Thursday, October 25, 2012

Black parents walk out on their children

This is something Aborigines have always done.  They "lose" children. If they turn up at a place with six children in tow they are likely to leave with five -- and not notice it.  Mostly the kids catch up by themselves eventually but it is obviously a survival mechanism for the parents that is left over from hunter-gatherer times when food was short

CHILDREN have been left abandoned in hospital for up to a year in the Central Queensland community of Woorabinda as parents lose interest in their welfare, an inquiry has been told.

Rockhampton lawyer and former nurse Katina Perrin said she had seen kids who arrived with burns or violence-related injuries end up so close to hospital staff they went to weddings.

"I have seen situations where they were page boys at doctors' weddings," Ms Perrin told the child protection inquiry which sat in Rockhampton this week.  "It is very different out there, it is very sad."

Ms Perrin worked as a nurse in the community during the 1990s said she still had occasional contact with Woorabinda, west of Rockhampton, while working as a lawyer in child protection.

Alcohol abuse was the prime cause of community problems which manifested themselves in all areas of life including teen pregnancies and violence, she told the inquiry.

Ms Perrin said many parents in the community had no idea how to raise children because they had not learnt the skills from the previous generation.  "They don't know how to be a parent, they may not even want to be parents," she said.

When child safety officials removed a child from a family in Woorabinda the child lost not only their family but their entire community because there were no facilities in the community to care for the child.  "There is no family-of-origin contact ... the family are often not even seeking that contact because of alcohol issues," she said.

Ms Perrin conceded things may have improved in the community but she doubted there was even a will to improve life among the locals.  "I just think it is about complete apathy - not just about birth control but about everything in their lives," she said.

Ms Perrin said she had been told recently of a Woorabinda woman with serious alcohol abuse problems who had been sent to rehabilitation and was now sober.  "'But she said - 'I don't want to be sober'.

"Even intelligent people still choose to go back to that lifestyle.  "How do you assist? I don't know."

The inquiry is due to hear evidence in Ipswich next Tuesday.


"The Sydney Morning Herald" and "Melbourne Age" are going broke

Rupert Murdoch will be amused

The head of Fairfax Media has told shareholders that revenue continues to shrink and the outlook is "impossible" to predict.

Fairfax has sought to assure shareholders that the company is doing everything it can to adapt to the shift to digital media.

At its annual general meeting in Melbourne, chairman Roger Corbett said Fairfax even considered selling off its flagship metropolitan newspaper business.

Chief executive Greg Hywood says revenues are down 7.5 per cent in the last six weeks compared with last year and it is "impossible" to offer guidance on future earnings.

"But at Fairfax Media we have a clear strategy to negotiate our way through this perfect storm of cyclical weakness and structural change," he told shareholders.

In August, Fairfax announced a $2.7 billion annual loss and slashed nearly 2,000 jobs in a major overhaul of its operations.


Gillard's mining tax fails to raise any revenue in first three months

THE Federal Government has raised zero revenue from its mining tax in the first three months, putting its promised budget surplus at risk.

Falling commodities prices mean major miners BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata have no liabilities under the minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) for the financial year to date, and the industry has warned global economic forecasts could seriously reduce their company tax contributions.

The Australian reports the federal government did not receive any money from the MRRT by Monday's payment deadline.

The government's Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, released earlier this week, cut predictions for the MRRT revenue from $3.7 billion to $2 billion for the 2012-13 financial year.

Lower commodities prices, a high Australian dollar and falling mining profits means tax payments from the big three miners, which account for more than 90 per cent of mining revenue, will be significantly lower.

A spokeswoman for BHP told The Australian: "The MRRT is a profits-based tax; the level of company liability for it will naturally vary each year.

"In working out what MRRT we are liable for in any year, there are a number of variable components . . . The structure of the MRRT is exactly the same since it was announced in 2010 and it was then that Treasury forecasts were made about likely MRRT receipts."

But Labor frontbencher Simon Crean said the lack of revenue from the MRRT in its first three months is not a cause for concern.

"It was never projected to raise (revenue) in the early part ... because these mining companies are making massive infrastructure investments, which are tax deductable," Mr Crean told the Nine Network.

"Arguing that this is a failure based on the first three months is just ludicrous."

Mr Crean said the surplus would "absolutely" be delivered as promised.

The mining tax blow comes as Prime Minister Julia Gillard faces a potential battle with the Labor caucus over a report from a committee of MPs condemning cabinet's policy of fly-in fly-out foreign workers in the mining industry.

A confidential draft report of Labor MPs has called on the Prime Minister to appoint an industry watchdog to ensure more local workers are used in the mining industry.

A copy of the draft report, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, has also accused cabinet of not spreading the benefits of the boom to Australians, by giving too many concessions to foreign mining companies.

It also called on Ms Gillard to appoint a special cabinet minister to redraft the government's current policy, demanding stronger commitments to use Australian labour ahead of foreign workers.

The report's finding have already led to the resignation of the committee's deputy chairman, ACT MP Andrew Leigh, after a dispute over the committee's findings.

The committee was set-up following the government's special deal to allow billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart to bring in 1700 migrant workers.

Caucus sources said Dr Leigh strongly disagreed with the findings and quit in protest.


Ill-educated youth

Knowing the times tables obviously so yesterday

I GO to a gym for my daily constitutional. I love it – lots of mature women like me, trying to compensate for years of now-abandoned bad habits taken up when young and seemingly invincible. And no one laughs at us as we run, crunch, lunge and cycle furiously, sweat pouring down our faces into nooks and crannies that younger women have yet to develop.

The lockers at my gym are tiered vertically in threes: small, small and large, with large at the bottom. Recently I asked the receptionist (a nice young woman and long-term employee who is usually a personal trainer) for a key for a large locker because I was carrying a number of packages, as well as my gym bag. "Oh," she said, "the keys aren't labelled that way. I don't know which keys are for large lockers."

I suggested that given they were in vertical rows of three, with large lockers at the bottom, any locker number that was a multiple of three would be a large locker. She looked at me as though I had asked her to explain Pythagoras' Theorem. Then she offered me a key for locker No. 20. I said no, that would not be a large locker. Next, she offered me the key for No. 26, assuring me that one would be a biggie. Wincing slightly but still smiling, I decided to humour her, and took the key to the locker room where I noted, not unexpectedly, that No. 26 was a middle row, small locker.

Still smiling (almost giggling, in fact) I broke the bad news and suggested she give me the key for No. 27. Alas, that one was already taken. For a moment, I waited for her to come up with 24 or even 30, but nope, she was now leaving it it to me to choose a number, which I did – 18 – an effortless multiple of three that my kelpie, Bluey, could have calculated easily.

This was a pleasant enough, easygoing encounter, but I must say I was astounded that this young woman seemed not to know simple multiplication. Are times-tables not taught in schools these days? No one could accuse me of being a mathematical genius, but really, this is kid stuff. I did wonder how she would cope with counting exercise repetitions when on PT duty, but perhaps there's a phone app that does the job.

When I was a gel back in the day, we had to learn multiplication tables parrot-fashion. It was tedious at the time but people never forgot them. A minor skill, but one that has come in very handy in the intervening (ahem) decades. I can recommend it.


1 comment:

Paul said...

"'But she said - 'I don't want to be sober'.

There's not a lot for them to be sober for.