Friday, April 29, 2022

Rent control in Australia? Plan to ban landlords from raising rental prices - because 'it's worked in New York for years'

It takes a brain-dead Greenie to argue for something that will WORSEN the shortage of rental accomodation. Particularly in a time of inflation, rent control will just frighten off most investors in housing. It has been tried many times in Australia in the past and has always been abandoned eventually -- because of the way it makes renting almost impossible at any price

The Greens have called on the South Australian government to introduce rent controls amid revelations most properties on the market are too expensive for people living on the minimum wage.

Anglicare looked at 45,992 rental listings across the country and found just 712, or two per cent, could be afforded by people on the minimum wage.

In SA only two of 1125 properties listed were considered appropriate and affordable for a single person.

'Rental prices are skyrocketing out of control,' SA Greens housing spokesman Robert Simms said.

'While many South Australians are being locked out of the rental market, some landlords are making record profits.

'It's time for the state government to follow the lead of other jurisdictions overseas and implement rent controls to protect struggling renters. 'This has worked in New York for years - why not Adelaide?'

Mr Simms said he would raise the issue when parliament resumed next week.

The Greens also renewed calls for the government to boost investment in public housing to reduce prices.
At a federal level, the party said it would push for 70,000 affordable homes to be built across Adelaide and regional South Australia.

It said the plan would ensure low-income earners were not priced out of the housing market, with options for low-cost and long-term secure rentals and purchase options at around $300,000.

SA Senate candidate Barbara Pocock said the housing market was particularly brutal for low-income earners.
'For a person working full time on minimum wage in Adelaide, almost no rentals are affordable,' she said.

'The same goes for those on income support, whether that be Youth Allowance, JobSeeker or the disability and age pensions.'

Sitting SA Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said it was a disgrace that so many Australians could not afford basic housing.

'Housing is a basic human right. When everyday South Australians cannot afford to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, there is a serious problem with the system,' she said.


Targin pain relief drug shortages leave cancer patients, chronic pain sufferers without options

This is a bit overhyped. I am myself on Targin to control the pain from a cracked rib. And it does seem to help. I am able to take it because I have a supply left over from last year

But is not irreplaceable. It is just an opiate plus something to combat the constipation that opioids cause. And it is not so good at that. I have to take an apieriant as well

Thousands of cancer patients are being forced to spend their final days sitting in medical waiting rooms trying to source alternative pain relief because of a critical nationwide shortage of a major drug.

Targin is a slow-release oxycodone and naloxone combination often prescribed to cancer patients in the palliative stages and chronic pain sufferers to reduce severe pain.

But stocks have dwindled due to issues with shipping lines and flight availability.

"These patients don't want to spend what limited time they have left at the hospital on the phone to doctors, in waiting rooms, trying to get prescriptions," north Queensland pharmacist Cate Whalen said.

"They want to be spending those last days with their families and those that love them."

Finding alternatives

Dr Abhishek Joshi is a medical oncologist at Townsville ICON Cancer Care and Townsville University Hospital.

He said his clinic saw about 1,000 new patients each year and the shortage would affect about half of them.

"Switching a pain drug which a patient has been using for a long time to a newer alternative and finding a drug of an equivalent dose is not an easy task. That process can take time," he said.

"Patients might now have to undergo a period ranging from days to weeks in which their pain levels might actually fluctuate and start affecting their lifestyle."

Dr Joshi said it was the first time he had seen a shortage of Targin.

"I know regional towns are not the preference sites where these stocks are channelled, mostly bigger cities and metros are much more advantaged," he said.

"So, we have to really fight hard to make sure our patients are getting the stock. There is no sort of specific timeline as to when these shortages will go away."

Unlike many other drugs on the market, Targin does not have a suitable substitute.


A shameful Presumption of guilt

When the Left is out to get you, you will be lucky to escape, regardless of justice. It was plain to me from the behginning that this was another Dreyfus case. It pained me to hear what this good and holy man was put through -- JR

Tony Abbott

What’s not both to enthral and repel in this story of Australian Catholicism’s greatest churchman, brought low by an allegation of child sex abuse, humiliated and imprisoned, only to be vindicated, triumphantly, by a seven-nil High Court verdict to the effect that he should never have been investigated, never have been charged, never have been convicted and never have been gaoled. What was really on trial here was the Australian system of justice: how susceptible it was to public hysteria, media stereotyping and lynch-mob justice so at odds with the traditional presumption of innocence. The verdict, albeit only at the last gasp, thanks to the High Court, is that it’s still capable of delivering justice according to law; but not before a fine man had had his reputation officially trashed, several years of his life stolen, and massive legal bills incurred that he has yet to re-pay. Yes, the cardinal had a win – but this was not a fight he should ever have been in.

Only because the Catholic Church had been judged collectively guilty of institutionalised sexual abuse and, therefore, needed to be punished; and only because Pell had become the personification of that church was a process put in place that, until its very end, but for his faith in divine providence and in his own innocence, would have put the cardinal into a very dark place. Of course, in the sloppily disciplined post-Vatican II church of the Sixties and Seventies there does seem to have been an unusually large number of pedophiles exploiting the cover and the opportunities of clerical life. And because abuse at the hands of God’s servants is such a monstrous betrayal, it’s to the church’s particular shame that this wasn’t realised and acted upon sooner. Paradoxically, Pell was actually one of the very first senior churchmen anywhere in the world to confront it directly: sacking deviant priests and reporting them to the police rather than simply forgiving their sins while moving them on. Perhaps this is why Windschuttle (who’s not a Catholic), Henderson (now a ‘cultural’ Catholic) and Brennan (a Jesuit intellectual, to be sure, but often Pell’s antagonist on theology and ecclesiology) have come so staunchly to his defence.

As expected of a trained lawyer, Brennan focuses on the extreme implausibility of the prosecution’s case. The idea that a fifty-something archbishop, of exemplary life and reputation, would or could slip out of the procession concluding High Mass; and, without anyone noticing, sneak back into the sacristy to commit enormities on two unknown 13-year-old choirboys, all while fully robed and in the space of six minutes, was never credible. Especially when a succession of witnesses testified to Pell’s invariable practice of going to the front of the cathedral to greet parishioners. What’s extraordinary is the lengths to which Victoria Police went on operation ‘Get Pell’: launching an investigation without a complaint; advertising for victims; disregarding and ignoring contrary evidence; and leaking to the media.

The fact that this vendetta was led by two police officers who went on to become successive chief commissioners says everything about the sorry state of Victorian officialdom. In any system that valued integrity, the current commissioner would have resigned in shame for sponsoring such an obviously flawed and prejudiced prosecution; as would the appeal judges who were so blind to such palpable faults.

But as always in the people’s republic of Victoria, no one takes any responsibility or accepts any blame; the public seems to accept that there’s ‘nothing to see here’; and the plethora of entities from the parliamentary opposition down that should hold officialdom to account are incapable of anything other than futile hand-wringing. Brennan’s conclusion: that ‘but for the incompetence and animus of the Victoria Police, the DPP, and the two most senior judges of the state, Pell would have been cleared of those charges much sooner, or more likely, not charged at all’ makes his further observation that ‘the Victorian criminal justice system cries out for reform’ a masterly piece of understatement!

Henderson’s J’Accuse…! extends beyond the police and the judiciary to the media and the Gillard government’s royal commission into institutional child sexual abuse which, as he makes clear, could be shoddy and biased. Here’s Henderson on the to-ing and fro-ing between Vic Pol, desperate to charge Pell, and the DPP, initially deeply hesitant: The case was sent by Victoria Police to the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions which sent the matter back to Victoria Police which sent the matter back to the DPP which sent the matter back to Victoria Police which sent the matter back to the DPP which sent the matter back to Victoria Police stating that it could lay charges against Pell if it wished. Which, eventually, it did.

As befits our most dogged and shrewd critic of sloppy journalism, Henderson is forensic in his exposure of the barrage of anti-Pell smear. Here he is on the media pile-on, particularly from the ABC: ‘The campaign against Pell was unrelenting across its main television (7.30, Four Corners, Lateline, News Breakfast) and radio (AM, The World Today, PM, Radio National Breakfast) outlets. The ABC also commissioned special programs which contained attacks on Pell –…Unholy Silence…Guilty…plus…Goliath.’ The conferral of a Walkley Award on one of the anti-Pell diatribes, Fallen – even after the High Court’s dismissal of the case against him – exemplified the intractable media hostility to the man who once joked, when asked about the church position on the Gay Mardi Gras, ‘Well, we’re not going to sponsor a float, if that’s what you mean’.

Both authors deserve our gratitude for their defence of the presumption of innocence and their insistence that justice according to law must prevail over guilt by association and accusation.

Still, not in Victoria, where the response of the Premier to Pell’s release was: ‘I make no comment about today’s High Court decision. But I have a message for every single victim and survivor of child sex abuse: I see you, I hear you, I believe you


Troubled islands

The revelation that the Solomon Islands has signed a security pact with China has sent shock waves across the Pacific reaching Washington. It’s a stark reminder that while the US has been drawn by Europe’s weakness into countering Russia’s blundering and bloody war in Ukraine, China is expanding the strategic threat it poses by stealth.

The deal between the Solomon’s Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was leaked by his domestic critics because of the threat it poses to their democracy. Using Chinese money as a slush fund, Sogavare apparently plans to buy enough votes to postpone the next election scheduled for 2023, supposedly for a year, but perhaps forever. That would suit China since the opposition has said it would tear up the agreement. Sogavare no doubt wants Chinese armed forces to quell dissent as he imposes unpopular policies, particularly in the island of Malaita, whose provincial government remains loyal to Taiwan.

The pact with China is also alarming South Pacific nations. The president of the Federated States of Micronesia said Sogavare had an obligation to recognise that the agreement had profound consequences for the security of the people of the South Pacific and the world.

China has exploited Sogavare’s political vulnerability to secure the right to build a military base less than 1800 kms from Townsville. That’s the distance from Townsville to Sydney and a direct threat to Australia.

For Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Senator Penny Wong to blame the Morrison government is a paternalistic trope that denies Sogavare agency. To claim it wouldn’t have happened on Labor’s watch is absurd. Wong did nothing to dissuade Victorian premier Dan Andrews from signing up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative in October 2018. It was the federal government that cancelled the agreement a year ago while Labor’s deputy leader, Richard Marles, welcomed China’s increasing presence in the South Pacific in a book he published last August and said Australia could not and should not try to outspend China, even though Australia spends far more than China in the Solomon Islands and the South Pacific.

What Australia doesn’t do is provide slush funds to South Pacific politicians. It’s a practice of which the NSW Labor party has first-hand knowledge. It accepted $100,000 in cash in an Aldi bag from a Chinese billionaire property developer who presumably made the donation on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department.

Former Labor senator Sam Dastyari, friend and factional ally of Marles, had to resign from parliament after accepting Chinese money. Both Marles and Dastyari said Australia should be neutral about sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea even though 60 per cent of Australia’s trade travels through it and any limit to our freedom of navigation would have a significant impact on the Australian economy.

It is true that the Country Liberal government in the Northern Territory was unacceptably naive when it signed, in 2015, a 99-year lease to manage the port of Darwin with a company with links to the CCP and the People’s Liberation Army. At the time, Australia’s department of Defence and even its Navy approved the lease even though control of the port would give the Chinese the opportunity to surveil or attack the US and Australian navies that regularly access the port.

It is also true that former Liberal foreign minister Alexander Downer, who was for a time on the board of Huawei, was wrong when he argued that the company should be allowed to participate in the construction of Australia’s national broadband network. All that can be said, is that it has taken both sides of politics a long time to recognise the threat that China poses.

Former foreign minister Julie Bishop is a case in point. She is now so conscious of that threat that she joined Labor in criticising the government for sending its foreign minister rather than its Pacific minister to attempt to dissuade Sogavare. Yet in 2018, Ms Bishop wanted to sign an extradition treaty with China, something almost all Western nations have eschewed because of China’s travesty of a legal system in which the only guarantee is that the accused will be found guilty. Worse, it is legal in China to harvest the organs of executed prisoners and a report released this month by a researcher at ANU found that in it least 71 cases, a prisoner’s heart was removed for transplant while they were still alive, causing their death.

Herein lies the real answer to the threat posed by China’s pact with the Solomons. Pacific Islanders are profoundly Christian, in the mould of Israel Folau. They need to understand that China’s godless communists are guilty of crimes of which no Christian could approve. Australia must work with all the nations of the South Pacific to bring Sogavare, a devout Seventh Day Adventist, back into the fold and develop a common policy to prevent China’s incursions in the region until it ceases its barbarous abuse of its own people and the threat it poses to the civilised world.




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