Monday, July 16, 2012

Guidelines say daycare centres must remove unvaccinated children

Where taxpayer-subsidized childcare facilities are concerned, I would make a full vaccination record a condition of entry.  Fanatical anti-vaccination parents can set up their own  centres and infect one-another

CHILDCARE centres are facing pressure to suspend unvaccinated children, sending them home during disease outbreaks.

Peak body Childcare Queensland has urged providers ignoring National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines, which also recommend centres keep a record of unvaccinated children, to follow the rules.

The Sunday Mail yesterday revealed that parents refusing to vaccinate their children were still being paid thousands of dollars in immunisation incentives.

A spokeswoman for federal Childcare Minister Kate Ellis said the guidelines were issued to help centres control infectious diseases.

"It would be of great concern if providers were not taking all reasonable steps to ensure they maintain healthy environments at all times," she said.

Childcare Queensland chief executive officer Gwynn Bridge said centres were required to remind families to keep immunisation up to date.

"Maintaining a current list of children who are not immunised is vital as these children must be excluded if there is any outbreak of a disease (that can be immunised against)," Ms Bridge said.


Ethics experts slam University of Queensland over retrenchment of whistleblowing official who highlighted nepotism scandal

Mr  Procopis himself has not spoken out so I suspect that a lot of taxpayer money has been spent on buying his silence.  The whole affair is execrable

ETHICS experts have slammed the University of Queensland's decision to retrench the official who highlighted the nepotism scandal at the institution last year.

They say it smacked of revenge and would discourage people from speaking out in similar situations.

The Courier-Mail revealed this month that Phil Procopis, UQ's respected top fraud and misconduct investigator, had been made redundant under a governance shake-up by acting vice-chancellor Deborah Terry.  His was the only post removed.

"It seems to be a case of the classic public service revenge strategy - to make someone redundant by finding their position is unnecessary," said Howard Whitton, an ethics consultant to the Federal Government and an expert on whistleblowers.

Professor Terry told The Courier-Mail this month that replacing Mr Procopis, who reported directly to the vice-chancellor, with three more junior officials "embedded" in the university's corporate operations division would bring UQ "in line with international best practice".

But Mr Whitton said the comment was hard to understand. "If anything, international best practice in this area would require a senior person in exactly the role occupied by Mr Procopis to be reporting on integrity risks direct to the chancellor or the VC or a top committee of senate," he said.

Mr Whitton, who drafted Queensland's whistleblower protection legislation in the early 1990s, said the ousting of Mr Procopis was potentially a breach of today's equivalent of those laws, which prohibit reprisals in relation to public interest disclosures.

Professor Charles Sampford, director of the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law at Griffith University, said the decision should be externally reviewed.

"He has shown considerable courage in what some might have seen as a risk to his career," Prof Sampford said.  "The fact that his career at UQ is over doesn't send a very good message to the next person called on to exercise such courage.

UQ must realise that such a move at this stage will arouse suspicions.  "The best way to allay those suspicions would be to have the entire process vetted by a clearly independent body."

Mr Procopis, director of assurance and risk management, alerted the university last September about the irregular admission of a close relative [daughter] of the then vice-chancellor, Paul Greenfield.  ["My daughter the doctor"?]


Endangered lungfish among many fish perishing due to lethal Paradise Dam design

I am so anti-Greenie, I could almost be described as a Brownie  [joke] but even I am concerned about this.  The lungfish is remarkable and unique and has a very limited range so I fully support the recommendations of Barrister Chris McGrath

THE Paradise Dam has become a $240 million killing machine for hundreds of fish, including the threatened lungfish.

The fishways which were an important condition of the dam being built in 2005 do not work and the dam's stepped spillway is a death trap.

The $20 million fishways were supposed to allow the animals to swim past the dam wall in either direction. Going upstream, they are transported by a "fish lift" which uses large bins to transport them over the dam. Going downstream, the fish are supposed to swim into a large pipe which delivers them to the bottom of the dam wall.

Instead they are being killed on the spillway, which - rather than being smooth - was designed with a series of steps to dissipate water energy. In overflows, fish, turtles and eels are smashed to their deaths on the concrete steps.

A study by government-owned agency SunWater found the spillway, 80km south-west of Bundaberg, was killing lungfish at such a rate that it would have a major impact on their numbers.

In 22 days, 733 fish were killed when washed over the dam's spillway, of which 152 were large lungfish.

SunWater yesterday declined to respond to questions on the fishways or the stepped wall.  A spokeswoman said its reports had gone to the Agriculture Department for a response.  "SunWater will work closely with the department ... and consult with stakeholders to address issues raised in the report," she said.

Water Minister Mark McArdle said he would immediately request a full briefing.  "If this information is correct it would be of serious concern to me and the Government," he said.

The controversial dam, finished in 2005, was an election promise by former Labor premier Peter Beattie. At the time, Labor was being pressured by the sugar industry for more irrigation supplies.  The then-Opposition backed farmers, labelling the government anti-infrastructure.

Barrister Chris McGrath, who lost a court case in which he argued the fishways did not work, said the study covered only fish that were found, not those swept away and focused only on 2010, not last year's floods in which more animals would have died.  "It must be complete carnage," he said.

Dr McGrath called on SunWater to convert the stepped structure to a smooth spillway.


Is preventing ‘another stolen generation’ racist?

Until a decade or so ago, members of the media shied away from detailing the problems in Aboriginal communities, lest they were accused of cultivating ‘racist’ stereotypes.

That an ABC journalist (no less) would ask a Coalition minister why the state government hadn’t intervened in Toomelah in Far North NSW and introduced a John Howard-style ‘emergency plan’ to fix the policing, drink, crime and child abuse problems besetting the community shows how far the debate about Aboriginal Australia has come.

Leigh Sales was also prepared to ask the hard question whether governments are afraid to remove Aboriginal children from hell-holes like Toomelah ‘for fear of being accused of racism, and given what we saw happen with the Stolen Generation?’

The conservative commentator Andrew Bolt has often suggested that the misplaced fear of creating another Stolen Generation is impeding the proper protection of Aboriginal children.

This maybe so, but I think the situation is more complex.

Since the 1970s, child protection authorities have favoured ‘family preservation’ and have removed children – white or black – only as a last resort.

The Stolen Generation issue only came to prominence in the mid-1990s, by which time the current anti-removal practices were already the norm.

The publicity generated by the 1996 ‘Bringing Them Home’ report has probably increased sensitivities and reinforced the reluctance to separate Aboriginal families.

However, the major impact has been on what happens to Aboriginal children who are eventually removed from their families. These days, these children are more likely to enter 'kinship care' and reside with a relative or another community member.

This is called the ‘Aboriginal Placement Principle’ and is designed to balance safety and cultural concerns by ensuring Aboriginal children who cannot remain safely at home have ongoing contact with their heritage.

Sounds fine in theory. But a number of official reports suggest that Aboriginal children are placed in inappropriate and dangerous situations because – in the rush not to repeat past racist errors – the suitability of kinship carers is overlooked.

By putting culture before safety, children are being removed from the frypan of family dysfunction to the fire of extended family and community dysfunction.

We do not know how big a problem this is because of the lack of research on the outcomes for children in kinship care. But the idea that Aboriginal children end up in placements that fail to meet basic standards, and receive ‘a lesser standard of care than non-Aboriginal children,’ is certainly alarming.

If this is happening, then the anti-racist determination to prevent ‘another Stolen Generation’ is promoting perverse and essentially racist outcomes. Black and white children are being treated differently based on the colour of their skin.



Paul said...

I saw a wonderful example of an Aboriginal child of about ten, brought up here by his white foster parents who had reared him since he was three, to visit his critically ill natural & alcoholic mother. While here the equally alcoholic relatives started making ominous noises about taking him back to his "coolture nd pippol". The kid was terrified of them and hid behind his foster parents the whole time. They left very soon after before the Indigenous family started getting all legal with them and a pro-bono scumbag lawyer. Big question. Who is stealing who?

Anonymous said...

Hi there, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can suggest? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any help is very much appreciated.