Sunday, July 31, 2011

Light soon on Labor party coverup?

New light shed on Heiner Affair with 'Shreddergate' inquiry set to open. Could it be Kevvy who is being protected?

Annette McIntosh, 37, is one of the living victims of Shreddergate - a 20-year controversy involving politicians, shredded documents and "hush money".

For the first time, she has revealed her full identity in her fight for justice. Mrs McIntosh alleges that at 14 years old, as a ward of the state at Brisbane's John Oxley Detention Centre, she was pack-raped.

A year ago, the State Government paid Mrs McIntosh $140,000 in compensation for a crime that never led to charges, let alone an investigation.

She signed a confidentiality agreement. But that is about to be broken. Mrs McIntosh will head to Canberra when Federal Parliament resumes next month, and with Independent Senator Nick Xenophon will fight to open a new inquiry into what has been referred to as the Heiner Affair.

"I cannot wait. I have been waiting for this ... just to tell them straight out I'm still alive," Mrs McIntosh told The Sunday Mail.

"It feels good to speak because I've been told to shut my mouth for over 20 years."

Several probes have been held into the Heiner inquiry's investigation into alleged crimes at the detention centre.

Documents were shredded by the then Goss Government because of fears of legal problems relating to the inquiry, which was also disbanded. Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd was chief-of-staff to then premier Wayne Goss at the time of the shredding.

But an inquiry has never been held into why Mrs McIntosh, who works with indigenous youth, was paid compensation.

Moves for an inquiry were put on ice last month when former Family First senator Steve Fielding shocked Senator Xenophon and the Coalition by pulling his support.


1989: Former magistrate Noel Heiner appointed by the then National Party to inquire into alleged abuse at the John Oxley Detention Centre

1990: Incoming Labor Goss government shreds documents over fears the inquiry was not properly constituted

1995: The Criminal Justice Commission cleared of allegations it had lied to a federal Senate inquiry about a whistleblower who provided information to the Heiner inquiry

1996: Barristers Tony Morris, QC, and Edward Hoard appointed by the Borbidge government to hold an investigation into the shredding

2004: Federal Senate select committee holds hearings into the shredding but they lead to no charges

2010: Alleged victim Annette McIntosh receives compensation from the Bligh Government


New $800 'green tax' mooted on homes - you must pay before you can sell

As if houses were not dear enough already!

EMBATTLED homeowners could be slugged more than $800 to give their houses a compulsory "green rating" before they are sold or leased, under a new federal government scheme.

Mandatory "green ratings" for apartments and houses similar to those on new washing machines and fridges are to be introduced in the initiative to encourage more energy efficient homes.

The ratings are part of the requirement for each state to introduce legislation requiring homeowners to disclose their home's energy, greenhouse and water efficiency when they advertise it for sale or lease.

A national report has posed four different options for energy audits which in NSW would range in price from about $200 to $820.

Public consultations on compulsory testing will be held for the first time around the country starting in Sydney on Tuesday.

The most expensive option detailed in the report estimates a charge to an individual home owner of $774 for an assessor with an added $50 cost for the inconvenience of having to arrange to be present during the assessment.

The most intensive of the options, it involves a thermal building assessment which gauges a property's heating and cooling efficiency and other components.

But homeowners would not benefit from this option, which is estimated to cost homeowners a total of $1.9 billion, Real Estate Institute of NSW president Wayne Stewart said. "We agree there needs to be a change of thought and attitude towards energy efficiency," Mr Stewart said. "But the government needs to work with consumers to bring about change rather than slap them with what looks like being another tax of up to $800."

A less expensive option involves a simpler thermal assessment, involving a cost of $172.50 for an assessor and a $25 cost to a householder.

The third model would be an online version of the thermal performance assessment at a cost of $68 if done by the householder or $165 if done by an assessor with an associated $18 "householder waiting cost".

The fourth option is similar to that already adopted in Queensland whereby a homeowner fills out a checklist of building information.

This option is estimated to cost $41 if done by the property owner and $150 if done by an assessor.

Mandatory energy ratings were being introduced to establish a credible and uniform system, a spokesperson for Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency said.

Rating a property's green performance could also boost its value. "Assessing the energy and water efficiency characteristics of a home can help people chose a property that is potentially more comfortable and cheaper to run," the spokesperson said.


Your regulators will protect you -- NOT

Dodgy Victorian doctors exposed

A Beaumaris doctor, who smoked ice and shot up pethidine with his patient and lover, is among dozens of disgraced doctors still registered to practise in Victoria. Supplied

BEAUMARIS doctor Sotirios Giokas, who smoked ice and shot up pethidine with his patient and lover, is among dozens of disgraced doctors still registered to practise in Victoria.

Thirty-three Victorian doctors - disciplined for sexual harassment of patients and staff, botching operations, feeding patients' drug habits, or performing procedures such as liposuction although untrained - are still registered to practise.

The Sunday Herald Sun has, for the first time, searched the biographies of each of the 6860 Victorian registered doctors in the AHPRA database, and the results of the "doctor audit" are disturbing.

The national medical registration body - the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - says doctors are allowed to continue practising only if the board is satisfied patient safety is not at risk.

But the Australian Patients Association is calling for a "three strikes and you're out" policy.

Some of the doctors banned from prescribing drugs of dependence have been unable to refuse desperate medication-seeking patients.

Other doctors were allowed to work in the state only if they got their English up to scratch and some were reprimanded for taking inadequate patient notes.

At least another 15 Victorian doctors have conditions on their registration - such as reduced working hours and being able to work only in a group setting - because of addictions and mental health issues.

Medical Board of Australia chairwoman Dr Joanna Flynn said national regulation of doctors aimed to ensure community safety. "It's not a punishment jurisdiction, it's about protection of the public," Dr Flynn said.

She said while some doctors would never practise again, the board had to "balance the potential good that person might do to the patient community - including what alternatives there are if that doctor is not there - against the prospect the doctor will engage in harm".

A medical board panel hears less serious complaints, received from patients or a doctor's colleagues. They can reprimand or caution the doctor, order further training or enter a voluntary agreement with the doctor to restrict their practice in some way.

Under national legislation enacted last year, more serious cases are now referred to VCAT, which has the power to suspend or cancel registrations, or impose restrictions on practice. The medical board can also restrict practice or suspend doctors while the VCAT hearing is under way if there are risks to the public.

Australian Patients Association chief executive Stephen Mason said stricter and more transparent controls were required to crack down on reoffenders. "Where there have been complaints for professional misconduct, it needs to be like the AFL drug code: three strikes and you're out," Mr Mason said. "Some complaint-prone doctors are past their use-by date . . . but there's no compulsory retirement date.

"When reviews are by peers there's always a tendency to be lenient . . . so all these review panels need to have some outsiders on them and all the charges and findings should be public."


Queensland doctors not too good either

QUEENSLAND doctors are facing hundreds of complaints of inadequate care, including claims of working under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Others have been caught ripping off taxpayers and giving patients drugs or treatment they do not need.

Three Queensland medicos are under investigation by Medicare for over-prescribing, while a separate blowtorch has been applied to 408 Queensland doctors for inadequate care.

More than 1100 health professionals and medical practices Australia-wide have been identified as incorrectly claiming from Medicare amounts totalling $28.24 million.

Queensland's Health Quality and Complaints Commission, which has the 408 "open" complaints on its books, has referred 162 of the grievances to the Medical Board of Australia.

A spokeswoman for the Commission said the public complained mostly about treatment and communication issues, but some also accused doctors of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

"We may forward matters that we consider appropriate to the relevant registration board or if the matter is outside our jurisdiction, forward it to another agency with the authority to deal with (it), which may include the Director of Professional Services Review (DPSR)." The DPSR determines what action should be taken.

Fifty-six health professionals have been referred to the DPSR for suspected inappropriate practice and one doctor has been referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for criminal charges.

Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton said doctors who did the wrong thing would never be supported but said they were innocent until proven guilty.

Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek said the vast majority of medical practitioners acted professionally but "the few who prescribe these drugs to people who don't need them are not acting appropriately".


1 comment:

Paul said...

Did I ever mention the Doctor (or two) who would turn up at the local Private Hospital at 6.30 AM, greet his patients with a chirpy "Hello, How are you?", then head off to the office to bill the Fund for an out-of-hours consultation? Wonder why Private Health is so expensive? (GFC investment losses notwithstanding).

Of course they are so busy that's the only time they could POSSIBLY get in to see their in-patients. That was their line of least resistance anyway.