Wednesday, November 02, 2011

"Ping pong Poms"

Mentioned only obliquely below is the phenomenon of re-emigration. Many returning Poms have become so spoilt by life in Australia that they can't take England any more and emigrate once again to Australia. Some returners have been known to get no further than Heathrow before deciding to go back to Australia -- a decision assisted no doubt by obnoxious British officialdom

For decades, the promise of sunny weather, a family-friendly lifestyle and affordable property has driven hundreds of thousands of Britons to make the move to Australia.

But it seems, for many, their dream life Down Under has turned into something of a disappointment. A record number of Britons left Australia last year, many bored with their ex-pat life and keen to spend more time with family in the UK, research has revealed.

Nearly 107,000 people arrived there from the UK between 2005 and 2010. But more than 30,000 Britons left over the same period. And last year a record of more than 7,000 Britons departed Australia permanently.

Researchers Mary Holmes, a senior lecturer in sociology at Australia’s Flinders University, and Roger Burrows, of the University of York, studied why so many ‘ping-pong Poms’ are returning home.

They said: ‘A better life is not about good jobs, sunshine or bigger houses. ‘What is most important is feeling close to family and feeling “at home”.’

A number of returning Britons left because of ‘boredom’ in Australia, the pair found, complaining of stressful daily routines such as three-hour commutes on hot, crowded trains.

Dr Holmes and Professor Burrows said that while some who left could be described as ‘whingeing Poms’, complaining about the heat and insects, most had better reasons, with family being a common one. Many wanted their children born in Australia to get to know grandparents and other relatives in the UK, even if it meant sacrificing a better quality of life.

And for others, not ‘feeling at home’ in Australia was a crucial factor in their decision to leave, the research showed.

However the researchers did note that some who returned kept their options open by obtaining Australian citizenship before doing so.

One Briton told them: ‘That way, when your duty to your children and grandparents is finally done you are free to go back to make your home in Australia.’

More HERE (Including some amusing pix)

Queensland Health director-general Tony O'Connell to slash 1000 non-frontline staff

He's got the right idea but will it really happen?

QUEENSLAND Health's newly anointed boss has admitted the system is unsustainable and needs to improve.

Tony O'Connell plans to slash non-frontline staff by 1000 while redesigning hospitals to cut unnecessary queuing and delays, freeing up much-needed beds.

The troubled department has this year been rocked by reports of budget blowouts as patient demand continues to soar and mooted cost-cutting measures were condemned by doctors.

Other sections of its workforce have taken to the streets to fight for higher pay, forcing cancellation of elective surgery and throwing some hospitals into chaos.

Dr O'Connell, who became QH director-general last month after acting in the role since June, admitted he faced challenging times.

"That's what national health reform was all about, admitting that if we continue to do things the way that we currently do them, it's unsustainable."

Dr O'Connell, who replaced outgoing director-general Mick Reid, refused to reveal the extent of cost blowouts, saying only that hospitals had been further over budget at the same time last year.

"Month by month, they're above and below the budget so in the end it's only how they are at the end of the year that's important," he said.

But he planned to dramatically reduce "back-office expenditure" after The Courier-Mail last month revealed the mammoth imbalance between doctors and non-frontline staff. The ratio topped one to three in some areas.

Dr O'Connell will push for 1000 of the 3500 voluntary separation packages being offered by the State Government to come from health's bloated corporate office.

Admitting the wages savings would not be channelled directly back to health, he said the move would "indirectly" increase the spend on frontline workers.

Hospitals will also be redesigned, with frontline staff asked to lead the charge on streamlining processes such as axing unnecessary test repeats.

A trial at Logan Hospital had already led to a 10 per cent reduction in patient's length of stay, Dr O'Connell said.

"That means you've got 10 per cent more beds ... and that's much cheaper than building a hospital," the former intensive care and anaesthesia specialist said.

"Because it is such a massive system with millions of experiences each year, there will always be the occasional situation which provides opportunities for improvement."


Incompetent emergency line operator cost the lives of a mother and her son

TOOWOOMBA flood victim Donna Rice could have been attended to by emergency services more quickly if her desperate triple zero call was prioritised by a call centre operator, an inquest heard yesterday.

It wasn't until her son Jordan, 13, phoned the emergency hotline several minutes later on January 10, the day they were swept to their deaths, that three fire units were dispatched. But it was too late by the time emergency services reached the pair.

An inquest into the deaths of 25 flood victims, three of whom remain missing, began at the Coroner's Court in Brisbane yesterday.

Detective Inspector David Isherwood, a relieving regional crime co-ordinator during the floods, said the call made by Mrs Rice minutes before she was swept to her death was classed by Senior Constable Jason Wheeler as a priority three call, otherwise known as a "routine call".

When asked if, had the call been given a higher code priority, police would have attended more quickly, he responded: "It's possible".

Insp Isherwood said there was "no urgency" in the voice of Mrs Rice when she made the call, compared with a call by her son Jordan several minutes later. Jordan had a "great degree of urgency" in his voice.

Six Queensland Fire and Rescue Service units were in operation in the area on the day and were dispatched to the scene where they found the family trapped in floodwaters.


Federal veto power over NT, ACT law stripped

For once I agree with the Greens -- even if their underlying motivation is to facilitate homosexual marriage

NEW legislation that strengthens the territories' right to govern themselves - and strips the Federal Government's veto - is a win for democracy, Australian Greens leader Bob Brown has said.

The lower house has passed a Greens bill which removes the Commonwealth's power to get rid of territory laws it doesn't like.

Until now, a federal minister or the cabinet had the right to scratch laws passed by the ACT or the Northern Territory - as in 2006, when former prime minister John Howard rejected the ACT's civil union laws.

But under the new laws, territory law can now only be disallowed through a vote in the federal parliament.

"The passage of the bill is an enhancement of democracy in Australia," Senator Brown said. "Laws in the ACT and NT can only be overturned by an act of federal parliament rather than at the whim of a federal minister or cabinet."

He said territory citizens had the right to be governed by the people they elected.

Labor voted in support of the Greens bill, despite initial concerns from some MPs that it could make it easier for the territories to legalise same-sex marriage and euthanasia.

In 1996, the commonwealth overruled the NT government after it gave its terminally ill citizens the right to die.

Greens MP Adam Bandt insisted the bill was not about specific issues, but about giving the territories a greater say.

He rejected two last-minute amendments presented by the Coalition to change the wording so territories were prevented from veering into same-sex territory.

"For this Parliament to determine in advance what those chambers may or may not legislate about reflects the kind of paternalism that in fact this bill is seeking to address," Mr Bandt told the lower house.

Labor frontbencher Craig Emerson said the Coalition's amendments were unnecessary and a stunt to try and suggest the government - by not supporting them - was not fully behind the Marriage Act.

"And that's complete bunkum, rubbish," Mr Emerson said. "If there is a debate about the Marriage Act, let's have that debate.

"(But) this is general legislation about the territories and that's what we're debating."

A spokeswoman for ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher welcomed the bill.

"After 20 years of self-government, it was time for change," she said. "Canberrans should enjoy the same right as other Australian citizens to have their elected representatives make laws without the prospect of a single minister vetoing."

She said the ACT would like to see a full review of the Self-Government Act.


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