Friday, May 27, 2016
El Nino over, BoM says, so winter rain could be on the way
A miracle has occurred. The BoM has not blamed anything below on global warming
The latest El Nino cycle is over, which could lead to a wet winter, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM).
The bureau's modelling shows ocean surface temperatures across the tropical Pacific have cooled to neutral levels over the past fortnight. Waters beneath the surface have also cooled.
Forecaster Michael Knepp said conditions were back to neutral and the bureau was now on La Nina watch. During La Nina events, rainfall in winter and spring is above average over northern, central and eastern Australia.
"[There's] a greater than 50 per cent chance that we might be in La Nina conditions later in the year," Mr Knepp said. "That's not a certain thing, just something to keep an eye on over the next few months."
International climate models indicate the tropical Pacific Ocean will continue to cool. Six of eight models suggest La Nina is likely to form during winter.
Mr Knepp said more rainfall could be expected across the region if predictions were correct, but the outlook accuracy at this time of year was low.
El Nino has contributed to drought conditions over the majority of Queensland. Currently, 85 per cent of Queensland is drought declared.
The bureau said almost the entire western half of Victoria was experiencing severe rainfall deficiency. The rainfall deficiency in Tasmania covers much of the state.
Areas of serious to severe deficiency remain through inland Queensland and into northern New South Wales.
Large areas of South Australia and Western Australia are also experiencing serious rainfall deficiency.
Three newborn babies have died and another 167 have been infected by SYPHILIS in Queensland Aboriginal community
Syphilis is endemic in many Aboriginal communities -- mostly spread by rape
Three Aboriginal children have died from congenital syphilis in Queensland's worst outbreak in 30 years.
Since 2015, 167 new cases of congenital syphilis have been diagnosed in North Queensland, prompting Health Minister Cameron Dick to announce on Wednesday a five-year $15.7 million plan to tackle the sexually transmitted disease, according to The Brisbane Times.
Congenital syphilis infects babies when a pregnant woman contracts the disease and passes it along to her child. It can be treated with penicillin if diagnosed early.
The three children who died from the disease didn't receive timely healthcare, according to the Brisbane Times.
The North Queensland's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sexually Transmissible Infections Action Plan will disperse eight new specialists to north Queensland to increase the amount of regular sexual health screenings.
Sexual health education will also be administered in remote areas such as Doomadgee and Kowanyama.
Mr Dick said that he hopes the plan will stabilise the outbreak within five years but the Queensland government has given themselves 18 months to stop the increase in cases.
'This is an unacceptable situation and we need to ensure health services are working with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities,' Mr Dick said.
The plan predicts that some children will continue to die from congenital syphilis will continue until December 2017.
Australia ‘haunted by bureaucratic ghosts’ of Rudd and Gillard, red tape costing $176bn
SHUT it down. Fire them all.
That’s the message from free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, which is calling for Australia’s multitude of quangos, boards, tribunals, commissions, regulators and authorities to be cleansed with fire.
In a new report, The Red Tape State, the IPA estimates that 444 government bodies established by the Rudd and Gillard governments continue to exist, of which a staggering 198 are involved in imposing red tape on various industries.
To put that into context, there are roughly 1181 Commonwealth entities and bodies, 497 of which are involved in policy design or enforcement of the federal regulatory system.
In other words, 40 per cent of the various bodies responsible for enforcing red tape were created under Labor.
From the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and Safe Work Australia to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, a large number “impose substantial compliance and other costs upon the Australian economy”, the report says.
The think tank has previously estimated the cost of red tape at $176 billion annually.
However, the union representing more than 55,000 public sector workers has slammed the findings, saying corporate scandals at the 7-Eleven and the big banks highlighted the need for effective regulation.
In The Red Tape State, the IPA identifies 31 federal government bodies established under the Rudd and Gillard governments that should “at the very least” be done away with immediately.
Their functions should either be handed back to the states, merged with existing agencies or abolished altogether, saving at least $203 million, the report says.
The majority fall under the health and education portfolios.
They include 14 national health occupational licensing boards such as the Optometry, Dental and Pharmacy Boards, and education bodies including the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator.
The IPA recommends six be abolished completely — the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Clean Energy Regulator, Climate Change Authority, Anti-Dumping Commission and Anti-Dumping Review Panel.
In the case of the Anti-Dumping bodies, the IPA argues that “regulated prevention of cheaper imports into Australia harms consumers and producers”.
Together the 31 bodies employ around 900 people.
“As was the case with the now abolished Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, agencies like the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, Safe Work Australia and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency do nothing but impose excessive and unnecessary red tape on the Australian economy,” IPA senior fellow Mikayla Novak said.
The Rudd-Gillard government saw the biggest expansion of government bodies in the Finance portfolio, where the department had the ironic title of the Department of Finance and Deregulation, she said.
“Bill Shorten’s expansion of red tape bureaucracies would be a handbrake on economic growth and hurt Australia’s international competitiveness.”
The IPA is calling on either a re-elected Turnbull government or Shorten opposition to redouble efforts to abolish public sector red-tape regulators.
Canberra red tape costs $176 billion a year. Picture: Kym Smith
Canberra red tape costs $176 billion a year. Picture: Kym SmithSource:News Limited
Since the 2013 election the government has abolished or scheduled for abolition some 286 federal bodies, some of which were created under Labor and others under previous governments.
A lack of co-operation in the Senate and other political considerations means several Rudd-Gillard-era regulators previously slated for abolition remain in existence — most notably the Australian Charities and Not For Profits Commission, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.
Earlier this year, the WGEA introduced strengthened mandatory reporting for companies about how they treat new mothers, despite earlier promises from the Abbott government that there would be no extension of reporting requirements for businesses.
“The federal government has been incurring budget deficits for almost a decade, while it is well known that regulatory growth has imposed significant compliance and economic costs upon Australian businesses and individuals,” the report says.
“As this paper indicates, at the very least there is the prospect that the Commonwealth can abolish 31 regulatory bodies immediately yielding a win-win of aiding the budget and economy at the same time.”
Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood said “unlike the IPA, Australians are far more concerned that the Commonwealth government provides effective regulation”.
“This has been highlighted by growing community concern about multinational corporations paying little or no tax while the Abbott-Turnbull Government has cut over 4000 jobs at the Tax Office,” she said.
“Recent scandals in the banking sector and 7-Eleven show how important it is to have adequately resourced regulatory agencies on the beat to stop dodgy corporations exploiting customers and employees.”
In 2013, the IPA released a similar report highlighting potential savings of $23.5 billion through cuts including slashing foreign aid, abolishing the Human Rights Commission and sacking around 24,000 public servants across 14 departments.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the government had saved $1.5 billion since 2013 by abolishing or merging more than 200 bodies.
“We continue to explore further opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government administration,” she said.
“On top of this, we are saving about $2.7 billion by making the largest departments leaner by removing redundant functions and merging back office areas. Over the next four years we expect to save another $1.4 billion from a new efficiency drive and $200 million by rationalising property leases.
“The Coalition has been successfully implementing our Smaller Government Reform agenda to ensure the public sector is as streamlined, efficient and effective as possible.
“Our reforms are delivering greater value to taxpayers through better services delivered faster and at a lower cost.”
RED TAPE REGULATORS PROPOSED FOR ABOLITION
* Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority
* National Vocational Education and Training Regulator
* Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency
* Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority
* Safe Work Australia
* Workplace Gender Equality Agency
* Australian Renewable Energy Agency
* Clean Energy Regulator
* Climate Change Authority
* Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority
* Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Advisory Council
* Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
* National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner
* Dental Board of Australia
* Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
* Occupational Therapy Board of Australia
* Optometry Board of Australia
* Osteopathy Board of Australia
* Pharmacy Board of Australia
* Physiotherapy Board of Australia
* Podiatry Board of Australia
* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia
* Chinese Medicine Board of Australia
* Chiropractic Board of Australia
* Medical Board of Australia
* Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia
* Psychology Board of Australia
* Anti-Dumping Commission
* Anti-Dumping Review Panel
* Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission
* Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission Advisory Board
TOTAL SAVING: $203 million
Social justice warriors perpetuate poverty
The reactions on the Left to the revelations about Duncan Storrar's past after his controversial appearance on Q&A last week have been predictably misguided.
News Limited publications -- The Australian and the Herald-Sun -- have been accused of engaging in vicious class warfare by seeking to discredit a person who had the temerity to question the right of wealthy people to receive tax cuts.
What was actually being questioned -- by a range of commentators including by myself -- was the simplistic explanation for social inequality given by the ABC.
If only poverty was simply a matter of money, rather than a matter of morals and manners -- the behavioral norms around education, work, and family life that account for different outcomes in life.
Nevertheless, those who try to unpick the complex causes of poverty have been accused of 'punching down'. We are vicious neo-liberals without social consciences who only care about keeping our own money in our own pockets.
Such caricatures are the standard stuff of political rhetoric, but should not be allowed to pass unchallenged.
Sure, I resent having to hand over a higher proportion than I should have to so that some people can lean on others rather than do their own lifting.
But the motivations that drive my interest in the underclass -- and especially the welfare of underclass children -- are more complex than this.
It may be my migrant heritage, but I like to believe Australia represents a new dispensation. This is a place where anyone, from any background, can make a go of life and rise up as far as their talents and efforts allow.
The existence in this country of a growing underclass that is trapped in intergenerational dependence and dysfunction offends my sense of the fair go.
The desire to right so terrible a social wrong is also entirely consistent with true classical liberal principles, which are founded in belief in equality of opportunity and in maximising the human potential of every individual.
I -- along with many other Australian taxpayers -- am sick of being lectured to about the need to address social inequality by spending more on welfare, which will only perpetuate the problem.
If people really want to eradicate poverty, the path is outlined in my book. And they should support the adoption of underclass children by functional families so as to give the most deprived children in the community a better chance of climbing off the lowest rungs of society.
Adam Salter shooting: Police agreed to lie about what happened, court hears
Adam Salter died after being shot by a policewoman in 2009. Four police officers at the scene when a man with a mental illness was shot dead "got their heads together" and agreed to lie about what happened, a Sydney court has heard.
In 2009, Adam Salter died after being shot in the back in a Lakemba home.
His father, Adrian Salter had called triple-0 seeking help for his 36-year-old son, who was bleeding in the kitchen after stabbing himself.
Four officers who were called to the scene are on trial, accused of lying to the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) about what happened on the day.
Crown prosecutor Nanette Williams told the court the four officers - Sheree Bissett, Aaron Abela, Emily Metcalfe and Leah Wilson - deliberately gave false evidence to the PIC when questioned under oath in 2012.
"It is the crown's case that sometime after the shooting - perhaps even immediately after, they got their heads together and agreed to give a false account of what happened," she said.
The court heard Adam Salter managed to get hold of the knife for a second time even when the paramedics had arrived, and began stabbing himself again.
All four officers claim that one of them, Constable Aaron Abela tried to restrain Adam Salter before another officer - Sergeant Sheree Bissett - shot the victim.
"[Aaron Abela said] he attempted to restrain Adam Salter by grabbing his arm, but his arm slipped because it was covered in blood," Prosecutor Nanette Williams said.
"The crown's case is that this evidence is false, and that he knew it to be false."
The court heard Sergeant Sheree Bissett shouted "Taser, Taser!" but then fired her gun, shooting Adam Salter in the back while he was stabbing himself in the neck.
Adam Salter's father Adrian was the first witness to give evidence in the trial. He said when he heard a female officer shout "Taser" and saw his son fall to the ground, he was relieved because he thought his son had been Tasered, not shot.
"I thought 'that's OK' because he was sticking the knife in his [own] throat," Adrian Salter said. "I then went to him and pulled his hand away - the hand that was holding the knife and he went limp."
Adam Salter was taken to Canterbury Hospital but he died shortly afterwards.
The trial is being heard by a judge only - Justice Greg Woods.
Earlier, tape recordings of calls made on the police radio system were played to the court.
In one, a female officer is heard explaining a man with a self-inflicted stab wound had been shot. "Just confirming he's been shot by police?" the man taking the call asks. The female officer is heard confirming that, and then adds "he was coming at us with a knife".
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here