawke is career bureaucrat and former chief-of-staff to Paul Keating. His review led to Mr McPhee being dumped from the independent role.

Dr Hawke took 18 days and was paid $60,000 to recommend a new panel to oversee government ads, which he now heads. He works four days a month for $175,000 a year.

The move came despite Mr Rudd's "100 per cent guarantee" promise before the 2007 election that government advertising would be independently reviewed.

In an explosive letter, copied to Mr Rudd, Mr McPhee said the government review "seriously misunderstands" his role. He said it contains "a number of inaccuracies" and "generally softens" the rules removing "rigour and discipline in this sensitive area."

Mr Rudd suggested Mr McPhee was uncomfortable being the umpire of government advertising. "The Auditor-General in fact wrote to me and indicated that he regarded this as potentially in conflict with his position," Mr Rudd said.

Other politicians, like Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, see it differently. "Make no mistake, the government has sacked the independent umpire on this," he said. "The Australian people have every right to think this stinks."

Greens Senator Bob Brown has a bill before parliament to reinstate the auditor-general's role, as the $38 million taxpayer-funded mining tax ad blitz continues to flood our screens. "It's again an example of the executive government simply changing the rules to benefit itself," Senator Brown said.


400 frustrated people a week walk out of hospital emergency departments without being seen to

FOUR hundred people a week are walking out of emergency departments without being treated because they are frustrated with long waits. Almost 20,000 untreated people left South Australian emergency departments last year, about 3000 of those after medical staff warned them they should stay, latest statistics show.

Doctors say people often get assessed, then leave once they realise there is a long waiting time for treatment, but those people generally only have minor complaints and should not be in the emergency department anyway.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report Australian hospital statistics 2008-09, almost four in 10 people presenting to hospital are not seen within recommended times. The less urgent the case, the more likely they are to be waiting for extended amounts of time.

The Australian Medical Association says it is a frustrating situation for everyone. "We would like to think that people shouldn't have to wait," AMA state president Dr Andrew Lavender said. "But we also have to realise people attend emergency departments who do not necessarily need to.

"It is (frustrating). It creates stresses on not just medical and nursing staff when people are waiting a long time ... the more people that are there who don't need to be there, the longer everyone else has to wait. "If you are concerned (about a health issue), attend and you will be seen, but bear in mind that medical and nursing staff will prioritise patients ... even relatively significant complaints may have to wait a while."

The proportion of people walking out is 5.6 per cent in SA. The NT and the ACT have rates of about 10 per cent, while only 2.5 per cent of people walk out in WA.

The report shows 100 per cent of people needing resuscitation were seen on time, while 74 per cent of emergency cases were seen within recommended times. Overall, 63 per cent of people seeking care were seen on time, compared with 68 per cent nationally.

Australasian College of Emergency Medicine SA spokesman Associate Professor Bob Dunn said the people leaving were generally those with more minor complaints, and that it was "very, very rarely a deadly problem" because doctors would either convince those with serious issues to stay, or detain them if their reasoning was impaired. He said people might leave without treatment because they don't want to wait or because they are frightened at the idea of being admitted to hospital.

"The percentage (of people walking out without treatment) definitely does go up when departments are busy," he said. "It's an inconvenience that people haven't been treated when they'd like to be treated, but it rarely has a significant impact in terms of mortality."

The mean waiting time for elective surgery in public hospitals was 36 days, better than the 75-day wait in the ACT, but worse than the 27-day wait in Queensland. The national average was 34 days. The proportion of people waiting more than a year dropped from 3.9 per cent in 2007-08 to 2.7 per cent in 2008-09.

State Health Minister John Hill said there were other options for sick people. "Emergency departments are for medical emergencies only and people who go to EDs with more minor complaints can expect to wait until all the urgent cases have been dealt with first," he said. "If your condition is not urgent then it would be much better to see your GP or call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 for advice from a registered nurse."

Nationally, the report shows hospital admissions had risen 16 per cent since 2004-05 to over eight million, with admissions to public emergency departments the fastest-growing area.

AIHW Hospital Unit spokesman George Bodilsen said elective surgery admissions were also rising, with 1.8 million admissions last year. The median waiting time has stabilised and the proportion of people waiting longer than a year fell.


Federal government is finally getting a bit realistic about so-called "refugees"

Prompted by strong public opinion against their previous "open door" policies. Since all the Afghans passed through several countries on their way to Australia, NONE of them were in fact seeking refuge. They had refuge as soon as they arrived in Pakistan

MORE than 40 per cent of Afghan asylum-seekers are being rejected as refugees, down sharply on the 95 per cent who were being waved through less than one year ago. Immigration Minister Chris Evans yesterday said more than 220 Afghans had been denied "in the last month or two". "They are now getting rejected at quite large rates," Senator Evans said. "The last percentage I saw was over 40 per cent."

Afghans comprise the biggest group of asylum-seekers who arrived at Christmas Island last year and so far this year.

Crowding on Christmas Island has prompted the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to look for mainland options to house detainees.

Senator Evans said offers were flowing in from organisations on the mainland wanting to house asylum-seekers from Christmas Island. Those making approaches included maverick West Australian MP Wilson Tuckey, who suggested asylum-seekers could live at a pub in the wheatbelt town of Southern Cross.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Thank you. They are refugees when leaving their home country. They cease to be refugees once they make a second or third choice.