Sunday, July 18, 2010


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG thinks Julia Gillard is full of hot air

Gillard promising to curb immigration-driven population growth

All talk? She's been saying this ever since she got the top job but no details so far on how she will do it

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is set to deliver a speech in Brisbane today to quell concerns surrounding the stresses on Australia's cities from a rising population.

There is likely to be a major focus on Australia's population and immigration levels during the five-week election campaign.

After announcing yesterday that Australia would go to the polls on August 21, Ms Gillard headed to Queensland, which is shaping up to become the key battleground.

Both parties are set to target marginal seats in the outer-metropolitan areas of both Queensland and New South Wales where there are concerns over congestion and immigration issues. Labor holds several seats in the state on a margin of less than 5 per cent.

Earlier today Ms Gillard's first stop in Brisbane on the campaign trail was to hug babies at a family day in Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan's electorate of Lilley.

When Kevin Rudd was prime minister he said he made "no apologies for a big Australia" but Ms Gillard has already made it clear that she is not in favour of that.

Today Ms Gillard will use a speech to the Eidos Institute in Brisbane to state Labor's case for a sustainable population that would support people's quality of life. She will say that it is "no surprise that people living in the suburbs of Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and the Gold Coast are concerned by the talk of our population rushing to 36 or 40 million."

Just days after she took over the prime ministership from Kevin Rudd, Ms Gillard changed the title of Tony Burke's portfolio from population to sustainable population.

This morning Mr Burke told ABC1's Insiders that there are serious issues of congestion in Australia's cities. "There has been a practice for years in Australia that will just keep packing more and more people into the same handful of cities," he said. "The word sustainability actually gets us back to the core principle of asking the question, it's not just about constant economic growth driven by property prices continuing to soar."

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has told Sky News the Government is panicking on the issue. "Julia Gillard says she is against Kevin Rudd's big Australia. She never said that when Kevin Rudd announced it," he said. "It does look like a panicked change of policy with the election in the offing."

Mr Abbott also says a Coalition government would take a different approach to the immigration intake. "I'm not against a higher population," he said. "What I completely reject is that we should just take for granted that we're going to bring in 180,000 or 300,000 [immigrants], which are the current figures, year in year out, come what may come 2050 and beyond."

Mr Abbott did not specify what he the immigration intake would be under the Coalition but said it should be reassessed each year.


Only 222 of 800 new nursing graduates get jobs in Queensland Health intake

They employ at least 2 bureaucrats for every nurse but bureaucrat jobs are far more important than nursing jobs, of course. I'd like to hear of a single bureaucrat who has ever helped the sick, though. All they do is have meeting and generate dumb paperwork

NURSING graduates are unable to find a job in Queensland's public health system, despite a chronic shortage of nurses in hospitals.

Just 222 of the 800 nursing graduates who applied for positions with Queensland Health received a position as part of the mid-year intake this year.

Graduates and the Queensland Nurses Union believe the reasons are a lack of funding and an unwillingness to mentor young recruits.

But Queensland Health maintains it has a new strategy to be implemented next year to address the problem. "The QNU is extremely concerned about the impact budget constraints are having on the employment of new graduates and other nurses and midwives within Queensland Health," QNU assistant secretary Beth Mohle said. "Even though there is a nurse shortage, we are hearing reports that hundreds of new graduate nurses cannot find a job in Queensland."

Ms Mohle said "for some years" Queensland Health had failed to employ the full quota. "This is an imperative with thousands of new beds coming on line; we need to have a workforce ready," she said. "We have to be increasing numbers up to eight per cent to keep up with growth. "

Because of the global financial crisis many nursing staff were staying in their current jobs, but "over the next 20 years because of the age profile of the workforce two-thirds of those currently employed will leave", she said.

Meanwhile, the number of university enrolments for nurses continues to rise, with an increase of 16 per cent last year compared with 2008.

In Queensland, 54 of the state's 166 hospitals provide graduate positions.

A nursing graduate from the Kingaroy region said Queensland Health was choosing to employ casual agency staff over graduates. "They are cutting back on training because of the budget. They are not willing to give the opportunity to graduates because they haven't got the money," she said.

A Queensland Health spokeswoman confirmed 222 nursing graduates of the 800 applicants were employed in the March/April intake.

"From next year, a new strategy will be introduced to employ nurse graduates according to targets in each district, which is expected to result in employment of more graduates, particularly those who are Queensland residents," the spokeswoman said.

The Queensland Nurses Union state conference last week was told by researcher Barb Preston that it was the present nature of the labour market stopping graduates being employed.

"A high proportion of nursing employment is provided by the Government."


Child carers with criminal records get the OK from "Anti-discrimination" tribunal

Here's betting that the tribunal members would not expose their own children to such people

A foster carer who assaulted a child, a school hockey coach who hid drugs internally and a man who threw a molotov cocktail into a home have been given blue cards to work or volunteer with children.

They are among seven Queenslanders with criminal convictions who were rejected for blue cards by the Commissioner for Children and Young People, and then won them after appeals to a tribunal this year. Two of the seven people now considered safe to work with children have spent time in jail.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal decided in each of the cases, which were made public last week, that the Commissioner was wrong in finding they were "exceptional cases" for refusal.

Children's Commissioner Elizabeth Fraser said she was reviewing the Tribunal's decisions, and was considering appealing some if there were legal grounds.

In 2009-10, 230,867 blue cards were issued, while more than 650 people were prohibited from holding one.

Thirteen people who were refused blue cards successfully appealed, eight lost their appeals, and 12 others lodged appeals but then withdrew them.

The foster carer was convicted of common assault and put on a six-month good behaviour bond in 2008 for punishing an eight-year-old girl in his care using a rubber thong and a belt, leaving bruises.

School sports coach Laura Thompson, 20, was convicted in 2008 of possessing ecstasy and cocaine, which she had secreted internally to avoid police detection. She was fined $750 almost three months after she was issued with a blue card, which was cancelled last year.

Former Broncos player Fletcher Holmes, 22, was in 2006 convicted of assault occasioning bodily harm in company and put on two years' probation. He also has been on probation until this month for common assault for touching a female under her skirt, and had drink driving and unlicensed driving convictions.

Others who obtained blue cards on appeal were:

Richard John Waldon, 33, who had 15 convictions, including throwing a molotov cocktail into a home, extortion, assault and stealing; and

John Drinkwater, who served three years in jail until 2008 for throwing petrol bombs into an occupied house and making extortion threats.

Two other mothers with lengthy drug use histories and convictions also were issued with blue cards.


Thug NSW cops refuse to admit that they got it wrong

No apology of course. I just hope there was a substantial costs award against them

LISA MAREE BOERSMA had just returned from a holiday in the US when she found herself thrust into the middle of a nightmare. On June 23 last year the 26-year-old swimwear designer and part-time model from Bondi Beach found her black BMW surrounded by armed officers from the drug squad.

Ms Boersma was surprised when police found five one-kilogram bags of white powder and a kilogram of hydrophosphorous acid, which they said could be used as a precursor chemical in making methylamphetamine.

She had no idea how the bags got there and was stunned when a roadside test of the powder gave a reaction consistent with methylamphetamine. She was arrested and charged with supplying a prohibited drug and possessing in excess of five kilograms of methylamphetamine, which could have resulted in a 25-year jail sentence.

Ms Boersma told police that while she was abroad her car was used by her bodybuilder boyfriend and his mates. For three days she was held in custody until her solicitor, Stephen Alexander, secured bail.

In an attempt to have the bail overturned police speeded up testing of the powder, which would normally have taken six to 12 weeks. It was only then they discovered they had made a grave mistake - the powder was caffeine dimethyl sulfone, a legally obtainable supplement taken by bodybuilders.

Yet police would not drop the charges. Finally, on Thursday, Chief Magistrate Graeme Henson in the Downing Centre Local Court dismissed the case against Ms Boersma. "My client has gone from hell to heaven in having to endure this mistake," Mr Alexander said as they walked from court.



Paul said...

"I'd like to hear of a single bureaucrat who has ever helped the sick, though. All they do is have meeting and generate dumb paperwork"

Like never before. Its a beaureaucrat free-for-all.

Paul said...

"They are cutting back on training because of the budget. They are not willing to give the opportunity to graduates because they haven't got the money,"

This says it all really. The hospitals find they have to do a lot of the training the college based education system of nurses neglects to do. We were told that tertiary training was superior to the old hospital based training model, and yet the hospitals still find they have to provide large amounts of support to get most of these "superior" nurses to a level of basic, safe proficiency that used to be taken for granted with hospital graduates.