Thursday, May 19, 2011

Victoria's Premier drops compulsory Aboriginal welcome

Good riddance to a stupid bit of tokenism. It is pioneers such as my ancestors who made Australia what it is today. If you are going to single out any group in multicultural Australia, a better case could be made for honouring them.

I have a picture of my grandfather's bullock team on my wall and every time I look at it, I am reminded of the quiet heroism with which they laboured to bring civilization to this vast country. Henry Lawson knew the bullockies (teamsters) well. Read his poem "The Teams" to get a picture of them. He describes my grandfather pretty well

The Premier has confirmed he will no longer force ministers and public servants to acknowledge traditional Aboriginal land owners at official events.

In a major policy shift that has upset some indigenous leaders, the State Government has dumped a Labor protocol as too politically correct. Brumby government ministers had to acknowledge the "traditional owners and custodians of this land".

But Mr Baillieu believes Labor's stance was dictatorial and has told his ministers that such acknowledgments aren't compulsory.

Former premier Steve Bracks has also slammed the state government calling their decision a "retrograde step." "I acknowledged the traditional land owners of Australian regularly when I spoke as premier." "I would have thought we would have moved on quite a bit," he said. "Thousands of times I started my speech with an Aboriginal welcome and I always felt very strongly about it."

He warned that people in defiance of the government could start using Aboriginal welcomes to embarrass the party. "That's what will come of this, it's the wrong step," he said.

Wurundjeri elder Auntie Di Kerr said she was saddened by the change, which comes as the AFL prepares for its indigenous round. "It's nice to be actually recognising first nation's people because we've been neglected and downtrodden for so many years," she said. "It shouldn't be a forced thing either, it should be a respectful acknowledgment and honest."

Mr Baillieu still acknowledges traditional owners at indigenous functions, but uses a new form of words at mainstream events.

"Can I particularly acknowledge all of those, past and present, including our indigenous communities, whose love of this land has made this a place we treasure and a state we all seek to nurture," he said at the recent inauguration of Governor Alex Chernov.

A government spokesman said the only requirement was that ministers and MPs used respectful language, including appropriate acknowledgments to particular audiences. "Unlike the former Labor government, ministers are free to express themselves as appropriate for the occasion," he said.

The issue has been raised at the federal level, with Tony Abbott attacking Labor MPs for "tokenism" and misplaced political correctness.

Tim Wilson, policy director for the Right-wing think tank Institute of Public Affairs, said the new policy made sense because indigenous acknowledgment were over-used. "The obsessive acknowledgment can only belittle and undermine the intent of such statements," he said.

Labor's spokesman for aboriginal affairs, Richard Wynne, said: "Labor believes it is the right thing to do to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and it causes great offence to Aboriginal people when political leaders fail to do so."


You can be a brainless twit (or even a blonde bombshell) if you are a Warmist

A junior Warmist at the University of Melbourne (Parkville) has excited the derision of Prof. Bunyip. He comments about the happy soul below, one Ailie Gallant

It is not Allie’s efforts to attract attention (which can also help with the funding), but her co-authored paper on water flows in the Murray Darling Basin which has brought so much reassurance.

In particular, it is the remarkably specific conclusion that there is precisely, and she is very exact about this, a 2.3% likelihood that any of the many droughts over the past 1500 years were worse than the one just ended - the same dry spell during which the she began smokin' dos' stats in her climate crib. It was a popular meme a few years ago, back when rain refused to fall and climate change was replacing global warming, so her enthusiasm at the time was understandable.

And her methods? Well, let's just say that the Professor is -- yo, lab bitches -- down with them.

The Original Custodians were not big on meteorological records, so that was a problem for Allie right there. She might have gone off to Barmah (a lovely spot) and cored a few red gums or somesuch, measured their transected rings and deduced when it had been hot and dry or cool and wet.

That was not her preferred method, however. Rather, nice and comfy at a Parkville work station, she consulted those who went before, mining their studies of celery top pines in Tasmania, teak in Indonesia, some tall timber in Western Australia, Tongan corals, kauri in New Zealand and other interesting bits of Bali, Fiji and the Great Barrier Reef. The closest survey site was a good 900 kilometres from the Murray, the furthest a 10-hour flight, even for Tim Flannery.

Data sources so far removed from the river she intended to study might have suggested an insurmountable obstacle to those who know not the miracles of modern modelling. By reviewing numbers here, sifting charts there and rejecting discordant figures in accordance with recognised climatological norms and norming, Ailie was able to feed what was left into a computerized vitamizer and - golly gosh, guess what? - demonstrate with charts and graphs that the recent drought really was the worst in centuries, just as the Phage, ABC, Guardian, World Wildlife Fund had been saying all along!

Indeed, by Ailie's reckoning, it was even worse, which must have convulsed the WWF's fund-raisers with shivers of delight: the drought was not the nastiest in 100 years or even 1,000 years - it was a full 1500 years since Australia had seen the arid like. Just to put things in perspective, that is not too long after the Romans pulled out of Britain. Amazing, ain't it, what climate science can learn about a river in southern Australia from a bit of Bali coral someone else has studied? And don't getting suspicious, thinking nobody could be that precise on the basis of such much-handled data.The science is settled, Ailie assures us, and to a 97.7% certainty, no less!

And that, as Ailie rapped the other night, is what climate science is all about. She is proud of her research, naturally, and quite probably eager to tackle the next challenge -- pinpointing Warrnambool's worst hailstorm since the Council of Trent, perhaps.


Commenter on Bunyip's site, David Joss, said...

It's a great pity that instead of studying proxies, these people did not peek into the history books.

The Federation drought ran almost as long as the most recent one.

The World War 2 drought may have been worse. It began in 1937. The Murray stopped running at Echuca in 1945 and seven million sheep died that year.

But the drought which lasted from the early 1830s until 1842 (some say 1844) was probably the worst one documented. By 1835 the Murrumbidgee had run dry at Gundagai. An early settler near Echuca, the squatter Henry Lewes, wrote that Horseshoe lagoon at Moama was dry when he arrived in 1842. There were trees growing in its bed which he reckoned were probably eight or nine years old. He watched them die as floods refilled the lagoon. And if the trees were as old as he believed, the lagoon had to dry out before the seeds could germinate.

Eye witness accounts trump tree rings every time.

Australian ski resort to open three weeks early

RECENT low temperatures and snowfalls will allow Australia's largest ski resort to kick off its winter season three weeks ahead of schedule. Perisher will officially open its Snowy Mountains Front Valley slope on Friday, following a successful round of snow-making last week.

It's the first of Perisher's snowfield to begin operations and the other slopes will follow on June 11, the official start of its season. "We are thrilled to ... be opening the resort way ahead of time," Perisher chief executive Peter Brulisauer said.

Temperatures at Perisher Valley are currently hovering around 5.7 degrees during the day. The average minimum during winter is about -3.7 degrees.


Patient spends six hours in waiting room on a drip and plastic chairs at Gold Coast Hospital

BEDS are in such short supply at the Gold Coast Hospital Emergency Department, a young man with an infected tooth had to lie across three chairs with a drip in his arm. But Queensland Health insists his care was "of a high standard".

The case comes as ambulance ramping continues to be a problem outside hospitals in the state's southeast, with Logan Hospital on bypass at 10am yesterday.

The man, who was in pain, had a swollen face and was experiencing fevers, spent more than six hours in the waiting room during the Easter long weekend before even getting inside the Accident and Emergency Department. When the 21-year-old was finally seen by a doctor and put on a drip, he said he had no choice but to lie across the plastic chairs.

"There was no way I could have sat up. I had to lie down," he said. "There was no bed. It was really bad. The chairs aren't made to lie down on."

When he first arrived at the hospital with his girlfriend about 10pm on the night of April 26, he said he was informed he was "low priority". "I was in copious amounts of pain. The fever was just terrible. I couldn't concentrate on anything. I was dizzy all the time, nauseous," he said.

The young man, who asked to remain anonymous, admits he was given a pain-killing injection in the waiting area within half an hour of arrival, but said he was then ignored until the next morning. "The worst part was definitely sitting in there after I'd been told I was low priority and then no one asking if we were OK," he said.

His mother said she was "horrified" when she arrived to find her son lying across chairs and using his girlfriend's leg as a pillow. "I could not believe what I was seeing," she said. "He was really sick. He was exhausted too. It wasn't good enough. "I could understand if he was a 21-year-old that had come in drunk and carrying on, but he hadn't. "He was sober."

The man's mother said she had to ask nurses to find her son a pillow.

Although Gold Coast Health Service District chief executive officer Adrian Nowitzke acknowledged the patient's accommodation "may have been uncomfortable", he said it was clinically appropriate. "I can confidently say that his care, including an expeditious specialist review, was of a high standard," Dr Nowitzke said.

He said the man was one of 186 patients seen through Gold Coast Hospital's Emergency Department that day.

The man eventually was admitted to the hospital overnight. His condition was reviewed by a specialist maxillo-facial team.

Opposition Health spokesman Mark McArdle said the case was a prime example of the problems facing the Queensland health system. "What shocks me is that over the past seven years we've spent $42 billion in the health portfolio and these are the outcomes we are getting," he said. "Bed numbers are a critical issue that need to be addressed."

Australian Medical Association state president Gino Pecoraro said Queensland was about 1200 hospital beds short of what was required. "We need more beds but they need to be real beds with sheets, in a ward, not a chair in a corridor, and with staff allocated and paid to nurse them," he said.

"My heart goes out to anybody who is in pain, needs medical care and has to wait to get a bed. "As a parent, as a potential patient one day, I'd like to think if I need to go to hospital, there will be a bed for me."


Note: I have two other blogs covering Australian news. They are more specialized so are not updated daily but there are updates on both most weeks. See QANTAS/Jetstar for news on Qantas failings and Australian police news for news on police misbehaviour

1 comment:

Paul said...

On a drip in the waiting room is not as rare as you would think (or wish). Fact is we are at the limit of what can be done with the available resources in the Public Health sector. We have been swamped by the demographics of aging which has crashed head-on into the expense, yet lack of profitability, of Nursing Home care. Add to that the growth of welfare and entitlement by which skanks and migrants assume its all free so they use the ED as a GP clinic, throw in the weekend drunks and OD's, the collapse of psychiatric services (see drunks and OD's) and the collapse of staff morale (sick leave in ED's is pretty big these days, and ward nurses are just flogged)...and all up its surprising there aren't even more people sitting with running drips in waiting rooms. Of course the Private sector could help a bit, but the desire of (mostly) anesthetists to become filthy, stinking rich prices many people out before they even start. Great to be an anesthetist, you can charge whatever you like without scruple, and you don't even have to offend your precious ears talking to the hoi polloi and answering their ignorant questions if you don't want to. Let them bask in your grandness and cough up the fund gap (usually a chasm).