Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gai Waterhouse defends son Tom against footy betting attacks

I am sure any mother would be proud of a son like Tom:  Always well presented, doing an extraordinarily complex job and loving it.  And bookies are like royalty for many Australians -- helping to bring excitement into routine lives. And Tom pays millions for his advertising opportunities -- JR

POLITICIANS should lay off Tom Waterhouse, whose only fault is "working his butt off", according to his mother, champion horse trainer Gai Waterhouse.

In fierce defence of her star bookmaker son, Waterhouse accused some MPs of trying to kill off every industry in the country, adding that if everyone followed her son's example, the nation would be a better society.

"They should stop criticising - all they can ever do, the Greenies and all the rest of them," she said.

Tom Waterhouse was barred from offering opinions during sport broadcasts after a parliamentary hearing last week found he was blurring the lines between the roles of bookmaker and commentator. From this round of league on, he will be limited to talking about sporting odds.

But his mother said: "Bugger the criticism. They want to kill every industry in Australia and then they wonder why they are going belly up.

"He is out there working his butt off. If everyone worked as hard as my son Tom we'd have a much better society in Australia."

Senator Richard di Natale was particularly critical of the bookmaker's appearance on Channel 9's NRL coverage.

"People watching footy with their kids don't want to see Tom Waterhouse ads rammed down their throats, and see pseudo commentators giving odds," he said. "People are very, very angry at this sport being enmeshed with gambling."

Despite playing a reduced role, Tom Waterhouse has still been the victim of ongoing abuse on social media regarding Nine's numerous live crosses to him for updates on betting odds during games - with people referring to the network's rugby league coverage as "The Tom Waterhouse Show".

Gai Waterhouse expressed annoyance that her son had been singled out for criticism.

"They have the freedom of choice of turning their television off," she said, adding that her son had the skills required to be a commentator.

"He is not a pseudo commentator," she said.  "First of all he does a lot of research into it. Secondly, he's been passionate about sport since the year dot.

"But thirdly, they (viewers) don't have to pick up the phone to have a bet. They don't have to pick up a cigarette and smoke it. They don't have to do anything.

"People have got intelligence and make up their minds. There are plenty of firms out there sponsoring the sport that are selling to the public.

"But because Tom is a name and we know the name you can criticise it and that is the problem with the senator."

Speaking for the first time on the issue, the 30-year-old bookmaker said he had not been rattled by the broadcast changes.

"It's one of the many things going on - it's just part and parcel of business," he said.

"We have a million things on the go and that is one of them.

"Whether it is rugby league or other things, people will go: 'What are you doing?' And heckling a bit.

"I just try and take it in my stride and just do it."


Man dies after left to treat himself when ambulance dispatchers wrongly classed his injuries as non-life threatening

A BRISBANE man died after he was left to treat himself for 15 minutes when ambulance dispatchers wrongly classified his injuries as non-life threatening.

The man, whose leg was crushed by his own truck, died of a heart attack only three minutes from the closest ambulance station, after a series of blunders resulted in an ambulance being dispatched from a more distant station.

The case, revealed under Right to Information, is the latest to highlight problems within the Queensland Ambulance Service and emergency departments.

Paramedics have blamed inconsistent front-line staffing, unreliable communications equipment and muddled training for the problems that continue to plague the QAS despite promises of reform four years ago.

In the latest RTI, The Courier-Mail was given full access to only 73 pages of documents, partial access to 384 pages of documents but refused access to 944 pages detailing patient complaints to the Department of Community Safety.

Breaching patient privacy and cases still under investigation were cited as reasons documents were withheld.

Other cases referred for further investigation including to the Queensland Health Quality and Complaints Commission were:

 *  A 90-year-old woman vomiting from severe abdominal pain waited more than eight hours for emergency treatment after being diverted from two hospitals before being treated at QEII Hospital.

 *  Five acute patients left in an emergency department corridor "unsupervised and unmonitored".

 *  A patient with severe cramping and struggling to breathe waited 50 minutes for an ambulance to arrive and was then left in a hallway at Caboolture Hospital before being admitted.

Timeline of a tragedy

 *  An ambulance carrying a man in extreme pain returned to the depot to put him in another ambulance before taking him to hospital.

Records show the Brisbane man who was crushed by the truck was bleeding heavily while QAS staff juggled lunch breaks, and messages left on radios and pagers went unanswered.

When paramedics arrived, they realised his injuries were so severe they required an Intensive Care vehicle and a medical officer, who arrived 15-20 minutes later.

Nearly 50 minutes after he first called triple-0 the man had a heart attack and could not be revived.

QAS Commissioner Russell Bowles said he was not proud of the way the man's case was handled but recommendations for improvements had been implemented.

"We will continue to try and improve the system. When you deal with the workload we do, you make mistakes."

Paramedic unions say the system has not been fixed. "Those guys are under a hell of a lot of pressure," said United Voice ambulance co-ordinator Jeanette Temberley, who said staff usually got blamed for any bad outcomes.

Australian Paramedics Association Queensland president Prebs Sathiaseelan said radios regularly failed and there weren't enough staff to cover for breaks.

Mr Bowles denied QAS needed more staff or that staff were over-burdened or not well-managed.

"I say our workforce is adequate. It was a litany of errors that just happened," he said.

A spokeswoman for Community Safety Minister Jack Dempsey said he was too busy to be interviewed by The Courier-Mail.


Bungling doctors could face criminal charges for allegedly killing and maiming patients

SIX doctors could face criminal charges for allegedly killing and maiming patients in major medical blunders over the past six years in Queensland.

Several patients allegedly suffered unnecessary amputations and another was left a quadriplegic when a surgeon failed to detect a neck injury after a car crash. One patient is believed to have died in an operation later found to be unnecessary.

There are further allegations of patients being horribly disfigured by cosmetic surgery and of two children who suffered severe injuries when a routine medical procedure at a doctor's rooms in a country town went terribly wrong.

A total of 23 cases were referred to Queensland police last week following the completion of an independent review by a senior barrister.

The review was carried out by former Fitzgerald inquiry investigator Jeffrey Hunter, SC, who reported to Health Minister Lawrence Springborg.

Most of the accusations are directed at doctors at private and public hospitals at Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Gympie and Cairns.

The review was sparked by a report in The Sunday Mail in which Queensland Health whistleblower Jo Barber, a former detective, said serious complaints against doctors were often covered up.

Mr Hunter also confirmed Ms Barber's claims that doctors with mental health and drug problems were permitted to treat patients. One doctor alone has been named in 11 cases of criminal negligence relating to surgical procedures including angioplasty, a procedure to widen blocked blood vessels.

Patients had died and suffered other complications when stents were inserted to open blocked arteries, Mr Hunter reported.

A plastic surgeon faces accusations in seven cases involving ill-fated breast enlargements and facelifts.

It is alleged one woman was left with "pixie ears" after a botched facelift.

Several others were left with misshapen breasts in operations which Mr Hunter said likely amounted to grievous bodily harm.

"In each case, my opinion is that the allegations involve breaches of such magnitude as to potentially amount to breaches of criminal law," Mr Hunter said in his report.

Mr Springborg said he had been frustrated that he couldn't get clear answers to explosive allegations made by Ms Barber and others in The Sunday Mail and The Courier-Mail, which was why he had ordered Mr Hunter's review.

He said he was especially disappointed by lengthy delays following up complaints.

"Yawning gaps in the complaints process remain unresolved in my opinion. Very real cases have been allowed to slip through the cracks." he said.

"These matters are now in the hands of police."

Mr Hunter said some allegations had been outside his terms of reference.

"In others, it was plain that although negligence and errors of judgment had occurred, the practitioner's conduct fell short of amounting to criminal negligence," the report said.

Ms Barber took her allegations of widespread medical malpractice to the CMC last year, prompting a review by former Supreme Court judge Richard Chesterman, QC.

He recommended further investigations of unresolved cases going back five years.

Mr Hunter said he had "cast a wide net" and examined 3318 files, which were whittled down to 703, and then 89. He said in his report that many files were identified that, in the end, did not involve death or serious harm to a patient.

"Many files related to practitioners who had mental health and substance abuse issues, but who were not alleged to have caused any harm to a patient."

Mr Springborg said the accountability of the complaints mechanism was also on trial.


Reforming the welfare state

Andrew Baker

Australia’s federal, state and local governments spent $316 billion on the welfare state in 2010-11 which includes spending on health, education, income support payments and public housing.

Of this spending, about half or $158 billion, can be classified as ‘tax-welfare churn’ – which is the process of levying taxes on people and then returning those taxes to the same people in the form of income support payments and welfare services, simultaneously or over the course of a lifetime.

Compared to other countries, Australia has low levels of churn, however, churn is still a problem as it imposes a number of social and economic costs, including higher taxes, administration and inefficiency costs from a bloated government, rent seeking from lobby groups, government paternalism and increased welfare dependency.

We can do something about the problem of tax-welfare churn in Australia.

In my new report, TARGET30: Tax-welfare churn and the Australian welfare state, I outline the churn problem and provide a number of policy reforms that are not only worthy in their own right, but have the additional benefit of reducing churn.

These reforms target, amongst other things, government support for the aged, family payments and the disability support pension.

Australia’s system of retirement savings needs to be reformed so that more people spend more of their own money for longer on their own retirement, rather than receiving the pension.

Further measures to reduce government expenditure on pensions include: raising and aligning the age pension and preservation ages; including the family home as part of the age pension assets test; and introducing a requirement to use superannuation savings to purchase an annuity.

Family payments like the $4.5 billion a year Family Tax Benefit Part B and the $1.2 billion a year Schoolkids Bonus should be abolished. FTB Part B is a badly targeted payment that goes to families that are clearly not poor and do not need the extra money while the Schoolkids Bonus is of dubious education benefit. Further savings can be found by means testing payments like the Carer Allowance and the Child Care Rebate.

The disability pension needs to be reformed by including activity test and participation requirements for those with a partial capacity to work, in order to maximise the economic benefits of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The current cohort of Disability Support Pension recipients should also be reassessed under tougher eligibility criteria introduced last year.

These are just some of the many ways we can reform the welfare state, cut spending, cut taxes, and empower more people to look after their own welfare, rather than relying on the welfare state.


No comments: