Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gillard attempting to censor news about illegal immigrants

She can't solve the problem so wants it hidden

IMAGES of asylum seekers arriving to our shores by boat may be banned. The restrictions were announced after the Immigration Department successfully lobbied the Australian Communications and Media Authority to "protect the privacy of these vulnerable clients", The Australian reports (subscribers).

Under the new privacy guidelines, a person's identity would be protected even if they are in a public place. This would allow ACMA, which oversees the licenses of major TV networks, to possibly prevent the broadcasting of asylum seekers' faces.

Seven Network's Head of News Peter Meakin told The Australian: "I think it's a ridiculous provision and I suspect it is being done more for the benefit of authorities than for the asylum-seekers."

"I can understand asylum-seekers wanting privacy for the protection of their families, but a blanket ban is just the big hand of censorship," he said.


Doctors tell people to avoid a broke public hospital

THE Australian Medical Association (AMA) has warned Victorians to avoid Frankston Hospital, saying it is a basket case after it closed a 30-bed ward due to a lack of government funding.

Patients at the Mornington Peninsula hospital, which is under extra pressure during the holiday season, have endured long delays, particularly in the emergency department, Fairfax reports.

Nurses have told the paper they are deeply concerned about the closure of a general medical ward at this time of year.

They said thousands of patients had already been languishing on trolleys in emergency in recent months, instead of being admitted to beds on wards.

The president of the AMA's Victorian branch, Harry Hemley, advised people to avoid Frankston and attend neighbouring hospitals instead. "I wouldn't recommend anyone make their way to Frankston Hospital over the holiday period ... they should go to Monash or one of the other neighbouring hospitals because Frankston has clearly become a basket case," he said.

A spokesman for hospital operator Peninsula Health, John Dukes, said the 3 North ward at Frankston Hospital was closed in June due to budget constraints but could be reopened when the hospital is under pressure and needs more beds.


Gillard's pandering to the Greens costs Australia a fortune

THE Labor government's tenuous hold on power has already cost taxpayers almost $15 billion.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard spent $65 for every Australian in order to keep the Greens and independents happy - and her party in government - all while facing global financial turmoil and a wafer-thin budget surplus, The Daily Telegraph reported.

An analysis shows the costs extended beyond deals struck after the election, with Labor forced to extinguish political spot fires and buy votes for policies such as the carbon and mining taxes.

The $14.95 billion bill after less than half Labor's term is in contrast to a $950 million revenue windfall after a Greens campaign to adopt its fringe benefits tax to encourage a reduction in driving.

NSW independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott strengthened their positions as major powerbrokers, involved in deals worth $4.2 billion compared to the $364 million of Andrew Wilkie.

Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan defended Labor's economic record, pointing to the regional focus of much of the funds as returning the proceeds of the mining boom.

But the opposition attacked the greener initiatives as wasteful and evidence that Ms Gillard was unable to stand up to Greens leader Bob Brown.

University of Melbourne professor Mark Considine said there were only minor positives in what he called an "inefficient form of democracy".

"It's very similar to what has happened in the American system where every bill has to contain inducements across the board for bringing people on board," he said. "There is a high cost in the time spent bringing people on board and the exaggerated power of some minority groups and electorates that distorts everything."

The Greens have won $10.275 billion - headlined by the $10 billion clean energy fund - while Queensland independent Bob Katter scored a $335 million renewable energy promise a day after backing the Coalition.

In one vote-buying spree last month, Labor spent $320 million securing three lower house votes to allow its mining tax package to pass.

At least one promise has blown out, with the $75 million pledged to Mr Oakeshott to expand Port Macquarie Hospital rising to $96 million.

Mr Windsor, who was promised $20 million for Tamworth Hospital but has since scored another $120 million, said his efforts had won important money for the regions and improved the outcome of key policies. "Very little is local (in my seat)," he said. "I don't think the punter in the street would object to much of this."

A spokesman for Mr Swan defended the deal-making, insisting the federal government still had a strong economic record on jobs, interest rates and maintaining the AAA credit rating.

"Regional Australia - where one third of Australians live - has every right to decent government services and to enjoy the benefits of the mining boom," the spokesman said.

Opposition government waste spokesman Jamie Briggs said while he did not object to regional initiatives such as health and road, he claimed many of the billions demanded by the Greens was a waste.

"Gillard's lack of courage to stand up to the Greens is costing taxpayers," he said.


Council's $1.1m fine threat over 1.5m kids' cubby

IT didn't cost much to build but that could change dramatically if a New South Wales family refuses to tear down a child's cubby house erected in their backyard without council permission.

Penalties of up to $1.1 million - plus a further daily fine of $110,000 - await the family if they don't agree to demolish the structure.

The cubby, which measures just 1.5m by 1.5m, was deemed a "fire risk" by Wollongong City Council, which wants it removed by January 5.

Earlier this year, Sonja Keller and husband Andrew Bergmann used leftover building supplies to build the cubby for their son, Yaan, 9, behind their home at Tumbling Waters Resort in Stanwell Tops.

They returned from holidays before Christmas to find mail telling them to remove the cubby as it posed a bushfire threat and they did not have "development consent".

"Council has become aware that a cubby house has been erected within the premises adjacent to a dwelling; within a bushfire prone and environmentally sensitive area, without development consent," the council wrote.

"Failure to comply with the order is an offence under section 125 of the (Environmental Planning and Assessment) Act. The maximum penalty for that offence is $1,100,000.00 and a further daily penalty of $110,000.00. "If the order is not complied with, Council may give effect to the order and recover the costs of doing so from you."

Mrs Keller said council staff first inspected the cubby house earlier this month. "Three people from the council came to inspect some of the work we had done at the resort," he said. "I thought they were joking when they said they needed to look at the cubby house."

She said the cubby was barely visible from the street and no more of a fire risk than other garden furniture. "This decision is a joke. It's ridiculous to say it's in a fire-sensitive area," she said. "The garden shed is in a fire-sensitive area. The pergola is in a fire-sensitive area. The whole house is in a fire-sensitive area."

Mrs Keller said she would try to fight the decision, but they could not afford to pay the whopping fines.

"The council should be encouraging people to spend time with their families, especially this time of year," she said. "My little boy got $50 for Christmas and asked if that was enough to fight council."


1 comment:

Paul said...

As I recall Frankston Hospital has always been scary. Cairns Base has closed a lot of beds over the Christmas period but strangely, it hasn't been anything like the disaster we all expected. I think it may speak volumes about what an economic basket-case Cairns is becoming. A lot of marginal property buyers moved up here over the past ten years when prices zoomed up in the Capitals, and many will have fallen into unemployment and moved on as tourism collapsed.