Friday, November 04, 2016
Irresponsible peddlers of a Green/Left scare story get their just desserts
Fronted by Maryanne Demasi, the ABC "Catalyst" program aired a scare story saying that mobile phones and Wi-Fi caused health impacts including brain tumours. That caused an immediate outcry from the scientific community who know the evidence on such a hoary old nonsense.
The Catalyst staff should have known better. The effect of electromagnetic radiation on health has been a big boogeyman for many years but the contrary evidence is huge. Notably: From the early days of mobile phones until now there has been no upsurge in brain cancer. Now that mobiles are very widely used, we should be swimming in brain cancer cases by now. But we are not. High or low levels of mobile phone use and the resultant radiation makes no difference. It's all just attention-seekers big-noting themselves
Staff on the ABC’s Catalyst program staff have been told by the ABC’s director of television Richard Finlayson that they will all be made redundant.
In a meeting at Ultimo attended by TV management and human resources the presenters and producers were told the magazine style program was ending.
A last-minute bid by senior ABC staff on Wednesday to overturn the board’s decision to axe Catalyst failed, sources told Guardian Australia.
The board had been presented with reasons why the ABC should continue to cover science properly with an in-house science unit.
An internal review after Catalyst presenter Maryanne Demasi’s Wi-Fried? program was found to have breached the ABC’s impartiality guidelines recommended the program be axed and Demasi and all the other staff be made redundant.
Finlayson told staff that nine people will lose their jobs and that the changes to Catalyst were not driven by the Demasi incident alone.
“For 2017, Catalyst will move from the current half-hour, magazine-style program structure to a one-hour documentary format, focused on high-impact, single-issue programs or series,” he said.
“It will be presented by leading science experts, chosen for the various programs. This shift will align Catalyst with world’s best practice for science programming. An embedded digital capability will deliver short-form content around each program and throughout the year to increase the ABC’s digital science offering on ABC and third party social platforms.
“Finally, we must recognise that Catalyst and its team have served our audiences and the science community well for many years. However, we need to do what we believe is best for audiences, and that means adjusting our approach to best meet their needs and the realities of a changing market. We will work closely with those staff impacted by these changes to ensure they are treated respectfully throughout this transition.”
Under the baord’s plan the award-winning program will be replaced by 17 one-hour science specials, mainly from the independent production sector, commissioned by new staff the ABC is going to hire.
The ABC staff union, the Community and Public Sector Union, was holding meetings with management and staff on Thursday morning.
A letter from the ABC section secretary, Sinddy Ealy, to management fell on deaf ears.
“Catalyst fills a unique and important place in Australian science journalism and we share concerns that a longer-format replacement would mean important and exciting scientific work was ignored,” Ealy said.
“It would be a huge disservice to the Australian public if the ABC’s strategy is to intentionally dumb down specialist content in favour of ratings.
“The changing media landscape means the importance of ABC’s specialist content has never been greater. We recognise that ABC should review its programs regularly, but they also need to ensure that quality specialist content and the staff behind that content are retained.”
Senior ABC program makers warned that ditching the weekly half-hour program and disbanding the science unit would lead to a dumbing down of science programming and in effect kill off Australian science on television.
Demasi has been on leave since a review of her Wi-Fried? program – which linked Wi-Fi and mobile phones with health risks including brain cancer – was found to have breached the ABC’s impartiality guidelines.
The discredited program was the second Catalyst story by Demasi to be found in breach of the ABC’s editorial policies and to be removed from the website. In 2013 Demasi kept her job despite an editorial breach for a program about statins.
Black girl raped at Townsville boarding school -- maybe
Interesting that the girl didn't tell her parents about it. And some of the allegations have already been shown to be false. I suspect it is only the racial aspect that has brought this case forward. The Left find racists under every bed. Note that the testimony has not been tested in a court of law.
THE parents of a women allegedly raped at an indigenous boarding school in Townsville when she was 14, have told a royal commission they believe the school tried to cover up the attack on their daughter.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is hearing evidence about an alleged sexual assault that took place at Shalom Christian College in Townsville in 2006.
The victim’s mother broke down this morning in the witness box, as she recalled the attack on her daughter and the long-term psychological consequences it has had on her family.
The woman, known to the commission as EAL, said she sent her daughter to the Townsville-based boarding school for indigenous students because she felt inclined to trust a school established to educate Aboriginal children.
“I thought Shalom would be more culturally appropriate than the other boarding schools around, so we decided to put our faith in Shalom and enrol her there,” she said.
But ELM told the royal commission that in late March 2006, she received a call, informing her that her daughter, a student in Year 10 known as CLF, had been raped.
She later learned four male boarders were involved in the alleged sexual assault which took place behind the back of the school.
The mother said she arrived at the Townsville school with her husband days later and met with the school’s then principal Christopher Shirley.
“From the moment (Mr) Shirley opened his mouth it seemed like he was trying to paint a picture of our daughter, that she was asking for what those boys did to her,” ELM said.
The mother told the royal commission that she believed the police had only found out about the rape of her daughter because they had attended the school on an unrelated matter.
She accused Mr Shirley of treating her and her husband like they were “dumb black people”.
“(Mr) Shirley told us the boys who assaulted CLF were from influential families in Townsville, my response was ‘so what’? My daughter has been raped by their sons,” she said.
The woman’s husband, known to the commission as EAM, said he formed the view that Mr Shirley wanted the matter swept under the rug, and discouraged the couple from taking it any further.
“Shirley made it crystal clear he wanted the matter covered up,” the father said.
But school counsellor Amy Bridson told the royal commission that Mr Shirley made a report about the sexual assault to both child protection authorities and to the police.
Ms Bridson said a meeting was arranged between police and the teenage victim, but it was cancelled at the request of the parents.
“It seemed off to me, it felt like they didn’t want us to report it, and I was very upset and confused about that,” Ms Bridson said.
The girl’s parents told the commission the police interviewewas delayed because they wanted to be there with their daughter and ensure a female officer or an indigenous liaison officer was present.
The mother said she also requested a meeting with the school’s board of directors, but quickly felt like they were just offering lip service to the distraught parents.
“The board was in damage control, they said they couldn’t do much because there was a police investigation, it felt like they weren’t taking any responsibility for what happened to our CLF,” she said.
Hazelwood power station closure: Electricity bills could rise 8pc, Victorian Government modelling shows
A Greenie triumph. They have been agitating to achieve this shut-down for a long time. Why? Because it is Victoria's "dirtiest" power station. But Greenie dirt is different. In this case the dirt is an invisible, tasteless and odorless gas that our bodies create all the time up until our death: CO2
Household power bills could increase by between 4 and 8 per cent following the closure of the Hazelwood power station, modelling released by the Victorian Government shows.
Hazelwood's majority French owner, ENGIE, is tomorrow expected to announce the plant will close in March next year.
Hazelwood generates up to a quarter of Victoria's energy supply, and the loss of its cheap, brown-coal fired electricity would push up power prices.
The ABC has obtained government-commissioned modelling that estimated the average residential power bill would rise by about 4 per cent in 2017, or $44 a year.
That's the equivalent of 85 cents a week.
The analysis, by Carbon + Energy Markets, is based on futures market wholesale price projections.
However a separate analysis based on assumptions by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, predicted the average household bill would remain unchanged in 2017, then rise by about 8 per cent in 2018, or $86 a year. That's the equivalent of $1.65 a week.
"The reality will be that if Hazelwood closes there will be an impact on electricity pricing," Treasurer Tim Pallas said.
"How much that will be we'll need to continue to monitor."
However Mr Pallas said the closure of Hazelwood would not jeopardise Victoria's energy security.
With continued questions about the future of the Hazelwood power station, the next generation has its eyes set on renewable energy.
"We have been given absolute assurances that there is more than enough energy in the network to sustain and support the community's energy needs," he said.
Shadow Treasurer Michael O'Brien disagreed.
"Put it this way. Hazelwood provides 25 per cent of our electricity needs," he said. "If you're sitting on a four-legged chair and one leg falls off, it's not going to stay upright for very long."
Mr O'Brien quoted analysis by Frontier Economics which forecast retail prices for Victorian householders would increase by up to 25 per cent immediately after a Hazelwood shut down.
The closure of Hazelwood would cost about 800 jobs in the Latrobe Valley, which already has a high unemployment rate.
You can trust the government with your information
Not when an error as simple as hitting CC can spew out heaps of personal details. More proof that the last census was dangerous to privacy
Centrelink has apologised to hundreds of users of the myGov web portal after their contact details were shared with hundreds of strangers – twice.
The latest federal government data breach is being blamed on a rookie email error, someone at the giant Department of Human Services hitting the CC button on an email instead of the BCC button.
When the department realised it had disclosed the email contact details of hundreds of its customers on October 24, it tried to recall the email containing the information, but only succeeded in sending it again.
Despite the blunder, Human Services' service delivery boss Darren Box insists that myGov is the best way for millions of Australians to manage their dealings with the federal government.
Mr Box says that no myGov passwords or other potentially compromising material was disclosed by the blunder.
The email addresses that were made public belonged to clients who had been locked out of their account, a frequent occurrence, and asked for replacement passwords.
One user from regional NSW who did not wish to be identified, told Fairfax she was astonished to find eight pages of email addresses attached to what should have been a routine email from Human Services and to realise her own contact details had been shared.
"Privacy? Sent by their IT department," the woman told Fairfax.
"The mind boggles.
"Just another mess from this department supposedly there to assist people."
On the day after the leak, Mr Box wrote to hundreds of myGov customers apologising for the "administrative error".
"As a result of an administrative error, your email address was unintentionally sent using the Carbon Copy (CC) rather than the Blind Copy (BCC) function in an email to a number of other individuals who had also requested to create a new myGov account," Mr Box wrote
"This meant that your email address was unintentionally disclosed to the other individuals to whom the email was sent.
"In an attempt to recall this email, regrettably, your email address was disclosed to these same recipients a second time.
"I sincerely apologise for any distress that may have been caused as a result of this incident.
"Please know that your myGov and linked member service information remains secure and has not been impacted by this administrative error.
"The department takes its privacy obligations very seriously and is implementing steps to ensure this does not happen again."
Same-sex couples and single people are now allowed to adopt children in Queensland
Laws allowing same-sex couples and other previously-excluded groups to adopt children in Queensland have passed in the state parliament.
The changes, which were debated late on Wednesday night, will broaden the pool of potential adoptive parents to also include single people and those undergoing fertility treatment.
Same-sex couples are able to adopt children elsewhere in Australia, apart from in Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
'While Queensland may not be the first to break down this barrier, I am determined we will not be the last,' she said.
But Ros Bates, the Liberal National Party's child safety spokeswoman, opposed the eligibility expansion citing an insufficient demand for adoption in Queensland.
'Any expansion of the right to adopt to single people and same-sex couples will do nothing but create an unrealistic expectation amongst those Queenslanders that they will have an easy access to adoption,' she said.
Ms Bates said in 2015/16 there were only 21 Queensland adoption orders finalised, while the relevant department received less then 10 expression of interest applications for local adoptions per
'Adoption is not about appeasing someone wanting to adopt, but finding a child the best home in which to grow up happy and healthy,' she said.
Ms Bates said the bill had been rushed through the committee stage, despite a six-month consultation period described as 'extensive' by Ms Fentiman.
The LNP and two Katter's Australian Party MPs voted against the changes, leading to a heated interjection from Deputy Premier Jackie Trad. 'Disgraceful,' she said. 'Bigots.'
Ms Trad was forced to withdraw the comment after LNP MP Trevor Watts took offence.
The laws passed with the support of Speaker Peter Wellington and Independent MPs Rob Pyne and Billy Gordon.
Labour MP Grace Grace, the mother of an adopted daughter, also supported the new bill. Ms Grace said who have shown desire and capabilities of raising a child should be encouraged to adopt, in a report by The Courier Mail.
'That's exactly what I have done as the mother of a beautiful, wonderful and absolutely loved adopted daughter and it's what many other Queenslanders want to do but they are being held back from doing this under our current laws and that must change.'
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