Thursday, March 23, 2023

Anthony Albanese announced wording of the question
The Voice to Parliament will be voted on by Aussies

One word makes this very disturbing. The parliament will be able to give "powers" to the new body, WITH NO RESTRICTIONS. They could even give it veto power over all legislation. Australia would have the most racist parliament since Apartheid South Africa

In the referendum, due to be held between October and December, the public will be asked to consider: 'A proposed law: to alter the constitution to recognise the First People's of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?'

In an emotional press conference, Mr Albanese said: 'This moment has been a very long time in the making. It's a simple matter from the heart.

'Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in our Constitution is the best chance this country has had to address the injustices of the past and move Australia forward for everyone, the best way to do this is to give people a voice.'

For 122 years, the Constitution has made no reference to Indigenous Australians, who, the PM pointed out, have had 'more than 65,000 years of continuous connection to this vast land'.

If a majority of Australians vote in favour of the Voice, the Constitution would be amended as follows:

1. There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice; 2. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;

3. The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions powers and procedures.


Premier firms on yearly limit to rent increases in property reform

To get more housing available, you need to ENCOURAGE landlords to provide it. Creating difficulties for landlords is a moron act that ony a Leftist would do. If these caps are enacted many landlords would see it as writing on the wall and would get out of the rental market while they could, thus further REDUCING the availability of properties to let.

Landlords would be limited to a single price increase each year in a rent cap move canvassed by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk — a policy one economist warned could encourage investors to lift rents by more severe amounts.

In another sign the Queensland government is winding back its controversial proposal following heated backlash from industry groups and economists, Ms Palaszczuk volunteered the option as a possible solution to assist tenants bearing the brunt of the housing crisis.

“People are reporting to me they are seeing rents going up $200 a week, $400 a week, and people are finding it so hard to make ends meet, especially with the higher cost of living,” she told Nine’s Today show on Wednesday morning.

“So one example that’s on the table is limiting those increases to once a year, rather than twice a year, to put a bit of downward pressure.”

Leading independent economist Saul Eslake was critical of the rent cap pitch earlier in the week, but said the updated proposal to limit the number of increases as opposed to a ceiling on the amount was a more reasonable approach.

But he warned landlords might err on the side of safety by imposing bigger increases.

The industry peak body responded furiously to the initial announcement of a rent cap but said it was open to a conversation about further tightening the frequency of rent increases.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive Antonia Mercorella described it as the best of the worst proposed controls on landlords. “There are already statutory caps around how frequently rent can be increased,” she said.

“It would be our preference not to continue further rent control but we would be open to having a discussion.”

UNSW housing researcher Hal Pawson, who authored a landmark report on housing in Queensland that led to Ms Palaszczuk proposing the reforms, said the option floated was on the “extreme low end of ambition”.

He described the reform as a first small step along the way to governments having some influence on the rents tenants are paying, but insisted it should also be paired with a benchmark limit such as the Consumer Price Index — similar to the ACT.

“It doesn’t go to the heart of the problem (controlling huge increases in rent) — it’s touching the edges of the problem,” Professor Pawson said.

Queensland Council of Social Service chief executive Aimee McVeigh said rental reform consisting of a single yearly lift was a “light touch intervention” that would be insufficient in providing a meaningful solution. “We need some consumer protections,” she said.

“Almost 40 per cent of Queenslanders rent and those people deserve a fair rental market where they can be have some certainty about what the price of that basic human need for shelter will be.”

Mr Eslake stressed the tinkering of moderate rental reform was a poor substitute for alleviating the crisis by providing homes for those in need, citing a Productivity Commission report earlier this year that revealed Queensland social housing stock had only marginally increased in a decade.

“A more effective response to the undoubted upward pressure on rents and the insecurity that tenants are feeling as a result of that would be to do more to boost the supply of housing,” he said.


Australia recorded relatively more ‘excess deaths’ during the Covid-19 pandemic than Sweden

Australia recorded relatively more “excess deaths” during the Covid-19 pandemic than Sweden, which chose not to lock down its populations, new analysis from the OECD reveals.

As the world approaches the three-year anniversary of the start of lockdowns this week, top academics say data showing Sweden’s success in keeping mortality rates down brings years of civil liberty restrictions and billions of dollars in government spending in other nations into question.

New OECD analysis comparing excess deaths in 2020 and 2021 – the two worst years of the pandemic – for 36 developed nations reveals Australia had the fifth lowest increase in excess deaths, but came in behind Sweden, which attracted global scorn for resisting closing businesses, schools and ordering citizens to stay at home.

Including excess deaths – defined as those over and above what was expected – for 2022 as well puts Australia even further behind Sweden with an 8.2 per cent increase over the three-year period compared with Sweden’s 3.1 per cent.

Stefano Scarpetta, the director of employment, labour and social affairs at the OECD, said: “If you control for population growth (higher in Australia), Australia’s excess deaths rate over the three-year period as a whole was 2.1 per cent and in Sweden it was -0.6 per cent, that is no excess mortality. The reason why we use excess mortality (instead of Covid-19 deaths) is because in practice counting the number of deaths because of Covid is very difficult.”

Dr Scarpetta said there were variations in classification and testing across countries, and it was difficult to determine whether elderly victims had died with or from Covid-19.

The OECD report, Ready for the Next Crisis? Investing in Health Care Resilience, found half of all Covid-19 deaths occurred among people aged 80 across 22 OECD countries with comparable data, and one third occurred in nursing homes.

Mexico and Colombia, which did impose lockdowns, endured the greatest increases in excess deaths of about 50 per cent. Japan and Sweden, the only two OECD nations to resist them, prompting international condemnation at the time, had among the lowest increases, ranking 4th and 8th, respectively.

Two US public health experts who in 2020 recommended the Swedish approach – Stanford University’s Jay Bhattacharya and Harvard’s Martin Kulldorff – said they felt vindicated but ­despaired at the lack of appreciation of the findings and feared the same policies would be followed again.

“The thing to emphasise is that Sweden has had one of the lowest excess mortalities in all Europe during the pandemic no matter how you cut the data,” Professor Bhattacharya said. “If lockdowns were necessary to prevent death it should have had one of the worst. Sweden served as a control group for the world in ethical pandemic management and it was a rousing success.”

He said the success Australia had in having “little Covid on the island for a full year came at tremendously high cost: 270 days of lockdown in Melbourne, ­essential imprisonment of the population”.

The underlying health of a country’s population (including rates of obesity), vaccination levels against Covid-19, and the capacity and quality of the available health care system best explained the widely different rates of excess deaths across countries, the OECD found.

Former US president Donald Trump in April 2020 said Sweden was “suffering badly” from its decision to follow its pandemic plan, but the US, where lockdowns pushed the jobless rate above 15 per cent in 2020, ended up with five times as many excess deaths as Sweden and the sixth worst outcome, according to the OECD data.

“Extended quarantining of healthy populations, the closing of schools, and massive violation of civil rights: these were never part of any pandemic plan that I’m aware of for respiratory viruses,” Professor Bhattacharya said.

Epidemiologists at the UK’s Imperial College, whose dire forecasts early in the pandemic convinced the UK and US to impose lockdowns in March 2020, forecast Sweden would endure 96,000 Covid-19 deaths by July 2020 if it didn’t follow China and then Italy in imposing lockdowns. After three years, Sweden has experienced 23,777 deaths from or with Covid-19, compared with Australia’s 19,477, according to the World Health Organisation.

Sweden’s population is older than Australia’s, with a median age of 41, compared with Australia’s 38.

“The principle of public health is that you can’t just focus on one disease; you have to look at cancer, cardiovascular disease and mental health,” Professor Kulldorff said.

He said Australia’s lockdowns had caused “huge collateral damage in public health, even if you ignore the impact on the economy and government finances”.

According to the IMF, Australia’s gross public debt as a share of GDP surged from 47 per cent to 59 per cent between 2019 and 2022, mainly as a result of federal and state stimulus programs that accompanied lockdowns, while Sweden’s public debt declined from 39 per cent to 31 per cent.

The OECD report found the number of in-person doctor consultations fell by an average of 17 per cent across OECD countries in 2020, and more than one in five people reported having forgone a needed medical examination.

Japan, whose then prime minster, the late Shinzo Abe, was also criticised for resisting a European-style lockdown of the densely populated island nation, had the lowest level of reported population sadness in 2020 (11 per cent), according to the OECD report, while Mexico and Colombia reported the highest, each above 30 per cent.

This new OECD analysis reflected the findings of the UK statistical agency, which found Sweden had the second lowest excess death rate in Europe.


Health minister warns further restrictions to come for the distribution of vapes

These things can be quite poisonous

New statistics have emerged detailing the rising number of children found ingesting nicotine as a result of vapes, causing health ministers across the country to action new regulations to the distribution of these harmful devices.

Despite the lack of evidence as to the long-term effects of vaping on human health, the smoking alternative has quickly become a major health concern across Australia.

Most recently, it’s been taking over school kids, with vaping now the biggest behavioural issue in primary schools.

Victorian health minister, Mark Butler has announced that a state-wide action plan will soon be enforced to put a stop to the harmful effects of vaping in children, after 50 kids under the age of four were found to have ingested nicotine as a result of the vaporised cigarettes.

“The Victorian poisons hotline has reported that in the last 12 months, more than 50 children under the age of four have had to be reported to the hotline because of the dangerous ingestion of nicotine,” Butler told ABC Radio.

“Four. This is now the biggest behavioural issue in primary schools.”

It comes after changes to the distribution legalities last year which saw all consumers required to obtain a prescription in order to purchase nicotine vaping devices.

A quick trip down to the local Cignall or TSG shop would confirm that this new policy has rarely been enforced. On top of this, a black market for e-cigarette distribution has emerged, largely targeting underage children.

Mr Butler says the emerging avenues for the retail of vapes and e-cigarettes has already singlehandedly began to undo the decades of work and effort to lower the rate of smoking in Australia, as well as cause a new, “very real harm to our children.”

“This is an industry that is trying to create a new generation of nicotine addicts so they get around all of the hard work our country and other countries have done over recent decades to stamp out smoking.”

Earlier this month, a video posted online saw an adult force an 11-month-old baby to suck on a vape, proving further that there is a severe lack of education as to the damaging effects vaping has on our health.

Adding to the insane discoveries of vaping in children, Mr Butler cited that a young child was found to be hiding a vape in her pencil case at school, disguising it as a highlighter so she could use it between classes.

According to the Lung Foundation Australia, there is a widespread misconception surrounding vaping, denoting it as a harmless water vapour product, where in fact, it is a product of “toxic particles”.

Vapes are known to emit a number of harmful compounds, including: formaldehyde and acrolein, “which can cause irreversible lung damage,” as well as propylene glycol, “which is toxic to human cells”.

As vapes are still relatively new, the long-term effects are yet to be measured, though if they are to hold similar health concerns as smoking, it’s likely that cancer and early death are two very likely consequences.

Mr Butler said “all options were on the table” when it comes to addressing the rising health concern, including a greater crackdown on down on import controls and stricter regulations on sales.

Nationals party leader David Littleproud also made a stern claim that attractive packaging made to lure children to the products should be banned. “We have to get ahead of this because children are the ones that are the victims of this,” Mr Littleproud said on Tuesday.

One thing that Mr Butler is sure about is that normalisation of vaping will not be on the cards.

“We can’t just say oh, well, it’s all too hard, let’s just normalise it because we know why these products exist,” he said. “These products are pushed so hard by the tobacco industry is because they want to create a pathway back to cigarettes.”




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