Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Health care ‘apartheid’

Are we giving up on integrating Aborigines into Australian society?  How will they ever integrate if we keep giving reasons not to?

The proposal to launch Australia’s first Indigenous-only hospital raises a number of questions and is problematic on a number of levels.

Taxpayer support is being targeted for the idea, which is part of St Vincent’s Health Australia’s so-called ‘inclusive health program’ — which aims to ensure more Indigenous people receive all care needed to improve and maintain their health.

However, the need for a separate hospital does not seem to be supported by any hard evidence that Indigenous-specific/culturally appropriate health services would fix the appalling health disparity between the most disadvantaged Indigenous and other Australians.

In addition, the claim that this would help close the gap also doesn’t stack up against the reality that in remote communities — which have the worst health outcomes — people are already receiving Indigenous-specific care from Aboriginal Medical Services.

In reality, lack of access to all necessary care by disadvantaged Indigenous patients is highly likely to be driven by the same factors that account for lack of access by disadvantaged non-Indigenous patients.

Failure to seek treatment and/or comply with treatment regimes is often due to behavioural factors — ones that are also at the heart of people’s poor health status in general, especially in remote communities.

The idea of culturally appropriate care is a controversial one in the medical professions because the inclusion of such requirements in professional codes risks leaving the registration of doctors and nurses under threat from a subjective complaint that the care they delivered to an Indigenous patient was culturally inappropriate.

The fear is that when forced to practice under such obligations, many health professionals will be wary of treating Indigenous patients or working in Indigenous health.

This has important implications for the staffing of Indigenous-only facilitates, and for the quality of clinical care it may provide.

We should also be cautious about departing from the ‘universalist’ ethos that has long been at the core of the professional duties of doctors and nurses.

A version of this ethos has also been integral to the purpose of Catholic health services — and to the argument that these organisations deserve taxpayer-support to deliver public health services due in part to their special commitment to serving all the sick.

There is increasing pressure to withdraw public funding from Catholic health services over issues like abortion and euthanasia.

There is also a push to implement codes designed to ensure publically-funded services are ‘gender-sensitive’. The activist agenda here is to justify pushing faith-based providers out of the provision of such services on the basis that they are inherently LGTBI-unfriendly.

Giving credence to the argument that specific identity groups need their own culturally sensitive services will give credence and legitimacy to arguments that are fundamentally not in the best interest of Catholic health services.

All who wish to defend the principles of a free and civil society should defend public-funding to faith-based providers, as well as the rights of religious organisations and professionals on issues of conscience.

But when an organisation like St Vincent’s (which should know better) jumps on the progressive bandwagon and supports a divisive idea that is tantamount to health care ‘apartheid’, it is profoundly dispiriting — and makes it harder to will oneself to mount the cultural barricades in their defence.


Feminist fanaticism: Mining health and safety committee in hiatus over ‘gender imbalance’

A Queensland government mine safety committee was forced into hiatus for nearly four months because it didn’t have the right “gender representation,” during a spate of six mining deaths in the state.

Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham today confirmed the committee — which has representatives from the government mines inspectorate, the Queensland Resources Council, and relevant unions — would be re-established this week.

The committee has not met since March 20, but had to cancel its June meeting, The Australian understands.

“The committee has to be, certain representation has to be made in the committee, you have to make sure of gender representation is respected,” Dr Lynham said.

“Because of the significance of the appointments, that has been difficult, so the committee has been reestablished just recently.”

There have been six mining and quarry worker deaths in Queensland in the past 12 months, including four in the past six months. There have been two deaths since the mining safety committee last met in March. Most recently, a 27-year-old mine worker died at Baralaba in central Queensland on Sunday.

At his press conference this morning, Dr Lynham misspoke and said the committee had not sat at all this year. However, his office later clarified that the committee had met in March for two days.

Dr Lynham will meet with unions and the industry in Brisbane this afternoon, in light of the fatalities.

Liberal National Party Opposition leader Deb Frecklington called for a parliamentary investigation into mining safety in light of the recent deaths. Ms Frecklington said the disbanding of the mining safety advisory committee also needed to be probed.

“That needs to be investigated, along with reports the mines budget has been cut and why we have gone from two chief inspectors to one,” Ms Frecklington said.

“It’s crucial Queensland learns lessons from these tragedies to ensure our mines are safe.”

Queensland Resources Council boss Ian Macfarlane said the QRC had supplied its nominations for committee members, including two women, to the government six months ago.

“I’m not sure why that committee is not operating; we have asked that that committee start operating,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“We want to be doing everything we can … every committee makes a meaningful difference.”

Just hours after the fatality at Baralaba North, a man fell about 10 metres from a platform at Glencore’s Collinsville Coal Mine. Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Tania Constable extended her sincere sympathy to family, friends and colleagues of the Baralaba miner who died yesterday and the Collinsville miner injured this morning.

“Australia’s minerals industry’s number one value and commitment is the safety and health of the workforce, where everyone who goes to work in the industry returns home safely,’’ Ms Constable said. “The loss of life in Australian mining is unacceptable.’’

She said the minerals industry would work harder to become fatality and injury free.

“Clearly even greater effort is needed based on leadership, systems, people, culture and behaviour,’’ Ms Constable said.

CFMEU Queensland mining and energy president Steve Smyth has called for the mining industry to be shut down for at least 24 hours for a “major reset”.

“It means stopping every operation for a period of 24 hours, sitting down with your workers and engaging them around what’s going on with your mine site,” Mr Smyth said.

“I don’t know how many fatalities or major accidents we need to have before industry and the regulators take real action. It’s trending in a really, really concerning way.”


Retirees rejoice: Government concedes deeming rates ‘too high’ after rate cut

More than half a million retirees could benefit from a review of how their aged pension is calculated after being hit by a further reduction in interest rates this week.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg confirmed on Saturday the federal government has accepted the argument that the deeming rate, which is used to work out a pensioner’s financial assets, is too high.

Deeming rates are used by government as a guide to assess how much income pension recipients are likely to receive from investments each year, rather than using each pensioner’s actual investment returns.

The pensioner deeming rate was last set in March 2015 when then-Treasurer Scott Morrison cut the rate back on amounts under $51,800 to 1.75 per cent (for singles) and for larger amounts to 3.25 per cent.

Since then, the Reserve Bank has cut the official cash rate five times, hitting a new record low of just one per cent after this week’s central bank board meeting.

Labor had said the deeming rate was “completely unfair” to pensioners and questioned why it had taken four years for it to change.

Advocates have been calling for deeming rates to be cut in line with record low interest rates announced by the Reserve Bank, with the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA) arguing retirees receiving an age pension stood to lose up to $215 a year.


Natural gas producers fear more regulation

Scott Morrison’s tax cuts deal with Centre Alliance has put the government on a collision course with the gas industry.

Australia’s petroleum and gas lobby this morning slammed Centre Alliance’s raft of gas reforms, which it claims to have secured in exchange for supporting the federal government’s full tax cuts bill.

The minor party today said it had secured changes to the gas pricing trigger, new transparency measures for the gas market and a long-term plan to boost domestic gas supply in order to pass the tax cuts package through the senate.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann confirmed today that the government had “talked through” gas reforms with Centre Alliance senators Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff, and announcements would be made in due course.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association today said there were no needs for any changes, and wanted more details from the government.

“APPEA needs to hear directly from the Government on the specifics of the proposed gas deal before commenting further,” an APPEA spokesman told The Australian.

“But we see no need for changes to the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism (ADGSM) at this time.

“The ADGSM is up for a review in 2020 and the gas market transparency work will follow on from ACCC recommendations that were recently made public. “The Australian gas market is comprised of multiple gas suppliers competing to win local business.

“AEMO’s 2019 Gas Statement of Opportunities has confirmed that the gas market is well supplied until at least 2023.

“That why it is important that identified gas resources in NSW, Victoria and the NT are able to be developed as soon as possible.”

Centre Alliance says it has achieved changes to the Australian Domestic Gas Mechanism, new transparency measures for the gas market and long-term plans to ensure surplus domestic gas supply.

Senator Patrick says the gas reforms he has negotiated with the government will “cause lower electricity prices” but won’t say if he has a signed commitment for the policies.

“What we’ve done with the Government is negotiated a range of policy measures that they will announce over the next couple of months. And we have a very clear understanding of what those policies are. And we anticipate that they will have a positive effect for consumers on pricing.

“It’ll be good for consumers ... it might be bad for gas companies.”

The Finance Minister today declined to say the government has “horse-traded” with crossbench senators for their support for the full tax cuts package and said Scott Morrison has a long-term commitment to boosting domestic gas supply and bringing energy prices down.

“We’ve been prepared to engage in good faith with those senators about public policy issues that are important to them and they will be decided on their own merits and will be announced when we’re in a position to do so,” Senator Cormann told ABC radio.

“The government has a longstanding policy commitment to bring energy prices down. We have a longstanding policy commitment to boost the domestic supply of gas, in particular in the east coast electricity market.

“We’ve sat down in recent weeks with Centre Alliance, we’ve sat down with Senator Lambie. We’ve talked through these policy issues, we’ve talked through the measures the government has already announced, we’ve talked through the measures the government is developing at present.

“That is just normal parliamentary process engaging in good faith with elected members of parliament.”


 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:

Paul said...

Hospitals with a large aboriginal clientele tend to end up being de facto hostels, as we well know in the North.