Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Is Australia on a slippery slope towards a form of voluntary apartheid? How the roll out of Aboriginal-only services is driving a dangerous racial wedge between the indigenous and rest of the country

The roll out of Aboriginal-only services, relentless attacks on 'white privilege' and a national push for separate indigenous governance are 'driving a dangerous racial wedge' between Australia's many cultures.

High-profile indigenous leaders and public affairs experts warn there has been a deliberate move over the past decade to divide the public over race.

Recent incidents have even led to claims Australia is headed for its own version of South Africa's 'apartheid', a despised system of racial segregation abolished in 1993.

The uproar has been fuelled by moves such as a new code of conduct for Queensland nurses - which requires them to 'acknowledge their white privilege' before treating indigenous patients - and the roll out of Aboriginal-only waiting rooms in NSW hospitals.

Health is not the only area where efforts have been made to segregate Aboriginals from the rest of Australia, with similarly divisive measures advocated across education, the courts and even parliament.

Such moves were described as being a throwback to '1950s racism' - the beginning of apartheid - by federal senator David Leyonhjelm and commentators Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones.

Former politician and outspoken Aboriginal leader Warren Mundine worries racial tension is being deliberately stoked by 'inner-city folk' at the expense of the real needs of the wider indigenous community.

'I think apartheid is a bit of hyperbole... but I do see some dangerous trends, that is for sure,' he said. 'You see the marches and 90 per cent of those people aren't Aboriginal. It's only the inner-city folk in Sydney and Melbourne who are now shouting louder than ever.'

Mr Mundine slammed the notion of white privilege and the unnecessary push to change the date of Australia Day, which is increasingly referred to by critics as Invasion Day.

As well as Queensland nurses being told to acknowledge their white privilege, guidelines have been introduced across NSW requiring 'culturally appropriate' waiting rooms be set aside for Aboriginal patients.

But Mr Mundine said putting Aboriginal artwork in special waiting rooms would make little difference to indigenous Australians. 'You can put up nice artwork and do whatever you like, but it will not change until you get the proper services in place,' he said.

'I think it's a bit of overkill to just say let's set up separate rooms, it's more about what the reasons are for why Aboriginal people can't get proper health services.'

Simon Breheny, the director of policy for the Institute for Public Affairs, says there has been a concerted move to divide the Australian public over race, led by politicians.

'I think there is a growing movement to divide people on the basis of race and I think it's happening in a very large number of areas, from education to corporate work,' Mr Breheny said.

An independent indigenous parliament - a move that has been supported by Labor - is just one attempt to divide the country, they claim.

While Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently knocked back the idea, Aboriginal groups in some parts of the country are pushing ahead regardless. The Yidindji Nation, a tribe outside of Cairns, has already appointed a prime minister and foreign minister, a move Mr Mundine disagrees with.

'We already have a parliament and it's in Canberra. And at the moment we have a record number of indigenous members representing us,' he said.

In 2016, Queensland University of Technology quarantined a computer room just for Aboriginal students. When a student complained he was forced to front the Human Rights Commission.

Even at the national broadcaster, ABC boss Michelle Guthrie has admitted 'being Aboriginal' is enough of a qualification to apply for a job with the corporation. As part of its Reconciliation Action Plan the ABC reserves three per cent of jobs for Aboriginal people.

New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia have long had courts to deal specifically with some Aboriginal cases, but  a recent report by the Australian Law Reform Commission proposed a new race-based legal system acknowledging the 'unique systemic and background factors affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples'.

Sites sacred to the Aboriginal people are also being closed to climbers, starting with the world famous Uluru.

Also on the chopping block are St Mary Peak in South Australia, Mount Warning in NSW and the Glass House mountains in Queensland.

Numerous local municipalities have also moved in recent years to change the date of Australia Day away from the national public holiday on January 26.

Fremantle Council was the first to make the move in 2017, followed by three councils in Melbourne and The City of Darwin.

But issues such as Australia Day, law reform and separate hospital waiting rooms are not what is important to Aboriginal people, according to Mr Mundine.

'I think a lot of it is being blown up bigger than what it is. About Australia Day, in The Outback communities no one is talking about it,' he said.  'The main conversations are about how can we get jobs, how do we get our kids into school - just normal mundane things of life. It's only talked about in the inner cities.

Mr Breheny said there had been a clear attempt to divide Australia over race during the past decade.

'I think this is the end point of identity politics... and it looks very much like the worst parts of Apartheid and systems based on separation,' he said.

'That's certainly not to say Australia is an apartheid country, that is an absurd thing to say, but it doesn't even need to get to that point for there to be controversy.

'There has been an explosion of identity politics in the last ten years. We are seeing it in relation to presenters on the ABC, subjects at university, even to politics.

'I think it goes hand-in-hand with what we saw at Qantas where you can't talk about mums and dads anymore, and you can't call people "love" or "darl". 'Who knows what is next?'


Tickets for Bondi Beach, two year wait for childcare, gridlocked roads and packed trains: Sydney set to house another 7.5MILLION people by 2046 - but is the city already full?

Sydney's population is expected to hit 7.4 million by 2046, but with overcrowded schools, roads and beaches, residents are wondering if the city is already full.

Australia's largest city has added almost 1 million people since 2000, putting outdated infrastructure under strain.

In March former New South Wales premier Bob Carr warned that visitors to Bondi may soon need to buy tickets and pass through turnstiles to get onto the sand.

Exasperated parents are struggling to find spaces in public schools, and year-long waiting lists for daycare centres have become the norm in the city's east.

Meanwhile on Sydney's freeways, drivers have seen commute times balloon due to an increasing number of cars on the road.

Public transport users fare no better, subjected to dangerously overcrowded train platforms, packed carriages and timetabling nightmares that last for days.

Shoppers too face new challenges, fighting for baby formula on shelves which empty almost instantly, and being forced to stand in line to get into designer boutiques.

Worse is predicted in years to come, as population densities rise due to a boom in apartment construction and high levels of immigration.

Only Sydney's nightlife seems immune to population pressure, thanks to the city's restrictive lockout laws.

The once-thriving entertainment precinct of Kings Cross empties out by midnight and iconic pubs like the Bourbon are a shadow of their former selves.

Even The Star casino, which mysteriously managed to avoid the same restrictions applied to other establishments, is seeing fewer punters.

Anyone who has attempted a weekend trip to Sydney's world famous beaches in recent summers would have found them packed with locals and tourists.

Bondi Beach is now so crowded plans have been floated to sell tickets and install turnstiles to limit access.

'Do you have fences and turnstiles around Bondi, for example, when the population reaches the sort of intensified level that means the roads are choked most days in summer?,' asked Mr Carr earlier this year.

'Do you start to ration access to the coastal path - fences, turnstiles, online ticketing?'

On the other side of the harbour, ferries packed to capacity on weekends deliver thousands of people every hour to Manly Beach, voted Australia's best.

Even beaches which were relatively unknown in previous years - locals' favourites like Freshwater and Tamarama - are now overrun by crowds of sunbathers.

Forests of new apartment buildings dotted all over Sydney have resulted in skyrocketing population densities in some pockets of the city.

More people means more demand for public services, and fiercer competition for places in public schools.

In many areas of Sydney, including some of the most sought-after suburbs, schools have been swamped by rising enrolments.

At one school in the leafy north shore suburb of Chatswood, there are 60 girls for every toilet stall, leading to queues at lunchtime and recess.

Students at Chatswood Public School are now forced to use the playground in shifts, as over 1200 students cram into premises built for 800.

The situation in the inner city and inner west an influx of young families is making planners regret closing and rezoning schools in previous decades.

Even in Sydney's west, where infrastructure was designed for growth, schools are running out of capacity.

Camden saw the city's largest increase in enrolments - 2.6 times the Sydney average - closely followed by Strathfield, Holroyd and Parramatta.

Planners are scrambling to provide enough road space for the record number of new cars on the road, but it may be too little too late to cope with the population boom.

The WestConnex, a 33-kilometre motorway project now under construction, will link a number of Sydney's major arterial roads.

However, there are doubts the new scheme will be able to keep pace with the city's growing population.

Commuters have seen the trip from Coogee to the CBD double from 20 minutes to over 40, and traffic on the Eastern Distributor regularly comes to a standstill.

The Great Western Highway, King Street and Enmore Road, William Street, South Dowling Street and Cleveland Street are all a nightmare for motorists.

Drivers who are sick of sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic may be tempted to trade in their car for an Opal card, but the rail network is arguably worse than the roads.

Long-suffering train users have endured a series of nightmarish commutes since Transport NSW implemented their new timetable in November.

Earlier in the year passengers saw nine-hour delays and cascading cancellations that paralysed the entire network three days in row.

Compared to the meteoric price rises of the previous two years, Sydney's housing market has slightly negative growth in the first months of the year.

Despite cooling sales numbers, and fears the city's apartment glut could crash the housing market, competition for rental properties remains fierce.

Businessman Dick Smith warned of an end to the Australian way of life if the country continued to accept more than 200,000 immigrants a year. 'You're jammed like a termite in a high-rise, or I say battery chooks,' Mr Smith told Four Corners last month.

At inner city supermarkets parking lots are permanently full, and popular locations like Woolworths and Coles in Potts Point routinely run out of shopping baskets.


Lure teachers to the bush with extra cash and nice houses, government advised

Teachers "at the top of their game" would be lured from the city to the bush with extra cash, nice houses and a guaranteed right of return under a plan to improve student results in Australia's regional schools.

A lengthy review of regional education has urged the federal government to offer more incentives for established teachers to do a stint outside the city, and to break down the stigma around the bush as a place for teachers to work.

Teachers should also be given an "absolute, rock-solid guarantee" they can return to their original school, said the report's author, education professor and former teacher John Halsey.

He pointed to models used in mining and engineering industries to lure staff to regional areas by offering "very nice housing", and flying staff and their families free-of-charge to inspect their would-be homes.

A 34-year-old teacher moving to an isolated area does not want to share a house with strangers, Professor Halsey said. And people's enthusiasm about working in rural areas was often "drained away every day after work by complaints and disappointments about the quality of housing" from family members. "It's just a fact of life," Professor Halsey told Fairfax Media. "Housing and conditions in some locations - and in some more than others - is a major issue."

The report also recommended teachers be lured with "targeted salary and conditions packages" and a guarantee they can return to their original post, not just any school.

"If you're prepared to go to Broken Hill and you've come out of the green leafies in Sydney, being told you can return to greater metropolitan Sydney is not going to cut it," Professor Halsey said.

The Turnbull government commissioned the review last year in a bid to improve lagging results for country students compared to their city counterparts. The report, presented to education ministers on Friday, also recommended making the national curriculum more relevant to regional and remote students.

"The achievements of [country] students have in the main lagged behind urban students for decades," Professor Halsey wrote. "This has to be turned around in the shortest time possible."

The report acknowledged the drawback in luring teachers to the bush temporarily was that turnover would remain high. But it was still desirable to get more teachers "at the top of their game" into regional schools.

Beginner teachers were often seen as "an important [but] over-represented" component of staff in regional schools, Professor Halsey said. "Experience does count for something and accounts in some instances for a lot," he said.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said there was "no silver bullet" to fixing inequities in regional education but he would examine the recommendations and respond


Flesh-eating ulcer common in Africa spreading rapidly in Australia

A severe tissue-destroying ulcer once rare in Australia is rapidly spreading and is now at epidemic proportions in regions of Victoria, prompting infectious diseases experts to call for urgent research into how it is contracted and spread.

In an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) on Monday, authors led by associate professor Daniel O’Brien from Barwon Health said incidents of Buruli ulcer were on the rise but researchers were baffled as to why Victoria was being particularly affected. [Lots of Africans there?] There have been no reported cases in New South Wales, South Australia or Tasmania.

In 2016, there were 182 new cases of the ulcer in Victoria – the highest ever reported by 72%, O’Brien said. But he added that cases reported until 11 November 2017 had further increased by 51% compared with the same period in 2016, from 156 cases to 236 cases.

“Despite being recognised in Victoria since 1948, efforts to control the disease have been severely hampered because the environmental reservoir and mode of transmission to humans remain unknown,” O’Brien said. “It is difficult to prevent a disease when it is not known how infection is acquired.”

The first sign of infection is usually a painless lump on the skin often dismissed as an insect bite. The slow-moving infection then burrows into a layer of fat located between the skin and the lining that covers muscles. It is in this fatty layer that the infection takes hold, spreading sideways and through the body, destroying tissue along the way, before eventually erupting back through the skin in the form of an ulcer. Those with the infection often have no idea the infection has taken hold until the ulcer appears. But when the ulcer does erupt, the pain can be extreme.

Anyone is susceptible. While the infection responds to a roughly eight-week course of antibiotics, in rare cases surgery to remove skin or even amputation is needed.

Prof Paul Johnson is an internationally renowned Buruli ulcer expert and has been studying the infection since 1993. He led the development of a highly-accurate diagnostic test for the bacteria that causes the disease and is now based at Austin Health in Victoria, where he is trying to understand why the infection is most common on the coastal Bellarine and Mornington peninsulas.

This has confused researchers because the disease is most often associated with swampland areas in tropical countries and it is found at the greatest frequency in Africa. Cases are also becoming more severe.

“It seems to occur in very specific areas of Victoria,” Johnson said. “If you don’t enter an endemic area, you don’t get the disease. But what is it about the area that contains it, and what happens to you that means you pick the disease up from that area? Those are the big questions we’ve been asking.”

He also said the infection had a “very odd” distribution. “When you enter an endemic area, it looks the same as the area you just left,” he said.

Johnson believes it is most likely the bacteria that causes the ulcer, Mycobacterium ulcerans, is being spread by mosquitos and possums. His research team caught a large number of mosquitos in affected areas and found a small proportion did carry the bacteria.

They then found ringtail possums in affected areas excreted the bacteria in their faeces.

“Our hypothesis is really that this is a disease of possums,” he said. “It sweeps through possums and contaminates the local environment through their poo including contaminating mosquitos, and people are picking it up predominately from biting insects, and maybe directly from possums.”

There could be other modes of transmission though, he said, and he said researchers did not know how possums contracted and spread the disease. Johnson said that unlike malaria, which is rapidly spread by mosquitos, transmission of Mycobacterium ulcerans appeared to be more inefficient.

The authors of the MJA article called for urgent government funding to research the bacteria and to carry out an exhaustive examination of the environments it is found, including looking at local animals and any interaction with people.

“The time to act is now,” the authors wrote.

Johnson agreed but added there were some precautions people in affected areas could take such as avoiding mosquito bites, cleaning and covering any cuts sustained outdoors, and going to the doctor if they had any concerns.


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

1 comment:

PB said...

"and you can't call people "love" or "darl"..."

And when did that become acceptable in the first place??