Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Labor party grassroots want to bring back the refugee boats

It could stymie Shorten.  It's a minority view in Australia

Labor is facing a grassroots revolt over refugee policy, with city and country branches calling for sweeping changes to the largely ­bipartisan border protection and offshore processing regime ahead of the NSW Labor annual conference.

The Australian has obtained more than a dozen motions submitted by Labor Party branches to the annual conference on June 30 and July 1 at the Sydney Town Hall. Not one motion supports the party’s current policy in full.

The motions show the party leadership is out of step with the views of members, who want a clear statement of support for the principles advocated by the Labor for Refugees internal lobby group and the restoration of “a fair and humane policy on refugees and people seeking asylum”.

These motions show the party’s rank and file are uncomfortable with the suite of tough policies that provide for offshore detention and processing of refugees, and boat turnbacks that are designed to deny landfall to refugees seeking asylum as a deterrent to taking the hazardous journey in the first place.

There is also concern over the “demonisation” of refugees by the government and their treatment in detention. Labor branches want a future Labor government to redouble efforts to establish a more effective regional framework for dealing with asylum seekers in partnership with the UN.

A policy document prepared by Labor for Refugees has the support of many party branches.

It calls for, among other things, a royal commission into “the abuses of men, women and children” in detention; the right for protection claims to be assessed in Australia and the abandonment of offshore detention; and a clear 12-month timetable for determining claims for protection with judicial appeal rights under Australian law.

While motions support “maintaining essential maritime activity to prevent people-smuggling”, party members want Labor to commit to “immediately” closing “all offshore detention facilities” and relocating all remaining refugees to Australia, New Zealand or the US.

One party branch calls for a future Labor government “to revisit its policy of never allowing asylum seekers arriving by boat to settle in Australia” because they argue it breaches international human-rights obligations and causes unremitting “suffering and misery”.

Labor branches believe there is evidence of widespread “medical negligence” in the Nauru and Manus Island centres and want a future Labor government to review the provision of medical care to refugees and a new contract awarded for such services.

The party’s social-justice and legal-affairs policy committee has not recommended a detailed position on the party’s asylum-seeker policy ahead of the state conference later this month, but has supported several motions “in principle”.

Labor is keen to avoid a public showdown on refugees at the state conference — where the right faction will have a large majority of delegates — wanting to leave it to be determined by the rescheduled national conference on December 16-18 at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

However, The Australian has been told Labor for Refugees will liaise with faction leaders about presenting an “urgency motion” to the state conference that will seek to shift the party’s policy towards a more “humane” stance.

It is seen as an important signal ahead of the national conference.


Sexual deviants have poor health

And it's worse in areas where they are disliked

Research in Australia and internationally has documented poor health and wellbeing among LGBTQI people compared to heterosexual people. What’s less understood are the reasons why.

A dominant theory, the minority stress model, suggests that the discrimination and stigmatisation experienced by LGBTQI people in their everyday lives are to blame.

Our study is partially based on the results of the 2017 same-sex marriage postal survey, made publicly available by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

We examined the health and wellbeing of the people who responded to the survey using three standard measures:

a general health scale,

a mental health scale, and

an indicator of life satisfaction.

For comparability, we scored all of these measures on a range from 0 (worst health or wellbeing) to 100 (best health or wellbeing).

Consistent with previous research, LGB people in our study reported worse overall health, mental health and life satisfaction than straight people.

The key question is: to what extent do these health and wellbeing scores vary according to where people live and the levels of stigmatisation in their communities? To answer this, we factored in our proxy measure of stigma – the percentage of “no” voters in each electorate in the same-sex marriage postal survey.

Our findings portrayed a strong link between the two. LGB people living in electorates with smaller shares of “no” voters reported significantly better general health, mental health and life satisfaction than LGB people living in electorates with larger shares of “no” voters.


Around half of Australia's working-age Muslims are not in the workforce

Immigrants can be a good thing economically -- but not this lot

Fact Check analysed data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which economics professor John Quiggin, of the University of Queensland, then verified.

The analysis showed 43 per cent of working-age Muslims were not in the labour force. It also revealed that the high Muslim non-participation rate — which compares to a national working-age non-participation rate of 24 per cent — is almost entirely due to the large number of Muslim women who are not working.

Getting the definitions straight

The ABS defines the labour force as the sum total of people aged 15 and over who are employed either full-time or part-time, as well as unemployed people who are actively looking for work.

People not in the labour force are considered to be those aged 15 and over and who undertake unpaid household duties or other voluntary work only, as well as people who are retired, those permanently unable to work and those who do not want to work.

It's worth noting that the ABS labour force definition comprises people aged 15 and over (that is, with no upper age limit). But it defines the working-age population as only those people between the ages of 15 and 64.

Mr Ergas argued that Middle Eastern Muslim refugees found it difficult to integrate harmoniously into Australia's economy and society because they brought with them religious hatreds.
In this context, he stated that "56 per cent of Australia's working-age Muslims [are] either unemployed or not in the labour force".

In doing so, he refers to two groups of Muslims: those who are unemployed (that is, in the labour force but seeking work) and those who are not in the labour force (that is, not in paid work and not seeking work).

Crunching the numbers

At the time of the last census, the population of Australia was 23.4 million, including more than 604,000 Muslims (2.6 per cent of the total).

There were 12.7 million Australians in the labour force, representing a participation rate of 65 per cent (that is, the percentage of all Australians 15 and over who were either in work or actively looking for work).

However, when focusing on the ABS's more narrowly-defined 'working age' population (that is, people aged 15-64), the participation rate for the general population is considerably higher — 76 per cent.

Fact Check used data collected in the 2016 census to calculate the workforce status of Muslims compared to the rest of the population.

The data indicated that working-age Muslims, compared to people claiming other religious affiliations, had the lowest workforce participation rate at 57 per cent, followed by Buddhists (70 per cent).


'Egregious' $18,000 Sydney surgeon bill

A Sydney surgeon charging $18,000 for prostate cancer surgery has name-dropped the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and a peak specialist body to justify the eye-watering fee.

The five-figure sum bold-typed and highlighted on the paperwork handed to a prostate cancer patient typifies the damning practice of exorbitant specialist fees and the fraught process of informed financial consent for patients with life-threatening conditions.

The $18,000 quote for robotic radical prostatectomy was given to the 64-year-old patient in the private rooms of a Sydney urological surgeon in July 2017.

“approx [sic] $16,000 out of pocket” was scrawled alongside the figure in pen by the surgeon’s administration staff, the patient said.

The sum did not cover the assistant surgeon fees, the anaesthetist, the operating theatre, hospital stay or pathology tests. The total out-of-pocket cost to the patient would have been at least $22,000.

Leading doctors groups including the AMA have denounced doctors who charge patients egregious out-of-pocket fees. The Urological Society Australia and New Zealand has also condemned specialist "price gouging".

But the $18,000 quote invokes the AMA and the representative body for urological surgeons to justify the eye-watering price.

“This fee is derived from the Australian and New Zealand Association of Urological Surgeons and the AMA and the particular difficulty or expertise required for the operation,” the document reads.

USANZ president Adjunct Professor Peter Heathcote was “not happy” to see the ANZAUS appear on the “excessive” bill.

“Let me make it very, very clear: the ANZAUS and USANZ have no role whatsoever in setting fees,” Dr Heathcote said. “This is entirely unsatisfactory."

He said the USANZ board was investigating the matter and would discuss what action to take. The USANZ can cancel a specialist's membership if they have brought the organisation into disrepute, Dr Heathcote said.

Exorbitant specialist fees have come under immense scrutiny in recent days. ABC Four Corners exposed the extent of the practices and galvanised unanimous condemnation from other peak specialist groups.

President of the AMA Dr Tony Bartone said $18,000 was “several orders of magnitude about what we recommend for that procedure”.

“We would label this as egregious and we would not be pleased to see this level of misrepresentation [or] the suggestion that the fee is in line with the AMA,” Dr Bartone said.

Public hospital alternative

The prostate cancer patient agreed to speak to Fairfax Media on the condition that he and the surgeon not be identified.

The 64-year-old did not accept the $18,000 quote. He opted to undergo a robotic prostatectomy at a public hospital at no charge.

“I went from being out of pocket something like $25,000 to paying next to nothing,” he said.

His biggest fear using the public system was that he would be shunted to the back of a long wait list.

But within five weeks of his initial consultation he underwent the surgery at the Peter MacCallum Centre, Melbourne.

“I would have paid the price premium … it’s my life we’re talking about,” he said. “But after meeting with [the treating team], I was confident in their skills and capabilities, and comfortable to go down that pathway."

Several Sydney public hospitals (RPA, Nepean and Liverpool) also have robotic surgery programs.

Cancer Council CEO Professor Sanchia Aranda said there was a tendency among some surgeons to suggest that private patients would be treated faster, Professor Aranda said.

“A sense of urgency is created and patients get seduced into that system and told that public hospital treatment isn’t available in a timely way.”

But was a myth that cancer care is better in private hospital, or that the public system had lengthy wait times once a patient was diagnosed.

“Once you have a cancer diagnosis, you would be the urgent category in almost all instances, which would take you to the front of the queue [of the public wait lists].

“In most cases you wouldn’t wait longer than a couple of weeks, which won’t make a difference to your outcome.”

Prostate cancer in many cases can be treated with radiation instead of surgery but most patients are only referred to a surgeon, and robotic surgery does not offer better outcomes over traditional prostatectomy performed by an experience surgeon, professor Aranda said.

“You might spend one day less in hospital and have a little less post-operative pain. "In my view $18,000 is wasted money compared to no gap or small gap prostatectomy."

She recommended cancer patients in NSW search for cancer specialists, services and multidisciplinary teams on the Canrefer website.


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

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