Monday, August 21, 2006

Another crooked overseas doctor found in a Queensland government hospital

Labor was embroiled in a new health scandal with revelations that a grandmother died after an overseas-trained doctor failed to treat her properly. Lillian Shaw, 67, died last year in Lowood, west of Ipswich, after Indian-trained GP Dr Jaideep Bali failed to diagnose a perforated stomach ulcer despite visiting her three times in 36 hours. A coronial inquest also found Dr Bali had given the mother-of-seven a potentially fatal injection of morphine 2« hours before she died, and later tried to cover it up.

Mrs Shaw's family and the Coalition yesterday said the Beattie Government had to share responsibility for the tragedy. "It's another Dr Death," said Mrs Shaw's son Karhl Earnshaw. "It goes all the way up to the Beattie Government and the Health Minister. "To say we are furious would be an understatement. If you knew the agony we've been through over the last 18 months . . ."

Mrs Shaw died on the evening of January 13, 2005, two days after she began suffering abdominal pain and vomiting. She was visited at her home in Lowood three times in 36 hours by Dr Bali, a GP from the Lowood Medical Centre. Mrs Shaw's husband, Ian - described by the coroner as "an impressive and intelligent witness" - said the doctor did not examine his wife during any of the visits.

The inquest heard that Dr Bali did not make any record of having administered morphine during his last house call and continued to tell Mrs Shaw's family for some months that he had not done so.

Coroner Matthew McLaughlin concluded that Dr Bali was not a reliable witness and said he strongly suspected the GP had "deliberately been untruthful" and, initially at least, did his best to conceal the fact he had given Mrs Shaw morphine.

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said tragedies such as Mrs Shaw's death were "the Beattie Government's real record on health". He said: "The Government has run the health system down so much they have driven away Australian-trained doctors and are desperate to fill the void by giving substandard people licences to practise." Health Minister Stephen Robertson said he had directed Queensland Health to forward the coroner's report to the Medical Board for immediate assessment.


That wicked sugar and salt again

Alarming amounts of sugar and salt are being added to breakfast cereals, new tests reveal. Food experts have found five popular cereals contain more than 30 per cent sugar, while some were saltier than a packet of potato chips. Even cereals that appear to be nutritious are laced with sugar and salt, according to Australian Consumers' Association food policy officer Clare Hughes.

ACA experts examined 150 brands of cereal and found just 40 of those would make a healthy everyday breakfast. "It was quite disappointing to see that a lot of cereals targeted at children weren't the type of the things we should be giving kids every day," Ms Hughes said. "Many consumers don't think about the salt content of their breakfast cereal because they may not taste overly salty." Ms Hughes said any cereal that had more than 27g of sugar per 100g was considered high in sugar. "Eight of the kids' cereals had very high levels of sugar (more than 40g)," she said. A suitable cereal would have more than 3g of fibre, less than 27g of sugar per 100g, and less than 600mg of sodium per 100g.

The Sunday Mail found popular breakfast cereal Honey O's contained 42.2g of sugar per 100g - a higher proportion of sugar than a Cadbury Picnic bar (36.1g).


Australian safety survey kills feminist distortions

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Personal Safety Survey has finally emerged and along with its appearance, the statistical myths of feminist's victimhood and women's class oppression - particularly those relating to claims of epidemic violence against women - have immediately vaporised. Their silence is deafening.

The survey reveals a picture of what any rational person should have assumed about life simply by observation of the world around them and their day to day existence in it. The survey reveals what most people should have known or should have suspected about the facts of social violence - it is men rather than women who have the most to fear regarding their personal safety. It further reveals that the perpetrators of violence, in all their ugly forms and diversity, are not just men, and that the domain of perpetrators includes a significant percentage of women.

There are few surprises in this survey other than it seems to have been conducted with appropriate propriety. A refreshing breath of fresh air given the lies and spin of so many preceding studies and surveys conducted on this subject. But before delving into some its facts and figures, there are a couple of points that should be clarified about the survey itself.

As surveys go, it seems to have been done responsibly. It has encompassed a sizeable sample of the population - 16,300 adults in total, about 0.1% of the Australian adult population - so its findings could be seen to be a reasonable reflection of what's really going on in Australia today. That's excellent. However, for some peculiar reason, over twice as many women were surveyed than men - 11,800 women compared to only 4,500 men.

Why? Aren't men's experiences of personal safety as valid as those of women? Did they expect that women's experiences of violence would be more valid, diverse or significant? Or was it simply a matter of funding as is implied in the survey's notes? Whatever the reason for it, and there is no fair or justifiable stance that could possibly be taken for this glaring discrepancy, the question remains, why were men relegated to being less than second class respondents?

Who will provide an answer? No one, you can bet, and you can go figure it for yourself, but perhaps we can hope this imbalance will be addressed in any further surveys where the sex of the respondents is relevant.

For now though, when digesting the results, it must be realised that the men's data should be seen to be less accurate than that of the women. In fact, in some cases, reflected in the ABS tables, the data for men is so shabby that annotations have been made indicating that the data are of dubious reliability. Given the importance and far reaching social implications of this survey, this exclusion of men's experiences is a travesty of their rights as taxpayers and citizens of the nation. Especially as it turns out that men are singly the most severely effected members of society where personal safety and violence are concerned.

This treatment of men is a clear statement by the John Howard Liberal government that they see Australian men as being second rate and less than half as important as the women of the nation. Yet, in the Liberal's defense, it must be argued that they are the first government in Australia to include men in such a survey - previous Labor governments simply didn't care about the safety of men and only ever conducted safety surveys for women. That development in itself is at least some consolation for Australian men and is a positive step forward.

The other glaring concern about the production of this ABS survey was the sexist exclusion of men as interviewers. 100% of the interviews were conducted by women. The survey does point out that male interviewers were available upon request for those respondents who may have been so inclined, however, it reports that all those interviewed accommodated the default female interviewers. It is therefore important to realise that the 100% use of female interviewers could possibly have led to an underreporting of spousal and partner violence of men by females due to personal embarrassment in front of women interviewers.

Despite these sexist anomalies however - in a national survey of this significance, one could have at least expected squeaky-clean adherence to equal-sex political correctness - the survey reveals for the first time much important information about personal safety and the victims and perpetrators of personal violence. A subject, which has long been obscured by the murky fog of feminist advocacy.

This survey has revealed some very important truths about social violence and has exposed feminist lies. The following statements, derived directly from the ABS survey, are just our initial findings and a fuller investigation by readers of the finer detail is encouraged. Unfortunately, the ABS has presented its findings in a way that may not be readily interpreted by men's rights advocates in the form they are used to seeing them, therefore we have represented them, expressed in a way with which our readers will be more familiar.

Our statements below compare the freshly published data to the often colloquially quoted rhetorical statistics of feminist propaganda and remember this, these are official Australian government research figures and not some trumped up biased university faculty's data or those of some politically biased independent non government organisation. Facts - the ABS survey has revealed that -

* Men are more than twice as likely as women to be the victims of violence and are being physically or sexually assaulted or threatened at the rate of up to 2 incidents per second

* Women are not the victims of family (domestic) violence as often as the quoted 1 in 4, nor even 1 in 8, nor even 1 in 10, but actually 1 in 100

* Women are not being raped every 26 seconds, nor even every 90 seconds, as feminists frequently claim, but are in fact experiencing sexual assault - not necessarily rape - including both reported and all unreported incidents, at a rate of less than 1 per 5 minutes. This is a rate 91% less than that which feminists have previously claimed

* The ratio of female to male family (domestic) violence victims in a home is not 99:1, nor 9:1, nor even 5:1, but is actually closer to 2:1

These statements above are all calculated from the ABS survey data without corruption. They are the figures. Of course there will be some deviation from the survey compared to real life figures, just as in all studies (read the fine print of the survey) but, remember, the data for women is more than twice as likely to be accurate as it is for men and the data for men may have been tainted by the use of default female interviewers, some of whom may even have been staunch feminists, possibly resulting in underreporting of men's experience of family violence as victims.


An interesting Leftist comment on Australia's Federal environment policies

With its strongly pro-business orientation, the Howard Government has found it difficult to gain credibility for its environmental policies. It has nevertheless made considerable headway through the use of a clever and aggressive strategy of dividing the environment movement by cultivating friendly organisations and individuals and punishing those that refuse to fall into line.

WWF (formerly the World Wide Fund for Nature) is the foremost of the friendly organisations. It is close to the Government, providing a stream of favourable commentary on its policies and bestowing several awards for the Government's environmental achievements, including three "Gift to the Earth" awards, which the Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, displays in his office. In return, the Government has been generous, sending tens of millions to the fund for various programs.

The force behind the emergence of the organisation as the leading group backing the Government's environment policy is the businessman Robert Purves. He has made a very large donation to WWF and is now its president. Purves has drawn Tim Flannery into the orbit of conservative environmentalism by funding the preparation of Flannery's book on climate change, The Weather Makers. Flannery, who came late to the climate change debate, has eloquently summarised the work of hundreds of climate scientists and his book has undoubtedly raised public awareness and understanding of the threats posed by global warming. Purves is said to have spent $1 million promoting Flannery's book, including costly backlit billboards outside Qantas Club lounges around the country.

But isn't there an inconsistency here? Why would Purves, sympathetic to the Government, spend large sums funding and promoting a book that rings alarm bells about climate change, which can only make life more difficult for the Government? The answer is that Flannery's book does not make life harder for the Government, but sends the sort of message the Government wants us to hear.

Flannery is an advocate of individual consumer action as the answer to environmental problems. Instead of being understood as a set of problems endemic to our economic and social structures, we are told we each have to take personal responsibility for our contribution to every problem. Flannery concludes his book by arguing that "there is no need to wait for government action" - voluntary action by well-meaning consumers is the only way to save the planet. "It is my firm belief that all the efforts of government and industry will come to naught unless the good citizen and consumer takes the initiative, and in tackling climate change the consumer is in a most fortunate position." He then lists 11 things concerned citizens can do to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions, urging each of us to "do the right thing" in the belief that these noble appeals will transform the market: "If enough of us buy green power, solar panels, solar hot water systems and hybrid vehicles, the cost of these items will plummet."

This is music to the Government's ears. The assignment of individual responsibility is consistent with the economic rationalist view of the world, which wants everything left to the market, even when the market manifestly fails. Yet it is at best a naive, and at worst a reckless, approach to the looming catastrophe of climate change. The world did not eliminate the production of ozone-depleting substances by relying on the good sense of consumers in buying CFC-free fridges. We insisted governments negotiate an international treaty that banned CFCs. We did not invite car buyers to pay more to install catalytic converters, the greatest factor in reducing urban air pollution. We called on government to legislate to require all car makers to include them.

When pressed, Flannery will call on government to act, too, but his consistent headline message is an appeal to consumers. Thus, when accepting a prize for his book recently, he gave a four-word acceptance speech: "Install a solar panel." Green consumerism such as that advocated by Flannery privatises responsibility for environmental decline, shifting blame from elected governments and industry onto the shoulders of individual citizens. The cause of climate change becomes the responsibility of "all of us", which, in effect, means nobody. It is obvious why a government that wants to do nothing finds such an approach appealing: it can pretend to be concerned while protecting powerful business interests.

Flannery's "firm belief" that we can be saved only if consumers take the initiative is one he shares with the ideologues of the right-wing think tanks who argue that environmental problems should be left to the unfettered market. If consumers don't make green choices then it is obvious they don't care much about the environment. But it is not just his advocacy of do-nothing green consumerism that endears Flannery to the Government. Alone among Australian environmental advocates, he has declared his support for the development of a nuclear industry. The Prime Minister, John Howard, now regularly buttresses his nuclear push by saying that even some environmentalists "like Tim Flannery" support nuclear power.

Even Howard knows it would be folly to build nuclear power plants in Australia, a fact that his nuclear inquiry will conveniently affirm. The Prime Minister's game is to provide cover for his plan to expand uranium mining and get an enrichment industry established. Flannery is now part of the climate change debate, and whether he likes it or not, has become a trump card in Howard's hand.


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