Thursday, February 10, 2011

God I hate this deliberate dishonesty about blacks

Gillard has actually made a great leap forward below in recognizing that Aborigines have a responsibility towards themselves. The usual Leftist propaganda is that it is all whitey's fault.

But the failure to recognize that Aborigines are born different is still poisoning the well. The poor old boongs CAN'T behave as whites do. It's not in them. They have neither the motivation nor the abilities. The way they live makes perfect sense to them even if whites throw their hands up in horror over it.

Aborigines have their own remarkable abilities and attitudes but they are not ours. They deserve respect for what they are but they will never be us. They are brilliantly adapted to their original lifestyle with observational and other abilities that can only make us gasp -- and it is no fault of theirs that we have radically changed their environment into something to which they are not well suited.

And the description of the pleasant young woman below as "indigenous" is just a slap in the face to real Aborigines. She is quite clearly about as indigenous as I am, even though she may have a small degree of Aboriginal ancestry. What sort of a message is it sending to real blacks when such a person is held up as an ideal to them? An ideal that they CANNOT aspire to?

I could say a lot more but I know I am already pissing into the wind. Abos are in general friendly, sociable and very polite people. Let them run their own race!

Jasmine Miller

Julia Gillard has appealed to indigenous Australians to change their behaviour to reach a position of equality with white Australians on a range of measures, declaring it will be extremely difficult to close the life-expectancy gap by the target year of 2031 with current progress.

Presenting the third annual Closing the Gap report to parliament yesterday, the Prime Minister said there was no chance the target would be met sooner and she would use the government's Closing the Gap initiative as a "call for changes in behaviour".

"A call to every person, to every family, to every community: to take care of your children; to take a job when you find one; to create a safe environment; to send your kids to school, pay your rent, save up for a home; to respect good social norms and to respect the law; and to reach out to other Australians," Ms Gillard said. "If I speak strongly, it is because I have listened to indigenous people who do these things already. People like Chris Sarra . . . people like Noel Pearson."

The report details progress in six target areas set down by the Rudd government in 2007 to reduce disadvantage in health, education and employment.

Improvements in immunisation and access to healthcare have meant the target to halve infant mortality rates by 2018 were on track, the report said.

Another target -- providing education to four-year-olds in all remote communities -- could be met within five years. There has also been improvement in three other targets -- halving the gap in reading, writing and numeracy achievements for children by 2018; halving the gap for indigenous students in Year 12 attainment rates by 2020; and halving the gap in employment outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians by 2018 -- but more needs to be done.

Eighteen-year-old Jasmine Miller, who was raised by her grandparents in Ceduna on the west coast of South Australia, was one indigenous student who finished Year 12 last year after gaining a scholarship.

This year she will be a full-time tutor at a school in Alice Springs and next year she will start a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of South Australia to become a primary school teacher. "Being raised in a small town, I want to give back," she said of her decision to work as a teacher.

Kevin Richardson, the principal of the high school Ms Miller attended, Immanuel College, said he had high expectations for all of the college's students. "We do not engage in what could be called the 'racism of low expectations'," he said.

The Prime Minister said the final target -- closing the life-expectancy gap by 2031 -- was the hardest of all to meet. "That means the life expectancy of indigenous men will need to increase by over 20 years and the life expectancy of indigenous women will need to increase by over 16 years by 2031," Ms Gillard said. "This is a 30-year target. No one thinks it can be achieved sooner. Indeed, it will be extremely challenging."

Indigenous Northern Territory independent MP Alison Anderson said she doubted the government would meet its goals to close the gap with its current policy settings.

"I think they are still heading down the same road with separate policies for indigenous people under a different banner, and if they stick to this they will never close the gap," she said. "I think it's absolutely pathetic. There are no real job opportunities in remote communities. This is just to tick the boxes of the bureaucracy."

Tony Abbott called for statistics on achievements in health, education and work to be published monthly and new targets to be set for indigenous communities, including 100 per cent school and work attendance to be met within 12 months.

The National Congress of Australia's First Peoples co-chairman Sam Jeffries said there needed to be a broader effort to close the disadvantage gap. "The congress will also explore the idea of state and territory governments following the federal government's lead and also make annual responses to the work they are doing to close the gap," Mr Jeffries said.

Close the Gap Campaign co-chairman and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda welcomed the government's agreement to begin developing a long-term national plan to close the gap in indigenous life expectancy by 2030.


Greenie forest management behind fires again

A local council at the centre of Perth's bushfire disaster has admitted it implemented a strict "no controlled burning" policy for more than a decade over large tracts of managed bushland that fuelled Sunday's devastating firestorm.

As police last night charged an off-duty police officer with starting the blaze by using an angle grinder during a total fire ban, the City of Armadale - deemed one of the state's most fire-prone local government areas - confirmed the heavily vegetated Lloyd Hughes Park had been subject to the strict ban since at least February 7, 2000, when the current management plan was adopted by the council.

With public anger also growing over the reliability of early warning systems and the general handling of the emergency by various authorities, the final tally of destroyed homes has been put at 72.

Late yesterday, Robert James Stevens, 56, was charged by summons under the WA Bushfires Act with carrying out an activity in the open air that causes or is likely to cause a fire. Mr Stevens, who is on leave, faces fines up to $25,000 or 12 months jail, and will appear in court on March 15.

There were fears for his safety after he went missing following the revelation that an off-duty policeman had started the devastating blaze accidentally.

But Mr Stevens reportedly contacted police today and was questioned by officers before being charged, PerthNow reports.
Yesterday, the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) said it was powerless to impose its 8 per cent burning targets on parks controlled by councils or private landholders, whose awareness of fire risks was "highly variable".

DEC fire services manager Murray Carter defended the organisation's management of Banyowla Regional Park which also went up in flames, adding that fire-risk management was difficult when responsibility fell to multiple authorities and individuals with differing views.


Useless health regulators

If people knew they were on their own they might be more cautious -- but they have the illusion of being protected by government regulation

The Therapeutic Goods Administration is calling for submissions as to how it can improve its transparency. Which is not before time, given that a recent spot check of 400 so-called alternative medicine products found that nine out of 10 breached TGA regulations.

I decided to put my own two bobs' worth in. In the interests of transparency, I reproduce an edited version of my own submission to the review here. It's not as good as the more detailed submissions from Choice magazine and the Consumers Health Forum of Australia, but I found writing it to be, well, therapeutic. I wrote:
At the moment the TGA appears to operate as a rubber stamp for health fraud. It beggars belief that the "Aust L" "self-assessment" system allows people to sell untested products for medicinal use without having to provide so much as a jot of evidence for their efficacy.

The fact that a recent spot check found that 90 per cent of so-called complementary and alternative medicine products do not comply with regulations shows that the system is broken.

To help with transparency:

* All "Aust L" listed products should carry a warning box stating something to the effect of "The makers of this product have shown zero evidence that this product works for any disease or condition or that it can improve your general health or wellbeing."
Products that are known to be scientifically implausible should be labelled as such. The labelling should explain that scientific implausibility doesn't mean that "it works but we don't know how"; that it means "it can't possibly work as claimed unless much of our accumulated knowledge of physics, chemistry and physiology is completely wrong".

* The complaints process should not be so completely opaque. Some weeks ago I used the TGA's online complaints submission to submit a complaint (about the sale of colloidal silver for human consumption and the treatment of serious diseases in what seems a clear breach of the Therapeutic Goods Act). When I called to check up on the complaint a week later I was told it had never arrived so I had to re-submit it by email. Complaints submitted online should get a receipt number, like you do when you pay a bill online.

* People who make complaints should be informed of the result of the investigation - if indeed any investigation takes place. I have no idea whether my complaint will be investigated, and I get the impression that I will never find out unless I keep hassling people to check up on it.

* The TGA should be issuing a hell of a lot more advisories. The list of advisories is very short and threadbare. For instance, there is only one mention of homeopathic "immunisations" - a warning from 2002 not to use homeopathic "vaccines" for meningococcal disease. There is no warning about homeopaths selling useless "immunisations" for other diseases (including whooping cough, a serious respiratory infection that has been killing Australian children again in recent years). Also, there are no warnings about colloidal silver, ear candling and countless other things on which Australians are wasting their money and risking their health every day.

* There should be real consequences for breaching the Act. As long as the manufacturers and retailers of alternative nostrums feel free to scoff at the TGA they will continue to put people's health at risk.

What do you think? Do you think the TGA should do more to tell consumers that there is no evidence to support many of the remedies being sold in pharmacies, supermarkets and health-food stores? Do you think people who want to sell alternative remedies should have to prove that they work before they can be approved for sale? Submissions to the TGA review close tomorrow, by the way.


Overwhelming load of new red tape for universities

NEW reporting requirements under the federal government's $500 million program to boost participation among the disadvantaged have been criticised for lacking evaluative rigour while creating excessive red tape.

The government's proposed reporting guidelines under the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program were released for discussion last week but left many equity executives reeling at the level of detail required, without there being an effective process for evaluating whether outreach programs were working. Under HEPPP, the government has allocated $505m from 2010-13 towards boosting the participation of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

The bulk of the funding, about $379m, is being paid as a loading for low-SES undergraduate enrolments. The balance, $126m, is for outreach partnerships between universities, schools, governments and community groups. Much of this will be allocated by competitive grants.

The Group of Eight was among those planning to propose a series of changes to the program. Concerns include that reporting on the use of so-called partnership funding appeared to focus on just counting numbers of students involved in outreach activities rather than the depth or effectiveness of programs.

"It is accountability for accountability's sake. They are asking for an enormous amount of detail without a depth of analysis or evaluation," director of student equity at the Australian National University Deborah Tranter said, adding that the usefulness of the proposed reporting requirements was "highly questionable".

"There are no requirements for an objective, independent evaluation process," said Ms Tranter, who is also co-convener of the Equal Opportunity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia.

"A process of evaluation and reporting that is academically valid and rigorous, and is practical, is what is needed," she said.

A group of independent experts could be established to devise such a process. It could include student and parent surveys and the tracking of students' decision-making once they leave school.

Ms Tranter said without such evaluation universities might fail to learn from each other about what works and what doesn't.

There is also concern that the program could be vulnerable to being shut down by future governments if it can't prove it is working. The Cameron government in Britain has discontinued Aimhigher, a similar program.

Pro vice-chancellor (social inclusion) at Monash University Sue Willis said using a quantitative rather than qualitative approach to evaluation would encourage universities to spread their money too thinly, effectively exchanging coverage for effectiveness.

"Spreading it thinly won't do the job. It may look fair but it will be spuriously fair," Professor Willis said.

Professor Willis, who is also convener of the Go8's Social Inclusion Strategy Group, said the department appeared to be open to feedback.

Director of equity at Queensland University of Technology Mary Kelly said the government should hold universities accountable for their spending under the program, but she wanted to see "less focus on operational detail and more focus on quality, depth and impact of program activities".

She said universities should be asked to outline a medium-term evaluation strategy.

"After this initial collection of reports there should be a national conversation on what it means, whether there is room for a national approach to impact tracking, how we will share good practice with each other," she said.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Your lead-in to the article on aboriginals.. Beautiful, worthy of its own place as a stand-alone op-ed itself. Absolute truth requiring no disclaimers. They are not us and we are disrespectful fools to expect them to be so. I work constantly with them as colleagues and patients. They are a source of great frustration and great reward, but they are never, ever dull.