Monday, July 18, 2011

Beware the beards!

I don't think I am leaping to conclusions if I say that Sharia law just MIGHT be involved here

A man has been lashed 40 times with a cable after he woke to find four bearded men in his bedroom in Sydney's west, police say. The 31-year-old man was asleep in his Melton Street apartment in Silverwater when he woke to find four unknown men in his bedroom about 1am yesterday.

Three of the intruders allegedly restrained him on the bed, while the fourth used a cable to lash him 40 times. The attack lasted about 30 minutes, police said. The four men then left the flat.

Specialist forensic officers are examining the flat for evidence and detectives are calling for help to identify the men.

The man who allegedly carried out the lashing has been described as being between 40 to 50 years of age, of Middle Eastern or Mediterranean appearance, 175cm tall with a solid build. He has a beard and was wearing a T-shirt and track pants at the time of the incident.

The three other men have been described as being aged in their late teens or early 20s, of Middle Eastern or Mediterranean appearance, and 175cm to 180cm tall. They also have beards.


Public hospital Doctors warn of retaliation by the bureaucracy if they complain

NSW doctors say they have been routinely punished by hospital bosses when they alert them to problems with patient care. The head of a hospital emergency department, Simon Leslie, said he was facing disciplinary action for raising concerns about mental health services.

"I am being subjected to disciplinary action for speaking up," he said. "There is a culture where it is not appropriate to talk about things openly and honestly. Disciplinary action is supposed to be reserved for serious issues of misconduct in health."

Dr Leslie was also threatened with the sack in 2006 after he complained about the pressure he said he was under to falsify hospital records to give the impression of more patients passing through the Shellharbour Hospital emergency department. He continues to work there.

Patients were said to be in "virtual beds" in a paper exercise designed to give the impression that patients had been moved out of the emergency department into a hospital ward bed. They were recorded as being in a virtual bed when they were still in the emergency department.

The Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, has introduced a program, the Essentials of Care, to encourage "collaboration, openness, respect and empowerment" in the health system. "This program is at the vanguard of the cultural change I want to see embedded in our public health system - to ensure that we have supportive working environments for our clinicians that are free of bullying and harassment," she said.

Dr Leslie said many doctors had left the system because they had been vilified for wanting to improve the care of their patients. He is part of the Hospital Reform Group, which is made up of some of the state's leading doctors and chaired by Emeritus Professor Kerry Goulston from the University of Sydney. The group has been brought back into the government "tent" after years in the wilderness.

One member, John Dwyer from the University of NSW, said there had been a culture of administrators bullying hospital staff, forcing them to compromise on standards of care. "[Chief executives] and senior executives were bullying in the sense that they were unreasonably demanding that people save money," he said.


Slashing migration won't hurt, says report

AUSTRALIA could meet looming skills shortages created by the resources boom with just half the annual migration intake planned by government, a report says.

Researchers led by demographer Bob Birrell have found that if today's net overseas migration target of 180,000 a year were slashed to 90,000, the pool of available workers would still expand significantly over the next decade.

Business groups and economists have argued net overseas migration of at least 180,000 will be needed as mining skills shortages intensify in the next few years. This is a far cry from the 320,000 peak reached in 2008, which sparked the "Big Australia" debate.

However, the report from Monash University's Centre for Population and Urban Research, to be released today, challenges "alarmist" business claims that the mining boom requires higher migration.

Instead, it suggests the key to skills shortages could lie in the participation rate - the share of the population who enter the labour force - and some temporary migration.

For instance, there has been a sharp increase in participation among men and women over the age of 55 in the past decade. If this trend of more participation continued, the report said Australia's workforce would expand by 1.7 million by 2021 if annual net migration were halved to 90,000.

Even if participation rates remained unchanged, the workforce would grow by one million over the same period, it said.

Alongside temporary migration, this would be adequate to meet skills shortages if migration were better targeted to employer's needs, it said. "It can safely be concluded that a [net overseas migration] of 90,000 per year is not the dark apparition business advocates imply," the report said. "The bulk of current migration has little to do with providing scarce skills to the resources industries."

Rather than mining, the majority of recent migrants worked in professional urban jobs, or were studying or taking working holidays, it said. Twenty-six per cent of migration growth in recent years was linked to employer sponsorship.

The report has one point of agreement with government: it concedes temporary migration would be needed for the mining boom. This year's budget made it easier for projects worth $2 billion with a peak workforce of 1500 people to employ foreign workers.

Although the report is likely to receive a cool reception from mining companies, there is a point of agreement with the industry. Miners have also recognised the need to tap more diverse domestic sources of labour, including female workers.

The chief executive of resources employer group the Australian Mines and Metals Association, Steve Knott, last month said the industry could do more to attract women to the male-dominated trade.

"With 92 per cent of AMMA resource industry employers stating they wish to employ more women, and being an industry where currently less than one in five workers are female, there are immense opportunities for Australian women to have a fulfilling and long-term career in the industry," he said.



Students 'brainwashed' over climate change in Queensland schools

(The LNP is Queensland's conservative party)

The Liberal National Party president has blasted the Queensland education system for "brainwashing" students about climate change.

Speaking to LNP members at the party's state conference today, Bruce McIver said he was discouraged about how children were being taught about climate change in schools. Mr McIver said he was shaken by the way issues were being taught when he and his wife visited their grandson's school. "We were shocked at the way the climate change debate on one side is being pushed in the classroom," he said. "And not balanced perspectively. Our kids are being brainwashed under this Labor education system."

Mr McIver's comments received loud applause from more than 700 delegates from throughout the state.

"Why aren't they being told that if you go to Quilpie and you drive to Windorah - [Liberal National Party MPs] Vaughan Johnson's country, Howard Hobbs' country - you will see these sand hills that have been blown up years ago," he said. "When the droughts were much bigger than the ones we have just had. "And why aren't we being told that Brisbane has had floods in the 1890s of over eight metres.

"[LNP leader] Campbell [Newman] tells me that back in the 1820s - even before white man even came here - there were floods that could have been over 12 metres at the post office at the bottom of Elizabeth Street. "So, things change. Climate is constantly changing. Is man having an effect? Well I will leave it for you to judge."

Queensland Education Minister Cameron Dick said Mr McIver’s comments were an “outrageous slur” on the professionalism of the state's 38,000 teachers. “The curriculum taught in Queensland state schools is developed and delivered by educational experts, not politicians, nor backroom political party operatives like Mr McIver," he said. "Quite simply, students studying science in Queensland state schools are taught scientific facts.

"We all know that Mr McIver and the LNP are climate-change deniers, and his comments are not only wrong and insulting, but an attempt to push the party’s ‘head-in-the-sand’ beliefs on Queenslanders."

Mr McIver described Labor's carbon tax as a "socialist" policy would have a devastating effect on Queensland business and on Queensland jobs. "It is a direct threat to our economy. I believe it is a redistribution of wealth," he said to cheers of "hear, hear" among delegates. "It is a direct threat to Queensland jobs."

Mr McIver also challenged Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to install more Queenslanders onto his shadow front bench. The LNP won 21 of Queensland's 30 Federal seats at the August 2010 election.

Mr McIver said the LNP had added an extra 4000 members since it formed in July 2008.


Conservative leader opens fire on huge Greenie bureaucracy in Qld.

CAMPBELL Newman has launched a personal attack on Premier Anna Bligh's husband as he threatens to shake up a ballooning green bureaucracy captive to "environmental ideology".

Mr Newman was yesterday given a thunderous welcome to the LNP's annual conference in Brisbane, where he outlined a vigorous plan of attack to take power from Queensland's "tired 20-year-old Labor Government".

Despite fighting a cold that made his voice hoarse, Mr Newman delivered a lengthy barrage at Labor. He saved his sharpest barbs for the Department of Environment and Resource Management, recently revealed to employ the equivalent of a medium-sized township.

Mr Newman said DERM would come under a powerful spotlight and be swiftly re-engineered if he won government. "It's a department without true leadership, a department that is more about ideology than science," he said. "It's more about politics than outcomes."

He also singled out Ms Bligh's husband, Greg Withers, assistant director-general in the Office of Climate Change in DERM, for special mention. "Let's face it, when you have a climate change policy in Queensland decided by the Premier's husband, not science, then you know there's a problem," Mr Newman said.

Environment Minister Vicky Darling hit back immediately, saying Mr Newman was showing his true colours. "Campbell Newman's promise to wreck one of the state's most important regulators should send shivers down the spine of any Queenslander who values the protection of our precious environment and natural resources," she said.

With more than 5600 public servants, DERM is now one of Australia's largest bureaucracies, dwarfing even the number of federal public servants assigned to green schemes (2254).

DERM was designed to protect waterways and wildlife and ensure prime agricultural land was not developed, Mr Newman said. "(But) under Labor, Queenslanders have lost confidence in DERM."

Mr Newman also attacked the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation. "Many people from business, the community and even government simply do not understand how this department works or which of its six ministers is in charge," he said.

Mr Newman said Labor was too focused on Green preferences.

Ms Darling said the Bligh Government had a strong, nation-leading record on protecting precious environment and natural assets. "The LNP has never cared about protecting the environment, and this is a clear indication that Campbell Newman is a very real risk," Ms Darling said.


Carbon tax to hit schools

STRUGGLING schools will be hit by an annual $200 million rise in power bills - costing about $57 per student - under the carbon tax. Parents will have to foot the bill by paying more in voluntary contributions or less money will go into vital teaching resources.

Federal opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne said the carbon tax would add 10 per cent to electricity bills and 9 per cent to gas bills.

With schools already struggling with rising power costs due to the digital education revolution, which has meant classrooms become increasingly reliant on computers and digital technology, the NSW Department of Education has told them they will not automatically be given supplementary funding once they exceed their budget for utility bills.

Mr Pyne said yesterday: "There are only two places schools can get the money: they can either increase their fees, or in the case of government schools, it can come out of the state government coffers."We all know the state governments aren't flush with funds so that is going to be difficult for them to find those funds."

School Education Minister Peter Garrett responded by calling the claim a Coalition scare campaign. "The fact is that the government's contribution to school funding is indexed," he said. "So as costs rise, funding to schools is increased."

However, a memo late last week from the NSW Education Department called on public school principals to "identify and develop strategies" to help reduce the money spent on casual teachers and utilities. "In 2008, schools sought supplementation for $13 million to cover the costs of short-term casual relief and utilities," the memo said.

"Last year that number doubled to $26 million. This is a 100 per cent increase for roughly the same numbers of students, teaching staff and teaching spaces. It means that we have less money to spend on other teaching and learning programs."

President of the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of NSW Helen Walton said parents were continually being called upon to support basic programs because schools' money was going on bills. "The computers and whiteboards that come with the digital education revolution are great teaching resources but they come at great expense," Ms Walton said. She said many P&Cs paid for air- conditioning and heating units but their use was adding to schools' bills.

Premier Barry O'Farrell said the power bill rises would cost parents. "The impact of Labor's carbon tax reaches into every corner of life and schools will be adversely affected," he said. "It will push up costs for schools and for parents. The NSW Government is seeking talks with the Prime Minister to discuss the impact of her carbon tax, and schools will be included in that. "We are deeply concerned (about) the impact it will have on schools."

Mr Pyne has also written to Mr Garrett to ask if there would be compensation and what other costs of schooling would rise under the carbon tax. "There are many costs related to a school's operations that could potentially increase as a result of the tax, including increases in electricity and gas," he wrote.


1 comment:

Paul said...

"NSW doctors say they have been routinely punished by hospital bosses when they alert them to problems with patient care."

Get into the guts and bolts of the Jayant Patel case to see how Queensland does it. NSW could learn a thing or two.

I still think Beattie was involved in spiking the first inquiry, with the help of that senior Doctor Darren wahtsit and his mate the screechily camp Hospital manager. Remember them? they were the ones whose "evidence" came off unbelievably badly, and who then challenged the validity of the inquiry, alleging bias because they had ended up looking so culpable. Beattie pulled the "I'm shocked...SHOCKED! I tell you" routine before conspicuously not intervening, and the inquiry was shut down followed by the institution of a new inquiry with new terms of reference that only seemed to involve Patel. I guess they were worried about public confidence in the management of Queensland's Health system. They needn't have worried on that score.