Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The posts are running hot on both my QANTAS/Jetstar and Australian police news blogs

Australians covered by private health at record high (nearly half of them)

Despite a "free" hospital system which they have to pay for as well (via taxes). At the moment there is a rebate recognizing that double payment but the Labor party wants to take that away -- no doubt hoping that it will force more people into the chaotic government system. That so many people avoid the government system is a good example of "voting with your feet"

MORE than 10 million Australians have private health insurance, the highest level in a decade. And Health Minister Nicola Roxon is using that growth to urge the Senate to approve her means test of the 30 per cent subsidy for insurance.

An extra 243,000 people took out private health cover over the past year, according to figures released by the Private Health Insurance Administration Council. And the largest growth in the past three months occurred among 20 to 24-year-olds: the least likely to use health insurance, The Australian reports.

A Gillard Government plan to save $1.9 billion by means-testing access to the 30 per cent tax break on health-fund premiums was meant to take effect in July, but has been blocked in the Senate, adding to the Government's budget woes.

The Opposition and Independent senators fear the means test applying to singles earning more than $75,000 and families earning more than $150,000 could force people to drop their cover as it becomes more expensive.

But Ms Roxon said the latest figures indicating a large growth in health fund membership over the past year showed this was a furphy.

The membership growth came despite another set of Government changes in 2008 that axed a tax penalty applying to middle-income earners who did not take out health insurance. Health funds fought this measure, arguing it would encourage one million Australians to drop their health cover; instead, Ms Roxon said, 670,000 people took out health insurance. "The proportion of Australians with private hospital insurance has also increased to 44.8 per cent, up from 44.6 per cent in the June quarter, the highest rate since March 2001."

She said the Government would push ahead with plans to take the Private Health Insurance Tax Rebate off the richest Australians. "If the changes do not go ahead, Treasury modelling indicates this will cost the budget $100bn over the next four decades," Ms Roxon said.


School ban issues detention threat for kids seen hugging

What an appalling scale of values! Wrong to express affection? It sounds like "Brave New World"

STUDENTS at a Gold Coast primary school are being warned against hugging a move some parents say is political correctness gone mad. They say children at the William Duncan State School in Nerang are being punished with detention for hugging or touching their friends boys or girls, the Gold Coast Bulletin said.

Father of five, Ross Kouimanis, labelled the decision "an absolute joke". "What on earth are we turning our kids into?" Mr Kouimanis said. "Kids hug all the time. My high school daughter hugs her friends. It's perfectly normal. "It's political correctness gone mad. Banning kids hugging? It's ridiculous."

Mr Kouimanis's daughter Emily was given a warning for hugging her best friend. "My best friend and I confronted the teacher and she said it was a new school rule and some kids have been sent to detention for hugging," Emily said.

Mr Kouimas said the school should be more worried about educating children and said the ban sexualised an innocent gesture. "They are making something so innocent seem dirty or wrong. It's just normal. "It's what kids do, for Christ's sake.

"Hugs not drugs is an international slogan to fight drug abuse where does that fit in with William Duncan's new school policy?"

The Bulletin understands the policy was developed by the school's Parents and Citizens Association and was reviewed each year, with most members approving measures for students to keep their hands, feet and objects to themselves.

Education Queensland South Coast Regional director Glen Hoppner said there was no EQ policy banning hugging in schools. "William Duncan State School has determined that unwanted or unnecessary physical contact, which in some circumstances can include hugging, is inappropriate playground behaviour," Mr Hoppner said. "The school is mindful of protecting their right to not be touched in an unwanted or inappropriate way."

Mr Hoppner said the school principal was "unaware" of students being given detention for hugging.


Kids endangered by long hospital waiting lists

CHILDREN'S lives are at risk if health bosses do not cut an 18-month waiting list to see a paediatric allergy specialist, experts have warned.

Despite government promises to fix the problem more than three years ago, there is still only one doctor treating children across Queensland from an allergy clinic at the Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane. The long delays in appointment times mean a delay in diagnosis, which could be fatal in children with anaphylaxis - the most severe form of allergic reaction.

Maria Said, president of lobby group Anaphylaxis Australia, said even children with life-threatening allergies had waited 18 months for help. "In children who have severe allergic reactions like anaphylaxis, you sometimes don't know what the trigger is, which can be very dangerous," she said. "What parents need is knowledge about what is causing the allergy so they can implement a management strategy. "The government needs to get its priorities right and to spend money on more doctors."

Not even the long overdue public paediatric allergy service - which opened in March 2008 - has helped.

The latest figures show Queensland has one allergist for every 730,000 people, compared to the national figure of one allergist for every 273,000 people. The state has only one other paediatric allergy specialist. Dr Peter Smith on the Gold Coast takes private patients and has a wait of eight months.

Meanwhile, Queensland Health spends $5.2 million a year on an army of spin doctors to help boost its public profile.

Concerned mum Meredith McNeil, of Middle Park in Brisbane's west, has to wait 16 months - until February 2012 - to see the specialist about one-year-old daughter Holly, who has a number of unidentified food allergies. "When we got the appointment date I thought they had made a mistake," she said. "Parents need help now and the new clinic hasn't made the slightest difference to waiting times."

A Queensland Health spokesman said yesterday the longest patients were having to wait was "just over 12 months", with urgent cases seen within 30 days.

Australian Medical Association vice president Dr Steve Hambleton said the problem was the result of years of neglect.


Loss of values a problem both for kids and for society

I’m mourning the demise of what I call the “respect your elders” values of kids today. But I don’t blame them. I blame a new generation of mamby-pamby (not sure that’s a real term but you know what I mean) parents who want to be a child’s friend rather than a parent. I’ve had these concerns for a while, but they’ve been brought to a head by a couple of recent incidents.

First was that story last week about the Queensland 15 year old pulled over by police for not wearing a helmet while riding his bike. Rather than fine the kid or give him a warning, they made him let down his tires and walk home to ensure he didn’t ignore them and simply get back on after they’d gone.

His mother was outraged accusing the police of bullying and putting her 15 year old angel in danger by making him walk half an hour home.

I interviewed the pair on Sunrise. The 15 year old retold the story, and highlighted how unfair it was that the cops also took his pack of cigarettes. He said he asked for the cigarettes back because he knew he had rights. A 15 year old demanding cigarettes back because he has rights. You can just imagine the tone of the exchange.

Rather than his mother getting stuck into him for riding without a helmet and having a pack of smokes, she gets on the case of the police for “putting him in danger”.

This is the issue I have with modern parenting. It’s the rose coloured glasses that their little angels can do no wrong. Backing the kid rather than the authorities. It’s the absence of basic principles like respecting elders and those in authority like the police.

It’s not the kid’s fault. He’s simply following the example of his mum.

These little things bother me. The values which were pretty standard not too long ago but are now seen as old-fashioned and irrelevant.

Things like standing up on a bus for someone older. Things like calling an adult Mr or Mrs unless invited to use a first name.

I had this discussion with some of my colleagues after I explained that I still expect my adult children to address friends of mine as Mr or Mrs unless invited to do otherwise. They were gobsmacked. I explained it was a mark of respect to someone older.

My colleagues claimed adults must earn the respect of children before they than can expect to be shown it. And that is the root of the problem. In my opinion all adults (and those in authority) deserve instant respect from children until they do something to lose it.

Yes it may sound silly and unimportant, but it exemplifies what is happening on a larger scale. Parents are trying way too hard to be their kids’ best friends, rather than being the parent.

A good friend, and inspiration for me, is Father Chris Riley who runs Youth Off The Streets, an organisation which certainly deals with its fair share of troubled adolescents.

For years he’s been helping street kids, drug dependant kids and abused youth by helping them turn their lives around. Guess what his golden piece of advice for parents is? He says setting boundaries is a sign of love, and that it shows kids that someone cares enough about them to set limits and values. He says all kids crave boundaries and direction because it makes them feel safe and loved.

What I fear is that we’re bringing up a new generation of smart-ass kids who have no respect and assume they can get away with anything they like because the boundaries are blurred.

The results from a UK study this week are claiming that it’s better for a kid’s happiness to be an only-child. But reaching this conclusion involved simply asking a bunch of kids whether they’d prefer to be the sole child in their family (and get spoiled rotten). Not exactly a reliable study I don’t think, but now it’s being touted by child psychologists as new, valuable ‘knowledge’.

It’s time parents did their part, stopped worrying about the emotional fragility of their special little darlings and started acting like a parent.

The problem is that people are over-thinking parenting. It’s not rocket science; it’s just common sense. These sort of basic moral lessons may be old-fashioned, but they work.


1 comment:

Paul said...

A couple of years ago Queensland Health paid a masseuse to go around one of the big Brisbane hospitals giving back rubs to tired Night Nurses. How can there be money for trivia like paediatric allergy specialists when such important work as this needs doing?