Sunday, September 19, 2010

Outrageous: Big compensation payments to illegals from the Australian government

Why does Australia owe these people anything? Nobody asked them to come to Australia and they undoubtedly came at their own risk

DOZENS of asylum-seekers have been awarded $5.4 million in compensation payouts for injuries they suffered while in detention. Official figures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph reveal more than 50 immigration detainees have pocketed an average of $100,000 each over the past two years.

The Sunday Telegraph can also reveal that an outbreak of the infectious diseases typhoid and tuberculosis has hit the overflowing detention centre on Christmas Island.

The Federal Government refused to detail the reasons for the multimillion-dollar payouts to detainees, saying only they were related to wrongful detention or injuries suffered in detention.

A Department of Immigration spokesman said compensation payouts and disease outbreaks were "inevitable" given the large number of asylum-seekers in detention. "This is a department that deals with 26 million interactions with human beings every year - border crossings, visas, compliance," spokesman Sandi Logan said. "It's the law of averages - some may well choose to litigate against us or, in some rare cases, we may be at fault and have to pay out under Comcare and Comcover."

But the number of compensation payouts has exploded over the past two years. According to figures supplied by the department, there were 32 cases in 2008-09, with a total payout of $3.3 million, and 22 cases between July, 2009 and May, 2010, involving a total of $2.1 million. Most cases were paid out by the Federal Government's insurer, Comcover.

The number of compensation claims involving immigration detainees has been growing from a trickle in 2000, but total payouts of $12.3 million over the past 10 years have included two huge payments to Australians wrongfully detained.

The figures show that between 2000 and 2005, there were only four cases, with a total payout of $163,225. In 2005-06, there was one payout of $200,000. In 2006-07, there were four cases, including a settlement with the wrongly deported Australian Vivian Solon, costing $2.6 million.

Ms Solon was mistakenly deported to the Philippines. Gravely ill, she was found in a hospice north of Manila by a Catholic priest in 2005.

In 2007-08, there was a record payout in dollar terms with 13 cases for a total of $4 million, including one for another wrongly detained and wrongly deported Australian, Cornelia Rau.

As officials struggle to stem the flow of boat arrivals, the Federal Government has been forced to spend another $50 million on increasing the capacity of detention facilities on the mainland to cope with the more than 5000 asylum-seekers now in detention.

The compensation bill is likely to blow out many times more, as the claims paid out in the past two years relate to asylum-seekers in detention prior to August, 2007 when there were a fraction of the numbers now.


Another killing at the hands of a poorly-run government hospital

No doctor at the hospital! Boy dies

A HOSPITAL sent a desperately ill schoolboy home with junior Panadol and a pamphlet on gastroenteritis, saying he would be fine - just hours before he died. Now the grieving parents of Andrew Allan are demanding to know why their son was not considered sick enough to be checked by a doctor at Northam Hospital, near Perth. Instead he was seen by a nurse.

Kylie Allan, 42, and her husband, James, 46, said their son would be alive if he had received appropriate medical attention. "They are supposed to know what they are doing," Mrs Allan told The Sunday Times. "We want answers - how could this happen?"

Mrs Allan said Andrew could barely walk when she took him to hospital on Thursday and that he was sweating and vomiting with a high fever. "After I said that I was really, really, worried about his temperature (the nurse) took his temperature and said that it was over 40C," Mrs Allan said.

"But (the nurse) said that Andrew just had gastro and gave us a pamphlet on gastro and told us to go home and that he would be okay. "We were at the hospital for less than 10 minutes. "We walked in, saw someone straight away, and he was given some kids' Panadol and two hydrolite sticks, and that was it. We didn't get to see a doctor or the emergency room. We were seen in the hallway where you talk to someone through the glass windows. The triage is as far as we got. "I am berating myself thinking maybe if I had gone to another hospital . . . maybe if I had taken a second opinion."

After leaving the hospital, Mrs Allan drove Andrew to the family home between Meckering and York about 30 minutes away after picking up 14-year-old daughter Emily from work in Northam. She said Andrew took a shower and went straight to bed at about 9.30pm. "I said to Andrew, 'They say you're not sick, you're just mildly sick, you'll get better.'"

At 7am next morning she found her son dead in his bed. Mrs Allan's youngest child Sean, 12, came into her bedroom and said: "Andrew must be feeling better, he's quiet." "As soon as Sean said that I raced into the bedroom that the boys share," she said. "Andrew was completely cold and stiff. He must have died virtually straight away. "It was horrendous, especially when my 12-year-old son followed me into the bedroom," Mrs Allan sobbed.

The Year 11 student was too sick to attend Northam High School last week suffering flu-like symptoms.

Long distance truck driver Mr Allan said he was stunned that the decision of one person could have such catastrophic consequences. "You don't expect to take your boy home from hospital after being told he will be fine to find him dead the next morning," he said. "It's just horrific." He said he would welcome a coronial inquest into his son's death.

A Health Department spokeswoman last night said a doctor had been on call, but not on site.

WA Country Health Service Acting-Chief Executive Officer, Wayne Salvage offered his condolences to the family last night and promised a thorough investigation. "On behalf of the WA Country Health Service I extend my deepest sympathy to the Allan family at the tragic loss of their son Andrew," he said in a statement. "I wish to reassure them that a full and thorough review will be carried out into the circumstances surrounding their son's treatment at Northam Hospital."

Northam Hospital has been blighted by a doctor shortage in the past.

Australian Medical Association state president David Mountain said it was not unreasonable to expect to see a doctor for diagnosis. "In general, if you present to a hospital emergency department anywhere, you should have the expectation that you can see a doctor to make a decision about whether you should come in or go home," he said. He said decisions on anyone with potentially serious illnesses should be made by a doctor. "That should never be the workload of a nurse," he said.


Kevin Rudd's absurd school buildings. A "revolution" all right: A great leap backwards

The Federal program that produced these absurdities was called "Building the Education Revolution" but the $600,000 school tuckshops are 'unusable'. A big price for a tiny building. You could build two family homes for the same price

SMALL canteens constructed under the federal government's Building the Education Revolution program encourage the provision of pre-packed heat-and-serve food. Critics of the canteens, which are about 24 square metres and cost up to $600,000, say they lack the space needed to prepare fresh food.

The Healthy Kids Association general manager, Jo Gardner, described the buildings as unsuitable for producing healthy food on a mass scale. "The standards being implemented by the state Department of Education and Training in new and refurbished canteens are grossly inadequate," she said.

"They do not meet opportunities for schools to efficiently and effectively deliver fresh food - they have inadequate bench space; they don't have wash-up sinks that are of a commercial nature. The push is very heat-and-serve."

The department has agreed to extend the new canteen being built at Tottenham Central School near Dubbo after parents complained it was unusable.

"The biggest problem with the design is that the preparation space is minimal," the school's Parents and Citizens' Association president, Rick Bennett, said. "The bench space is OK if you are serving pre-packed food like pies and sausage rolls where there is no preparation. But as soon as you need to prepare something like a salad box you're in trouble because of the lack of space."

He also said the lack of serving space meant children would spend most of their lunch hour in the queue rather than running around. "The kids only have a small amount of time for their lunch," he said. "You want as many people serving in the canteens as possible so the kids don't spend their entire lunch break standing in a line waiting to be served. By the time they have eaten, there is no time for them to run around and play."

An Education Department spokesman said the canteens were in line with the department's schools facilities standards.

But Louise Appel, secretary of the Parents and Citizens' Association at Orange Grove Public School, which received the same canteen, said the design was flawed. "They told us that this was the standard design and I would say, 'But read my lips - there is no bench space,' " Ms Appel said. "What sort of standard design for a canteen has no food preparation space?"

The canteen at Orange Grove, in Sydney's inner-west, has also undergone alterations to create more bench space.


Report details shocking failures to protect black children

Good policing could prevent this but political correctness makes authorities allergic to policing of blacks

ABANDONED children wander from house to house looking for food and a place to sleep.

Boys barely in their teens sexually abuse girls as young as five. Drunks openly flout laws that were supposed to crack down on the "rivers of grog" identified in the Little Children Are Sacred report.

Starvation is widespread, prompting calls for a foreign aid-style feeding program. More than three years after the multibillion-dollar federal indigenous intervention, government agencies and non-government organisations say children continue to be vulnerable to sexual and other abuse in many Northern Territory communities.

A shocking picture of the failure of agencies to protect children has emerged in submissions to the territory's child protection inquiry, which is expected to recommend a shake-up of the system when it submits its report to the government in Darwin next month.

The government's own Office of Children's Commissioner, which was set up to monitor the protection of children, makes some of the strongest criticisms of the system.

A number of homeless children living in communities have no parental supervision and are often vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, the submission says.

Government agencies have known about them for years, it says. The submission says a lack of volunteer foster carers in the territory has contributed to children often being placed in unsuitable arrangements.

There is so much stress on the system that often children in situations where there is neglect are either ignored or not able to be investigated and supported, it says.

A report submitted by the Northern Territory Department of Justice details the failure of the intervention to stop child sexual abuse, alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and criminal activity relating to illegal drugs in the community of Binjari, 20 kilometres south-west of Katherine.

The community of about 300 is prescribed under the intervention, which means there is supposed to be a strict ban on alcohol, drugs and pornography. But to circumvent the alcohol ban residents created a drinking camp just outside the boundary of the prescribed area, from where they make "grog runs" into Katherine, according to the report.

From June to November last year there were 203 reported incidents to police in Binjari. Of 75 recorded offences, 52 were related to alcohol. The report details the sexual behaviour of the large group of children, including boys aged up to 15 who abuse "predominantly females aged five to 11 years".

"These issues may be related to child sexual abuse perpetrated by adults, pornography being shown or … sexual activity occurring in the view of children," the report says.

In its submission the Save the Children organisation says it has repeatedly notified the Northern Territory Department of Family and Children's Services about serious concerns for the safety of children with little or no response. "No notification we have made on a town camp has resulted in children being removed to safety despite, at times, serious violence and neglect," the submission says.

The Remote Office of the NT Department of Families and Children says in its submission that a feeding program like those carried out by the Red Cross in foreign countries is needed deliver essential food to starving children and other programs must address the underlying issues, which include poor parenting, poverty, overcrowding, violence, drug abuse, alcoholism and gambling.

The NT Legal Aid Commission says in its submission that up to 200 children from the territory have dropped off all child protection radars after the NT government transferred them to other states.

The inquiry has twice delayed releasing its report, which is scheduled to be sent to the government on October 18.


Sydney private school sued for $1m over inaction on paedophile teachers

Schools and others often try a coverup to protect their reputation but when the fat hits the fire, the damage is even worse

KNOX GRAMMAR SCHOOL, where four teachers molested young boys, is being sued for more than $1 million over claims it neglected its duty of care to one alleged victim.

In documents filed in the Supreme Court, a 40-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, accused the North Shore private school of failing to provide a safe environment to ensure "he was not exposed to the risk of sexual predation by teachers".

He claimed Knox failed to investigate complaints of abuse and was vicariously liable for some teachers' conduct.

Five former teachers have been charged with child sex offences dating back to the 1970s and '80s. Of those, four have acknowledged guilt. Most recently, Adrian John Nisbett, 61, yesterday admitted to indecently assaulting three boys then aged 16 and 17.

The man suing the school states that when he was in years 5 and 6, a teacher twice groped his genitals in public. In the first instance another teacher watched on but did nothing, he said in a statement of claim.

"[The teacher] demonstrated to the school community a … tendency to inappropriately touch students by purporting to tuck their shirts into their trousers, fondling and by other means as opportunity presented," his claim stated.

The man is now a disability pensioner living with depression caused, he said, by the damage and injury he suffered as a result of the alleged assaults. He believes the school knew what the teachers were doing. "Their conduct was not in any way circumscribed or curtailed by the first defendant [Knox] despite its … nature and even when observed by other staff members," he alleged.

His total claim against the school and one former teacher is expected to amount to more than $1 million.

"It takes courage for our client to pursue his rights against the school and the teacher directly involved," Ross Koffel, the director of law firm Koffels, said.

Former Knox teachers Craig Howard Treloar, Damien Piers Vance and Roger Warren James have already admitted to offences against boys.

Yesterday, Nisbett acknowledged he indecently assaulted three Knox senior school boys in 1986 and 1976.... Nisbett pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault, carrying a maximum imprisonment of four years. He admitted to a third offence, which will be taken into account in his October sentencing.

A fifth former teacher, Barrie Tiffin Stewart, is expected to face a committal hearing this month.


The State of Corruption again

Sydney Water ignored extortion

SYDNEY WATER CORPORATION has been so lackadaisical in its integrity checking that for years inspectors have been able to rip off sewerage contractors with little worry about being caught, the Independent Commission Against Corruption has heard.

Stephen Warren Purcell, manager of acceptance and compliance within Sydney Water's urban growth branch, has agreed under questioning that Sydney Water had done nothing about corruption among constructors and inspectors, "other than hoping someone will come forward".

Questioned by Tony Payne, SC, counsel assisting an inquiry by ICAC into corruption allegations against Sydney Water, Mr Purcell agreed it was disturbing and serious to hear that an inspector, Kenneth John Buckley, had been the subject of complaints a decade ago.

Mr Buckley has admitted to the ICAC Commissioner, David Ipp, QC, at the present inquiry that he has been taking money from contractors for years as a prerequisite for approving their work. The ICAC has heard evidence that other inspectors have made it a regular practice and that it has been going on for decades.

Yesterday, the ICAC heard that sewerage contractors who were being extorted were afraid to complain because they thought they would lose their accreditation as plumbers able to work on Sydney Water projects.

Mr Payne put to Mr Purcell in examination that the meetings of the External Quality Control Council, a monitoring body established to overlook Sydney Water operations, had "failed miserably" as a body to tackle corruption. Mr Purcell replied: "On reflection, I would say, yes."

Mr Payne pointed out that according to another manager, Paul Saxby, two complaints about Mr Buckley had been made to the council in the period 2000-2002. Mr Purcell could not recall, but he agreed that no record had been made of the complaints.

"We believe that people are basically honest in their dealings," he said. "Our concentration has certainly been about safety and environmental issues."

Yesterday, Phillip Farrell, an engineering consultant who had instigated the External Quality Control Council, said that 10 years ago he had brought complaints about Mr Buckley to the attention of Mr Purcell and Mr Saxby on the council.

He knew Mr Buckley had been very "pedantic" in his inspections but the complaint was that he had asked for money from constructors to pass the work.

The contractors who had complained to him had been "frightened" to tender for work in the inner-city area, where Mr Buckley operated, he said. Mr Saxby had told him Sydney Water was going through Mr Buckley's record, but had then told him Mr Buckley was doing "a good job".

Mr Farrell said Sydney Water had wanted to take a matter further only if the contractor came forward. It was not prepared to operate on hearsay. But the contractors were not prepared to come forward and identify themselves.



Paul said...

The Nurse should have known better. There is no excuse. Temperature of 40 rings all necessary alarm bells in a competent practitioner. Maybe it was Gastro, who knows? Certainly not a triage nurse behind a window.

Glenisd said...

The various Governments, State and Federal Labor Heads are not interested or are not competent enough to ensure that there are the proper rules in place to prevent needless deaths in Public Hospitals.

Until they are thrown out of office and replaced with a Government who knows what they are doing then our Hospitals are more dangerous than staying at home and going to your
own doctor.

Nurses should only carry out treatment recommended by a doctor. They are not expected to diagnose patients.

Hospitals are not places where "jobs for the boys" are the rule. Shame!

Paul said...

Glenisd is absolutely right. The role of the triage nurse is ultimately to triage, and in this case, by sending them off with a pamphlet on Gastro, the nurse presumed to diagnose. Gastro or not, the issue was a temperature of 40 degrees in a sick, young child. That alone demanded more comprehensive medical assessment and a presumed competent nurse working triage was once supposed to know this. I don't blame the hospital so much as I blame the nurse here. Honestly the dumbing-down of this profession really does correspond neatly with the rise in its academic/tertiary profile and growing arrogance.

I was just recently involved in interviewing and assessing graduate nurse applications for my hospital. The spelling and grammar had to be seen to be believed (interpreted?). At least I was spared the handwriting!