Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Golden Gaytime could be forced to change its name because LGBT community finds it 'offensive'

Australia's popular Golden Gaytime ice cream could be forced to change its name after being slammed by the LGBT community as 'offensive'.

Brian Mc, from Melbourne, launched a petition to replace the name of the 62-year-old treat, prompting a heated battle with owner Streets.

'As a part of the LGBTQIA+ community I believe my sexual identity is owned by me, not a brand and that the outdated meaning no longer applies. Isn't it time for this double entendre to end?' he wrote on the online petition, which has garnered 800 signatures.

'Under the law they are seen the same, discrimination means being treated unfairly or not as well as others because of a protected characteristic like age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, race or disability.

'It's not my place to tell Streets what to call their re-branded product, but I do feel it's time that the Golden Gaytime is called out for being outdated, especially when Streets is releasing new products and cross promotions in 2021.

'Just to be a gay man, even in 2021 is still hard … (we) still have a long way to go to be fully accepted as equals, but if we see an area in life that's not equal, and we are able to change it for the better, why wouldn't you speak up?'

Mr Mc said his aim isn't for the product to be cancelled, but is calling for 'Gay' to be removed from its name.

The ice cream giant issued a statement saying that the first Streets Gaytime was released in Australia was in 1959 'when the word 'gay' had not yet been applied to sexual preference.

'The origin of the Gaytime name was and remains related to having a joyous or happy time and was meant to capture the pleasure that comes with enjoying an ice cream.


Locally produced AstraZeneca ‘single best thing’ as government gives up on international supply

Australia will have no certainty around its vaccine rollout until CSL starts distributing locally produced doses, as European authorities continue to block attempts to export internationally manufactured AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.

The government is also no longer relying on getting any more doses of AstraZeneca from Europe as CSL-Seqirus ramps up to produce 50 million doses throughout the year.

Australia was due to get 3.8 million doses of the European-made AstraZeneca in February, but Health Department secretary Professor Brendan Murphy said neither the company nor Australia knew that supply would be stymied by Europe as the continent battles ongoing coronavirus epidemics.

“It’s not been possible until now to have certainty in planning,” he told a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday morning.

Under questioning from Labor senator Murray Watt, Professor Murphy said early projections of having 4 million people vaccinated by the end of March were based on receiving those AstraZeneca doses, plus international shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

“That was patently unachievable given that we didn’t get those international doses,” he said. “We’ve been working with Europe just about every day to try and get AstraZeneca released. It’s been a huge effort.”

On Tuesday evening, the AstraZeneca vaccine being manufactured by CSL in Victoria passed the final hurdle, after the Therapeutic Goods Administration approved the release of the first four batches - a total of 832,200 doses.

Professor Murphy said securing local vaccine production was “the single best thing we’ve done in this vaccine rollout”.

“Until we had this secure supply, every piece of advice we provide has been indicative,” he said. “Even the Pfizer doses, which have come in, fortunately, on a regular basis, have had a week to week uncertainty about [them].”


Ramping ambulances lose up to 185 hours in day

Ambulances spent up to 185 hours ramped in one day as leaked internal reports further reveal the ramping crisis gripping emergency departments across the state.

The Courier-Mail can reveal paramedics spent 185 hours waiting to offload patients and prepare for their next callout at Ipswich, Sunshine Coast University, Cairns and Gold Coast University hospitals on Sunday.

As the government announced yesterday it was convening talks with stakeholders, 15 ambulances sat ramped at Gold Coast University Hospital and patients brought to the Cairns Hospital via ambulance faced a three-hour wait.

The leaks came as Health Minister Yvette D’Ath defended the under-pressure system, calling on the Commonwealth to find room for almost 600 people who are using public hospitals while waiting to be moved to aged-care and disability facilities.

She said 60 beds were being used by COVID-19 patients while attributing some of the constraint to clearing elective surgery lists that had backed up during the pandemic.

“Emergency departments across the state are seeing significant, sustained and unprecedented demand pressures,” she said.

The 185 hours – referred to as lost QAS “availability” – are calculated from when an ambulance arrives at a hospital with a patient to when it indicates it’s ready to respond to another job.

The government was peppered with ramping questions by the opposition in parliament yesterday, where leader David Crisafulli claimed Labor was losing control of the health system.


Prosecutor tells Senate Estimates they are considering dropping charges against ATO whistleblower Richard Boyle

Prosecutors will decide whether to drop charges against Australian Taxation Office (ATO) whistleblower Richard Boyle within the next week.

On Tuesday night, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Sarah McNaughton, told Senate estimates that the CDPP was considering whether or not it should drop the charges against Mr Boyle, a former debt collection officer at the ATO's Adelaide office.

Mr Boyle is relying on the public interest disclosure defence in pleading not guilty to offences including using a listening device to monitor a private conversation, recording another person's tax file number and disclosing protected information.

A Senate report last year found that ATO did a "superficial" investigation into Mr Boyle's public interest disclosure about the ATO misusing its powers against small businesses.

Blowing the whistle should not destroy your life

A single whistleblowing law and authority to protect those who disclose wrongdoing could boost protections.

On Wednesday night, Ms McNaughton responded to questioning by independent senator Rex Patrick about whether the charges would be dropped.

"We can indicate that we have received materials and that includes a copy of the Senate report," Ms McNaughton said.

"I can also indicate that we have indicated to the court that we will be considering these matters in relation to whether or not the matters should be no-billed (discontinued) within three weeks from the 10th of March.

"We are considering whether or not it should continue, and that decision — we have indicated to the court — we hope to be making by around about the 31st of March, and beyond that I'm really not in a position to comment."

Public servant turned whistleblower

Mr Boyle became a whistleblower in October 2017 when he made an internal public interest disclosure to the ATO.

It was only after the ATO dismissed his internal disclosure about heavy-handed debt collection practices at the Adelaide office branch that Mr Boyle took his claims public via an ABC Four Corners investigation.

The media investigation revealed ATO staff were instructed to use an aggressive debt collection practice known as garnishee notices, which can have an adverse impact on vulnerable individuals and businesses.

Mr Boyle's case is the first major test case of protections available under the Public Interest Disclosure Act (2013).

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) has already reduced the charges against Mr Boyle from 66 to 24.

But if found guilty of each of the alleged offences, Mr Boyle could still face a maximum sentence that means he spends the rest of his life in jail.

A 'huge injustice'

Senator Rex Patrick told ABC News that "a huge injustice would occur if the prosecution were allowed to continue".

"It is not in the public interest to prosecute whistleblowers," he said.

Senator Patrick said the ATO "improperly rejected" Mr Boyle's public interest disclosure.

"At great risk to himself, he [Mr Boyle] then went to the media and the improper conduct was exposed which ultimately caused a stop to the abuse of power," Senator Rex Patrick said.

"Mr Boyle acted courageously in the public interest only to find himself charged and before a court."




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