Friday, October 22, 2010

The "all males are potential rapists" scare now hits swimming pool changerooms

Feminist man-hatred has largely chased men out of primary school teaching -- as men rightly fear being exposed to suspicion and false accusations. Now that fear has spread

SCHOOLBOYS have been banned from a pool changeroom because adult male swimmers are afraid they'll be falsely labelled paedophiles.

Angry parents described the decision as political correctness gone mad after boys were forced to sit in wet swimmers on the bus back to school from the Hornsby Aquatic Centre in north Sydney. The rule, imposed this week, initially forced male students from six schools to huddle behind a stack of plastic chairs to get changed. They were later provided with access to an unused clubhouse.

When The Daily Telegraph visited the pool yesterday, two female Berowra Public School teachers guarded the door as a group of boys changed clothes.

A Hornsby Shire Council spokesman said the ban protected members of the public from facing false accusations and to protect the boys from any undesirables who could be in the change rooms.

"Hornsby pool received several complaints last week from members of the public with regards to schoolboys in the male change rooms," the council spokesman said. "The boys were unsupervised and the members of the public felt very uncomfortable changing in front of the boys. "One stated that he had an untrue allegation made against him several years ago in a similar environment."

Schools teaching students to swim have been ordered to have at least two male chaperones to look after children while they change.

Some of the school students are ignoring the new rules and using the male changeroom without an adult.

"The measures were put in place to protect the male students, members of the public and staff," the council spokesman said.

Alistair Hookway said he had no problem with his son Oliver, 7, using the pool facilities, calling the new rule an over-reaction. "I can't see any problem with a young boy using the change room like any adult can under proper supervision," Mr Hookway said.

Michael Rees, who has swum at the pool since 2006, said it was a smart move. "I have no problem with the decision. The kids make a lot of noise," Mr Rees said.

Local Government Association of NSW president Cr Genia McCaffrey described the case as "unique". "It is up to the individual council to resolve this issue based on their own unique community needs and circumstances," Cr McCaffrey said.


Farmers to get a reprieve from Greenie wreckers

The Water Minister, Tony Burke, has enraged environmentalists by saying he could amend the Howard government's Water Act if it prevents him from protecting rural economies in the Murray-Darling Basin.

"I am determined to get … a healthy river, protect our food production and keep strong rural communities," Mr Burke told the Herald. "I am seeking legal advice as to whether or not I can deliver that under the current act and I am not ruling in or out what action I then take when I get the advice."

Irrigators have argued the 2007 act should be amended because it draws its constitutional power from an international environmental treaty and requires the government to give environmental concerns precedence.

The chief executive of NSW Irrigators, Andrew Gregson, said he was "very happy Mr Burke has taken this positive step". "It would never have happened under the previous minister [Penny Wong] but this minister is making all the right noises," said Mr Gregson, who attended a crisis meeting with Mr Burke last night.

Environmentalists said the government was panicking because of the fierce demonstrations in rural towns against water cuts of between 27 and 37 per cent suggested in a preliminary plan released by the independent Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

"The whole point of having an independent authority was to take the politics and the state parochialism out of the water reform process … The unfortunate outcome of the shenanigans in Griffith and the other towns seems to be that the politicians are pulling the process back in-house and that raises the real risk that politics will hijack it again," said Arlene Buchan, the healthy rivers campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation.

Mr Burke told Parliament the government's election promise to buy back however much environmental water was recommended by the authority applied only to the final plan - after it had been amended at the direction of the minister.

"What the Prime Minister said was that we would … implement the Murray-Darling Basin Authority plan. That … is the final document that comes out at the end of next year after there has been an opportunity for ministerial intervention, to either ask them to reconsider aspects of it or specifically to demand that they change aspects of it. That is the document the Prime Minister quite rightly committed to implementing," Mr Burke said.

The opposition spokesman on the Murray-Darling Basin, Simon Birmingham, accused Mr Burke of "rewriting history", citing Senator Wong's comment during the election campaign that "this government is prepared to back the independent authority in its determination on what the rivers need".

At a Canberra water forum yesterday a leading water economist said farm groups were "grossly exaggerating" and making "false claims" about job losses and the death of rural towns.

The Australian National University economics professor Quentin Grafton said the proposed water buybacks were far less than communities had endured during the drought. They were taking place when the value of production and total employment in the basin had risen. He also said the water reform process had $9 billion to spend on infrastructure and buybacks.

The chief executive of the National Farmers' Federation, Ben Fargher, said the authority was losing the trust of communities in the basin.


Ambulance managers finally do something useful

AMBULANCE Service managers have been forced to return to the front line as the service struggles with record emergency callouts and chronic staff shortages.

An internal South Australian Ambulance Service memo obtained by The Advertiser reveals unbearable workloads are forcing staff to skip scheduled rest breaks. The memo also reveals management staff, including training and strategic planning officers, are being indefinitely returned to ambulances to attend emergency jobs.

The memo, from executive director metropolitan patient services Keith Driscoll, states a group of managers will be required to cover a total of 200 hours per week on the frontline. "We have experienced an increase in crew utilisation and some poor crib break performance in many crews late or no crib break at all on some occasions," it states. "Given the severity of some late-crib episodes, sometimes across an entire region, the decision was taken to assist with peak workload with temporary increased crewing.

"A group of metro managers have committed their time to provide approximately 200 hours of crewing per week in total." The stop-gap measure will be reviewed in January.

The SAAS annual report, tabled recently in Parliament, showed there were an extra 20,000 calls for help in the 12 months to July compared to the previous year. The report also noted an increase in non-emergency calls despite a public campaign to deter people from calling 000 unless they need immediate help.

Health Minister John Hill's office yesterday said the State Government was involved in a pay dispute with the ambulance union and deflected a request for comment to Mr Driscoll. "These managers are highly trained paramedics and intensive-care paramedics who are normally required to perform on road shifts in an ambulance to maintain their accreditation," Mr Driscoll said.

Ambulance Employees Association secretary Phil Palmer said officers could "only do one job" and diverting staff from administration to the frontline would cause a decline in the quality of performance management and long-term planning. "Clearly it needs more resources and there's a major problem going on." he said.

Doctors and ambulance officers are discussing strike action over conditions and cuts to entitlements.


How many politicians does it take to fix a lightbulb? None, they're not allowed to

POLITICIANS reckon they and their staff are quite capable of climbing a ladder to replace a blown lightbulb. But occupational health and safety requirements say that should be left to a qualified electrician.

The issue surfaced during a Senate estimates hearing when Liberal Eric Abetz told upper house colleagues he was prevented recently from changing a lightbulb in his electorate office. He was told that the rules meant an electrician had to be called.

"It is just impractical, it's stupid," Senator Abetz told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday. "Most Australians would say if a person is not capable of changing a light globe, chances are they are not capable of running an electorate office."

Senator Abetz said he had been told changing a bulb could require climbing a ladder which was a safety risk.

Australians managed to change bulbs in their own homes every day of the week without getting electrocuted. "It's bureaucracy gone mad, it's a waste of money and the minister should intervene to stop it," he said.

Nationals senator Fiona Nash said she was quite capable of changing a lightbulb. "I would certainly be able to get up a ladder as a farm girl and change a light globe," she said.

But Labor senator Doug Cameron [a union diehard of Scottish origin] was more cautious. "I have never even thought about changing a lightbulb in my office," he said. "If someone ended up being electrocuted with a faulty wire, then you wouldn't be asking these questions."

Independent MP Bob Katter said it was a story for the times. "PJ O'Rourke said `the safety Nazis are going to get us' and they really have," he told.

Opposition frontbencher Ian Macfarlane suggested changing a lightbulb was something for which he did not necessarily seek bureaucratic confirmation. "As the old saying goes, don't seek permission, seek forgiveness," he said.

Liberal senator Simon Birmingham said he may have changed lightbulbs in his office in contravention of the rules. "I didn't realise were an enormous breach of any type of laws," he said, adding a bit of common sense had to apply.


1 comment:

Glenis said...

If the Minister is not capable of getting a light bulb changed without the permission of the Health & Safety people, then the rules need to be changed. Blind Freddie knows that you do not have to go anywhere near electric wires to do this. It is bureaucracy gone mad.