Friday, June 10, 2011

Gillard ignores Aboriginal elder who approached her in Darwin

Below is the brief press report. TV news commentators said that Gillard handled the situation well (they would) but how is it civil to just walk right past without stopping to listen? The woman wasn't being aggressive. What we saw was typical ALP arrogance rather than their often-claimed "compassion"

Ms Gillard was then confronted by Aboriginal elder and Darwin musician June Mills, who demanded an end to the emergency intervention, saying: "I'm homeless in my own country. All the Larrakia in this country are homeless."

The Prime Minister patted Ms Mills on the shoulder and said, "right... nice to meet you. We're doing what we can on housing."

"No you're not. I'm 55 years old and I am homeless; all the Larrakia in this country are homeless... and it's our land," Ms Mills replied, before Ms Gillard continued on.


Global cooling hits me where I live

"Coldest day in 11 years" in Brisbane. And it sure was. I went out to dinner amid it last night and felt it -- JR

KEEP yourself rugged up if you're in Brisbane – the mercury plummeted below 7C in the CBD this morning and though it's warmed up, another chilly day lies ahead.

The southeast is freezing this morning following its coldest day in 11 years on Thursday – when the maximum daytime temperature struggled to warm up at 12.5C.

Weather Channel forecaster Tom Saunders said Brisbane’s outdoor temperature had plunged to 6.9C at 6am and was expected to go even lower until sunrise.

Mr Saunders said frost was likely in areas to the west of Brisbane, where the temperature got below 2C. "There is frost, even around Ipswich and there could be some frost in the far western parts of Brisbane, this morning, too,’’ he said.

"After such a cold day yesterday and with skies clearing overnight, any heat has escaped and that’s why it was such a cold night.’’

Mr Saunders said the predicted daytime top today was 16C, although there would be less cloud cover than yesterday. He said it was still an unusual daytime high for Brisbane and 6C below average. "It’s pretty unusual,’’ he said. "We don’t get many days that stay at 12.5C in June.’’



Just the suggestion of discriminating against homosexuals in the story immediately below led to opprobrium. But in the second story below, actual discrimination BY homosexuals was officially approved

No-gay Glee: Leeton High School musical leaves out Kurt Hummel accused of homophobia

A HIGH school has been accused of homophobia after leaving a key gay character out of its Glee tribute musical. Leeton High School, in Leeton, NSW, copped criticism after it emerged that its musical would not include one of the TV show's lead characters, openly gay teen Kurt Hummel.

Theories sprung up as to why the character, played by Chris Colfer in the TV show, was omitted. Some suggested it was because a student playing a gay character could be harassed by other children at the school. Others said Kurt was left out simply because none of the students who auditioned were suitable for the role, which requires a soprano voice.

NSW Education Department spokesman Grant Hatch denied it was because Kurt was openly gay. "Not all characters from the television show were written into the school's musical, but there was no conscious thought by the authors about which names or characters to exclude," he said.

"Rehearsal had progressed for a considerable time with the students before anyone involved realised that Kurt was one of the names from the show that had not been used." "We left out other minority groups"

The department said its anti-discrimination policy extended to drama productions and it "would not accept dropping a character from a script because of sexual preference".

The school's website promotes the show, Don't Stop Believing, as having a plotline "based on the typical teenage issues of popularity and peer pressure, love and the age old battle between sport and music". More than 100 students will be involved in the production, with 13 of Glee's main characters portrayed.

Mr Hatch said other minority groups represented in the original show had also been left out. "Even when the same (character) name is used, not all characteristics are transplanted," he said.

"For instance, no Asian, Afro-American, Jewish, obese, anorexic or wheelchair-bound students appear even though they are prominent in the television show."

Glee's official website describes Kurt as a "fashion-forward soprano" targeted by school bullies, who develops a crush on the high school quarterback and markets his own fragrance.


Homosexual bar allowed to discriminate against women

On palpably false grounds

A GAY venue in Collingwood has won the right to ban women to ensure its patrons are not subjected to attempts by predatory females to turn them straight. VCAT has granted Sircuit Bar in Smith St an exemption to anti-discrimination laws, allowing it to ban women because they make the men uncomfortable.

"The applicant primarily relies on the exemption to exclude women from the venue, other than on Sundays after 3pm," VCAT reasoned. "This is to ensure that gay men are not subject to attempts to change their sexuality, which reduce their comfort in the venue, which includes being fully accepted for who they are."

Despite the ruling, a spokesman for the venue said the club had never had a problem with women trying to turn gay men straight. "We haven't had that problem here. But it does happen that women try and turn gay men straight," said the general manager, who wanted to be known only as Steve.

"When I was at high school and came out, plenty of my girlfriends said come with me and I'll turn you straight. You'd have to ask VCAT why they made the ruling."

Sircuit is a two-level nightclub that includes pool tables, a maze, movie lounges, private rooms and a wash area. The venue is an active fund-raiser and is regularly used by gay men's social and community groups.

VCAT said it was important gay men had a venue where they were not subject to disparaging comments. "For gay men who wish to display affection ... those actions can readily lead to misunderstanding and disparaging comments which are not applied to heterosexual people," VCAT said. "The applicants wish to provide a venue where it is safe and acceptable to openly express homosexuality."

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission did not wish to intervene in the decision, and VCAT said it did not contravene the Charter of Human Rights.

Human Rights Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke said she supported the exemption. "One of the objectives of the EOA is to promote recognition and acceptance of everyone's right to equality of opportunity," Dr Szoke said. However, Dr Szoke said complaints about women trying to turn gay men straight in nightclubs "would not be covered under our legislation".

Other gay venues have had less success in banning patrons. Last year the Peel Hotel in Collingwood lost its right to ask people their sexuality before they were allowed to enter.



Four articles below

Gold Coast Hospital tells patient seeking help to 'consider other options'

THE Gold Coast Hospital has told a patient needing a specialist appointment to "consider other options" in what doctors say makes a mockery of the public heatlh system.

A referral sent to the hospital by the patient's general practitioner was returned to the doctor advising the "patient would not be seen in a reasonable time frame". The letter said: "We are therefore returning this referral to you and ask that you consider other options", which could include "referral to a private practitioner or another appropriate hospital within the southern area".

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Gino Pecoraro said the letter represented an admission of monumental failure by Queensland Health. "Never before has a public patient been so abandoned by our health system," he said. "In this country, if a patient is in need of a specialist and cannot afford to pay they are referred by a GP to a public hospital. "The reason we have a public health system in Australia is to ensure that no person regardless of age, sex, race or ability to pay will be denied access to health care."

Dr Pecoraro said the letter, obtained by the AMAQ, sent a message to patients that if you could not afford to pay for health care, you would not be treated.

AMAQ president-elect Richard Kidd said Queensland Health was offloading its responsibility to public patients onto overburdened GPs who had already assessed a patient and deemed it necessary they see a specialist. "This unnecessary delay in accessing specialist treatment may well lead to adverse health outcomes for patients," he said.

The Queensland Health website shows 21,004 patients were waiting to see a specialist at the Gold Coast Hospital on March 1 this year, about 25 per cent more than were waiting at the same time last year.


Health Minister Geoff Wilson tells Queensland hospitals not to 'turn away patients'

The Health Minister Geoff Wilson has ordered Queensland Health to ensure no patient needing an urgent consultation should ever be turned away from an outpatient clinic. His comments came after it was yesterday revealed that the Gold Coast Hospital had told a patient needing a specialist appointment to "consider other options".

A referral sent to the hospital by the patient's general practitioner was returned to the doctor advising the "patient would not be seen in a reasonable time frame".

Mr Wilson said this morning he was "extremely disappointed" that category one patients had been turned away from Queensland's hospitals. "No patient needing an urgent consultation should ever be turned away from an outpatient clinic," Mr Wilson said. "When an urgent consultation is needed, they should always be able to be seen at the clinic they go to."

But he said there were practical problems with the ways lists operate and he remained confident that his staff were dealing with the issues adequately. "I have a lot of confidence in the district managers," he said. "They are very senior clinicians and also in senior management roles. They take their responsibilities seriously. "There is major outpatient reform being undertaken by the department across up to about 30 hospitals throughout the state."

Mr Wilson told talk-back radio about 300 patients had been turned away from the Gold Coast Hospital alone in the last 12 months. "I'd like to think it's not the normal practice and that it is exceptional," he said. "But in any case one urgent consultation being on-referred is not acceptable.

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Gino Pecoraro welcomed the Minister's comments as "merely what the health department should be doing".

He said the health department had been decreasing waiting lists by turning patients away. "The health department is decreasing the waiting lists but the way they're doing it is by not putting people on the waiting lists," Dr Pecoraro said.

"This is nothing but a political trick to make their figures look better, to make the people of Queensland think that things are improving when in fact it's the complete opposite


How long can this disgrace go on?

Queensland Health: More spin doctors than real doctors as desk jobs soar

MORE than 2200 new department desk jobs have been created within Queensland Health since 2007. Figures released to The Courier-Mail have revealed the growth rate of non-frontline staff has outstripped those serving patients. The higher growth rate of employees armed with pens rather than PhDs came as hospitals battled to meet escalating demand.

The figures show from 2007 to 2010 an extra 9854 frontline staff were hired by Queensland Health, an increase of 22 per cent. But the number of non-frontline staff, such as spin doctors and others on desk duties, grew from 6705 to 8947, a 33 per cent increase. The figures mean more than half of the extra 4300 non-frontline staff hired by government departments over the period were employed by Queensland Health.

QH acting director-general Tony O'Connell insisted the overall proportion of non-frontline positions had risen by only 13 to 14 per cent. "It's also important to note that many non-frontline staff perform essential support services . . . " he said.

"In addition, the Government's record infrastructure investment in new health facilities has required a significant addition of non-frontline staff to plan, co-ordinate and deliver this massive capital program."

The Queensland Health Systems Review, undertaken by Peter Forster in 2005, also recommended more administrative staff so clinicians could concentrate on patients.

But AMAQ president Gino Pecoraro said the figures proved Queensland Health had the balance wrong. Dr Pecoraro said the AMAQ had been calling for a moratorium on the hiring of non-frontline staff for several years.

Dr Pecoraro said he had worked in the public hospitals, but had no clue what all the extra non-frontline staff did. "I do know there has been an explosion of people who write emails and assess how people are performing in frontline duties," he said.


Free public hospitals under threat

DOCTORS say Queensland's free public health system is under threat after the Gold Coast Hospital told two patients needing a specialist appointment to "consider other options".

Both patients had been referred to the hospital by their general practitioners for an appointment with a gastroenterologist. The latest case last month was deemed to be a category 2, or semi-urgent, patient who should be seen within 90 days under Queensland Health's own guidelines.

But a case in January last year, which has only just come to light, was assessed as the most urgent category 1 - considered serious enough to be seen within 30 days.

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Gino Pecoraro described the letters as indicative of a "monumental failure" of the state's health system. "They have thrown their hands up in horror and said: 'We simply can't deal with this any more, we've abandoned you'," he said. "This is the greatest threat we have ever seen to the free public health system in this state. This is a brand new low in health service delivery by our health department."

Gold Coast Health Service District CEO Adrian Nowitzke admitted the hospital was struggling to keep up with the demand for outpatient specialist appointments, despite big increases in the number of patients being seen. He said that in March 2009, about 9000 people were waiting for a new specialist appointment at the hospital, compared with 21,000 this year.

Dr Nowitzke said gastroenterology was particularly over-stretched but that overall demand for outpatient appointments was substantially surpassing population growth.

He suggested a shift in the way GPs were referring patients to public hospital outpatient clinics was to blame. "Ten years ago, people weren't being referred for specialist care like they are now," Dr Nowitzke said.

"I don't know whether people are worried about medico-legal ramifications, I don't know whether it is GPs having shorter appointment times and don't have the time to spend so it's easier to send them to hospital."

Dr Nowitzke said if people were "genuinely in trouble", GPs could ring the hospital to push for an earlier appointment. "We will work together in partnership to look after our patients," he said.

Opposition health spokesman Mark McArdle called for substantially increased funds for hospitals in next week's state budget. "The Bligh Labor Government's pathetic handling of our public health system, resulting in lengthy waiting lists, is putting Queensland patients at risk," he said.


Internal crisis in the ALP

FOREIGN Minister Kevin Rudd backs an anguished assessment of Labor by party conscience by Senator John Faulkner who warns it is succumbing to anaemia and will lose a generation of voters unless it reforms.

Mr Rudd, brought down as prime minister in a move initiated by factional powerbrokers almost a year ago, is backing Senator Faulkner's condemnation of the "careerist party managers" who, for the appearance of unity, had eliminated passionate public debate and produced conferences without differences of opinion.

"The progress of reform has not begun yet," Mr Rudd told ABC Radio today, adding the "recipe for doing so" had been developed by an internal review of the 2010 election of which Senator Faulkner was a member.

"The path of implementation must begin and the appropriate place for that to begin is the national conference at the end of this year."

Mr Rudd said he "wholeheartedly agreed" with Senator Faulkner's view that factionalism and factional powerbrokers needed to be taken on. Doing so would ensure the voice of ALP members were heard "loud and clear".

"Factional powerbrokers operating in whichever state or nationally represent a continuing cancer within the Australian Labor movement," Mr Rudd said. "They need to be got rid of."

Last night Senator Faulkner said there were "factional fixes, log-rolling and back-room deals" undermining the party.

His frank appraisal is likely to be taken up by an increasing number of ALP figures frustrated by the battering Labor has received since the 2007 election, the low standing of the current federal government, and the huge ALP loss in New South Wales.

"We have lost a generation of activists from Labor and, if we do not face the challenges and opportunities of reform in both structure and culture, we will risk losing a generation of voters as well," Senator Faulkner said.

He called for a role for voters who were not party members but backed Labor at the ballot box: "The culture of inclusion must also take in our many millions of supporters. Without them Labor has no future. "But they have no way to be involved with, or support, Labor outside of an election. We must include them in the development of our party."

In a string of brutal assessments of how the ALP has functioned over recent years, Senator Faulkner said voters would not tolerate changes in policy and direction which seemed "arbitrary and startling".

He condemned "activists" who stopped standing up for issues once they had used their activism to win a seat in parliament and the reliance on focus group polling rather than consultations with party members.

But Senator Faulkner's biggest grievance was over the death of debate within the party. "This is seen by some to be a triumph of party management: Dissent is contained behind closed doors; all potential embarrassment is avoided," Senator Faulkner said of party conferences. "I see it rather as a symptom of the anaemia that is draining the life from the Australian Labor Party - an apparent aversion to the unpredictably of democracy."

Senator Faulkner, a former minister long considered the leader of the left in NSW, in February delivered a report on the 2010 election and proposed party reforms draw up with former NSW Premier Bob Carr and former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, both from the right.

He went public with doubts about the capacity of the ALP to recognise the need for change when delivering the third Wran Lecture, named after former NSW Labor Premier Neville Wran. He pointed to the loss of young members to organisations such as Get Up and other parties, seen as a reference to the Greens. "The party has become so reliant on focus groups that it listens more to those who don't belong to it than those who do," he said. "This makes membership a sacrifice of activism, not a part of it."

Senator Faulkner opposed the handing out of scripted lines to Labor MPs for media use: "If they were trusted enough by the party to be chosen as parliamentary representatives, they ought to be trusted enough to speak aloud in public without a pre-scripted song-sheet of lines of the day."

He said: "Labor cannot thrive as an association of political professionals focused on the machinery of electoral victory and forming, at best, contingent alliances with Australians motivated by and committed to ideals and policies.

"A party organisation staffed by and experienced and competent strategists and manager is necessary to SERVE the (election) campaign and organisational needs of Labor's members and supporters, not to SUBSTITUTE for them."



Anonymous said...

I really don't think the women would feel too comfortable at the 5ircuit Bar. I suppose they could always watch, but it really does look like a bloodsport sometimes.

Paul said...

Can't think why girls would want to go to the 5ircuit Bar unless its to watch. Maybe the Queens should gang up and demand equal access to a few of the many women-only gyms around our cities.