Monday, December 07, 2020

Another white "Aborigine"

When the only "Aborigines" who achieve anything are in fact white, it just casts into sharp relief how hopeless real Aborigines are. It is a message of white supremacy

Other recent examples here and here and here

Indigenous rendition of Advance Australia Fair leaves rugby fans with 'goosebumps' as every Wallabies player joins in. Many claimed it was the best rendition of the national anthem they'd ever heard

Proud Wiradjuri woman Olivia Fox sung the Australian anthem in the Indigenous Eora language before the Tri Nations rugby union game between the Wallabies and Argentina on Saturday night.

Every player from the Wallabies learned the words to the Indigenous verse and sung along, leaving fans touched.

Saturday's national anthem is the first time the joint-language song was performed at an international sporting event in Australia.

It is understood Ms Fox held practice sessions with the Wallabies players to ensure they knew all the words for the performance, to make sure the moment received respect.

Rugby Union fans were positive about the national anthem, with many viewers welcoming the change.

Butterfly Foundation centre to treat eating disorders shut amid surge in cases

Eating disorders are often a serious mental illness and can easily cause death. They can be very hard to cure and residential care is sometimes the only thing that works. Telling people to "buck up" does nothing for any mental illness.

Government care for the illness is however sparse so one would think it deserves more priority. Why not redeploy a few bureaucats to provide the services needed?

Sufferers are often people who otherwise have a lot of potential. Below is a lady -- Lexi Crouch --who recovered and who now helps others

Australia’s first ever residential facility for treating eating disorders can’t open its doors despite a fifty per cent increase in crisis calls about the conditions during COVID-19.

The Butterfly Foundation’s new Wandi Nerida facility was built using a $6 million federal government grant but does not have the $2.5 million it needs to staff the centre.

Nearly a million Australians suffer from eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating.

And during the pandemic, the number of people contacting The Butterfly Foundation’s support line and webchat service for help had soared by 50 per cent during COVID.

Girls and boys as young a seven were developing the conditions that have a devastating impact and can lead to them taking their own lives.

The centre on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast was to pilot a new holistic care approach where patients from right across the country would spend around two months living in the 13-bed facility.

Around 50 staff, including psychiatrists, psychologists, dietitians and other health professionals, were to deliver them round the clock care.

The Butterfly Foundation said an application for funding support for the staff was rejected by the Queensland State Government during the recent state election campaign and fundraising activities were not possible due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The centre is even more essential than ever because sufferers are now unable to travel to the US for comprehensive residential-style care.

More than 200 people from around Australia are already on a waiting list to use the centre if it ever opens.

“We’re after two and a half million (dollars) from this fundraising campaign to get us up and running and our doors open and so we can fund individuals who don’t have any capacity to pay (for the care),” Butterfly Foundation CEO Kevin Barrow said.

“Eating disorders are quite severe and complex mental illnesses and actually have one of the highest mortality rates and also have a very high suicide rate.”

A Deloitte study found the total social and economic cost of eating disorders in Australia was $69.7 billion.

Their burden in terms of lost years of life is higher than that of depression and anxiety combined.

Of those with eating disorders: 47 per cent have Binge Eating Disorder, 12 per cent have Bulimia Nervosa, 3 per cent have Anorexia Nervosa and 38 per cent have other eating disorders.

Recovery from an eating disorder can take between one to six years, while up to 25 per cent of sufferers experience a severe and long-term illness.

Early detection and intervention is the key to a good recovery, Mr Barrow said.

“We do know that if you intervene early with a psychologist, dietitian, psychiatrist and general practitioner or working with the family outcomes can be very, very good (for around three in four people),” Mr Barrow said.

“We also know on the converse that if you do nothing and the illness is allowed to stay around for a period of time, it becomes harder and harder to manage,” he said.

'Zones of aspiration': NSW Schools to be grilled if students fail to meet performance targets

The NSW Department of Education will intervene in public schools that fail to meet performance targets in priority areas such as HSC and NAPLAN results, attendance, wellbeing and whether students are studying or can find work after they graduate.

The targets will require department executives to take more responsibility for school outcomes after the state government admitted its decision eight years ago to hand decision-making to principals left it with little influence over how schools spent their money or made their educational decisions.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said everyone in the education system, right up to the department's secretary, needed to shoulder responsibility for student success.

"The School Success Model provides the transparency and support mechanisms for schools to successfully manage their record funding and make decisions that will benefit their students," Ms Mitchell said. "[It] will champion our best schools and help those who are struggling."

If the school exceeds its target, the department will identify the factors driving that success and see if it can export them to other schools. If it fails to meet it, the department will review its teaching practices and look at whether the school's money might be better spent.

The achievement benchmarks drew fire when they were first described to principals as stretch targets, so they have been rebadged as "zones of aspiration” in HSC and NAPLAN, student growth, phonics, attendance, wellbeing, Aboriginal education and post-school pathways.

Department secretary Mark Scott said each school’s target was determined by looking at how its data compares with 40 statistically-similar schools, then discussing that particular school’s challenges with the principal.

"The schools agree to their targets,” Mr Scott said in a recent interview with consultancy McKinsey & Company. "There can be some healthy debate and discussion.”

The department already keeps the attendance, HSC and NAPLAN data that it will use to measure school performance. Primary schools will be set targets for achievement in the year 1 phonics check, which becomes compulsory from next year.

The wellbeing target will be measured by a bi-yearly survey known as Tell Them From Me, which looks at students’ sense of belonging, their relationships with teachers and peers, and their experiences of bullying.

Pathways targets will be based on data to be collected from next year showing whether students are studying, working or unemployed five years after they leave school.

The head of the Secondary Principals Council, Craig Petersen, said school leaders have been told that the policy is intended to ensure the department shoulders more responsibility for supporting schools.

"Previously, if I wasn’t meeting my literacy targets, it was my responsibility,” Mr Petersen said. "What’s being proposed, is now the department is saying [to its own executives], what are you doing to support that school? Right up to the secretary, is what’s been explained to us.

"If that’s what happens, and it’s a supportive process, then there’s merit in that.”

Principals have already been discussing targets with their regional directors. "Some are happy, some think they can do better, others are saying we’ve got such a high level of disadvantage, even the lower level of aspiration will be very challenging for us,” Mr Petersen said.

However, Mr Petersen had reservations about some of the data that will be used for the measurements. "Some schools find Tell them From Me to be of great value,” he said. "But particularly in secondary schools, we find the completion rate too varied.

"We’re concerned it is not yet fit for purpose, particularly if you are going to mandate it as a target-setting tool.”

Robyn Evans, the president of the Primary Principals Association, said most schools were already striving to excel.

"To make that announcement at this time of year is a tricky one, but that’s our job, that’s our role,” she said. "We have expert teachers in our schools, and we will deliver. Principals are striving for that continually.”

In 2012, the Coalition introduced Local Schools, Local Decisions to allow principals to make financial and educational choices that best suited their students. It also axed support staff within the department who travelled to schools to provide help.

The government has admitted the decision had "unintended consequences", such as making it harder to centrally track increasing amounts of Gonski money, and hindering its ability to intervene when schools struggled.

The School Success Model will replace Local Schools, Local Decisions.

Government poised to banish 'outrageous' disappointment fees in family law

The federal government is poised to ban the "outrageous" fees sometimes charged by barristers when family law cases are unexpectedly settled early, which can be as high as $12,000 a day and are particularly common in Sydney.

It will likely form part of a suite of family law reforms to be examined next year after the proposed merger of the Family and Federal courts, which passed the lower house last week and is now before the Senate.

Barristers can charge cancellation fees - or "disappointment fees", as they are also known - when cases settle early. The fees are supposed to compensate for time the barrister had blocked out of their schedule expecting to spend in court.

Family Court judge Robert Benjamin lashed out at the practice in a 2018 judgment, saying the fees enabled barristers "to be paid for doing nothing".

Two federal parliamentary inquiries have heard the fees are especially prevalent in Sydney, even though the NSW Bar Association told a Senate hearing that it opposes them in principle.

Attorney-General Christian Porter seized on those remarks, saying it was "promising to see" the NSW Bar opposed the fees and giving a strong indication he would ban or cap them.

"It is my view that disappointment fees are outrageous," Mr Porter told The Sun-Herald. "The focus of the system, and of those who are supposed to be helping families through this process, should be to make sure parties can separate as cheaply, quickly and efficiently as possible."

Liberal senator Sarah Henderson, who has pursued the matter at inquiries, said disappointment fees in family law court cases were "a rort" and should be banned. They also discouraged clients from settling cases because they still have to pay much of the costs of going to trial, she said.

There is confusion about the legal fraternity's exact position on the fees. In October, the NSW Bar senior vice-president Michael McHugh told a Senate inquiry the Bar opposed cancellation fees. He added there were "swings and roundabouts" because "if people put a month or two weeks away in their diary and the case settles on the first day, they're left without work".

"People, particularly the more senior practitioners, cannot just pick up another trial the next day," he said.

Senator Henderson rejected that argument. "If a trial does not proceed, any barrister worth his or her salt has plenty of other work to go on with," she said.

In a statement to The Sun-Herald, Mr McHugh said his evidence at the inquiry had been disrupted by a Senate division. He noted barristers could only charge a "reservation fee" if it was permitted in the contract, and they were rarely utilised.

But if a barrister couldn't obtain alternative work, "the commercial opportunity to generate fees which would otherwise have been generated has been lost," he said. Therefore cancellation fees "seek to promote access to justice by offering improved certainty and comfort to clients that a barrister will be exclusively available to them for the duration of the matter".

At a separate parliamentary inquiry into family law in March, the Law Council of Australia's chair of family law Paul Doolan explained why disappointment fees were more common in Sydney.

"There is more money in Sydney," he said. "The money ultimately leads to very complicated arguments in some cases about tax, about valuations, about control of assets. Interventions by third-party companies in the Family Court happen quite regularly in the Sydney registry. It's a different practice, I must say, to other cities."

Patrick Parkinson, the outgoing chair of the University of Queensland's law school, said the fees were typically charged by senior counsel who were "in great demand", especially in Sydney.

"It's widely regarded by other parts of the Bar as an unethical practice," he said. It was fair to charge for work done in preparation for the case, he said, but the fees must be proportionate.




1 comment:

Paul said...

Why does the media always have to sub-edit to let us know they are "proud"? I couldn't care less how uppity they think they are.