Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Ministers accused of untruths about Aboriginal woes


December 29, 2009

DARWIN: Government ministers and departments are suppressing the truth about the malaise in Aboriginal communities, according to the public servant in charge of the Northern Territory's key indigenous policy.

Bob Beadman said the natural tendency of ministers and departments - local and federal - to portray themselves in the best light promoted the positives rather than the negatives.

''Consequently parliaments and the public alike develop a skewed picture because the broader truth has been suppressed," he said.

Mr Beadman said the territory's Working Future policy to develop 20 indigenous growth towns, which he is overseeing, would require "patience, commitment and nerve", and positive outcomes would be elusive.

"We will need to remind ourselves regularly that the current condition has been at least 30 years in the making and the attitudes of many in those communities, and indeed many in government service, have become entrenched, or conditioned to an acceptance that all is right," he said.

Mr Beadman, who was appointed the territory's co-ordinator-general for remote services in June, after more than 40 years handling indigenous issues in the territory and federal public services, made the comments in a report posted on www.workingfuture.nt.gov.au.

But in a news release about the report, the territory's Indigenous Policy Minister, Malarndirri McCarthy, commented only on positive aspects and avoided Mr Beadman's criticism.

He warned that the building of houses, roads and sewerage was the easy part in ending indigenous disadvantage.

"The rebuilding of people, the restoration of their pride and self-worth is far more difficult and more important. If, again, indigenous people sit under a tree and watch this frenetic effect by government agencies of every kind with increasing astonishment, we will have squandered another opportunity for social reconstruction."

There were signs already that indigenous people were not taking up available work in shires and shops and job centres reported that many job offers were declined, he said.

"We must start to see some breaching of welfare recipients who decline work. Working Future represents a social reconstruction program of audacious scale. Yet I fear most see it as simply correcting infrastructure deficits."

Mr Beadman said it was widely accepted that closed communities and the availability of extensive welfare benefits without mutual obligation, obviating the need to work, had meant there was negligible private sector business investment in remote communities.

There were numerous examples of engagement with communities ''where teams of fly-in bureaucrats appear and develop plans, to the utter bemusement of the local people".

Referring to criticism that the NT had been "gilding the lily" on the amount of federal funds needed to counter disadvantage in centres such as Darwin and Alice Springs, Mr Beadman said budget explanations could be improved.

Mr Beadman is chairman of the NT Grants Commission, which allocates federal funding.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Yahoo 7 News 12.12.09

The prime minister is under pressure to rethink his border protection policy, with overcrowding at Christmas Island forcing asylum seekers into tents.

As officials began processing the latest group of asylum seekers to arrive in Australian waters, the Department of Immigration confirmed detention facilities on the island were being stretched to their limits.

The recent surge in arrivals has forced the government to expand the island's detention capacity from 1400 to about 2200 beds.
But much of the additional accommodation will not be ready until March next year, forcing the government to use tents in the meantime.

Of the 1177 people currently held in the Christmas Island detention centre, 61 are in tents which have a capacity to house 160 asylum seekers.
Another 271 are in detention in other facilities on the island.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's border protection regime had failed to stem the flow of asylum seekers to Australia.
"The answer is not to put up more tents and buy more bunk beds. The answer is to stop the boats," he told AAP.

"It highlights the manifest failure of his policy."
The prime minister had shown a complete lack of resolve in addressing the asylum seeker issue, Mr Morrison said.

"This should be the final warning for the government to redress the changes in policy that they made and ensure they put in place a border protection regime so the policies they pursue and the messages they send are as clear as they were under the coalition."
The Australian Greens said it was time for the Rudd government to consider processing asylum seekers on the mainland.

"Housing traumatised asylum seekers on a remote island in the middle of nowhere is not the correct approach, particularly when the government is reduced to pitching tents to put people in," Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said.
There were a variety of options available to the government, including processing asylum seekers in Darwin, Sydney or Melbourne and housing people in community detention on the mainland, she said.

"Any of these options would be better than what we have now, which is a short-term, blinkered, Howard-era approach to asylum seekers."
However, Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard rejected suggestions the arrival of a string of asylum seeker boats in the past week was evidence the government's policies were not working.

"If the measure is to be the number of boats that arrived, there was no evidence that the policies of the Howard government were working," Ms Gillard said.
"After they introduced, for example, temporary protection visas, the number of arrivals went up."

The latest boat of asylum seekers carrying 60 passengers arrived at Christmas Island on Thursday afternoon after avoiding interception by border protection authorities.
It is the 54th boat to arrive this year and the fourth in the space of a week.

Ms Gillard said occasionally boats did elude border security patrols.
"We have more border security patrols, more border security presence in our waters to the north, than was there under the previous government," she said.

"Under the previous government from time to time there were boats that made it through. That will happen, but we have stepped up our border security presence."

Friday, December 11, 2009


Years Of Deceit:

US Openly Accepts Bin Laden Long Dead

By Gordon Duff

Senior Editor

Distributed by George Burchett, People's Republic, 11.12.2009

December 10, 2009 "Veterans Today" -- Conservative commentator, former Marine Colonel Bob Pappas has been saying for years that bin Laden died at Tora Bora and that Senator Kerry's claim that bin Laden escaped with Bush help was a lie. Now we know that Pappas was correct. The embarassment of having Secretary of State Clinton talk about bin Laden in Pakistan was horrific. He has been dead since December 13, 2001 and now, finally, everyone, Obama, McChrystal, Cheney, everyone who isn't nuts is finally saying what they have known for years.

However, since we lost a couple of hundred of our top special operations forces hunting for bin Laden after we knew he was dead, is someone going to answer for this with some jail time? Since we spent 200 million dollars on "special ops" looking for someone we knew was dead, who is going to jail for that? Since Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney continually talked about a man they knew was dead, now known to be for reasons of POLITICAL nature, who is going to jail for that? Why were tapes brought out, now known to be forged, as legitimate intelligence to sway the disputed 2004 election in the US? This is a criminal act if there ever was one.

In 66 pages, General Stanley McChrystal never mentions Osama bin Laden. Everything is "Mullah Omar"now. In his talk at West Point, President Obama never mentioned Osama bin Laden. Col. Pappas makes it clear, Vice President Cheney let it "out of the bag" long ago. Bin Laden was killed by American troops many many years ago.

America knew Osama bin Laden died December 13, 2001. After that, his use was hardly one to unite America but rather one to divide, scam and play games. With bin Laden gone, we could have started legitimate nation building in Afghanistan instead of the eternal insurgency that we invented ourselves.

Without our ill informed policies, we could have had a brought diplomatic solution in 2002 in Afghanistan, the one we are ignoring now, and spent money rebuilding the country, 5 cents on the dollar compared to what we are spending fighting a war against an enemy we ourselves recruited thru ignorance.

The bin Laden scam is one of the most shameful acts ever perpetrated against the American people. We don't even know if he really was an enemy, certainly he was never the person that Bush and Cheney said. In fact, the Bush and bin Laden families were always close friends and had been for many years.

What kind of man was Osama bin Laden? This one time American ally against Russia, son of a wealthy Saudi family, went to Afghanistan to help them fight for their freedom. America saw him as a great hero then. Transcripts of the real bin Laden show him to be much more moderate than we claim, angry at Israel and the US government but showing no anger toward Americans and never making the kind of theats claimed. All of this is public record for any with the will to learn.

osama_bush_capturedHow much of America's tragedy is tied with these two children of the rich, children of families long joined thru money and friendship, the Bush and bin Laden clans.

One son died in remote mountains, another lives in a Dallas suburb hoping nobody is sent after him. One is a combat veteran, one never took a strong stand unless done from safety and comfort. Islam once saw bin Laden as a great leader. Now he is mostly forgotten.

What has America decided about Bush?

We know this: Bin Laden always denied any ties to 9/11 and, in fact, has never been charged in relation to 9/11. He not only denied involvement, but had done so, while alive, 4 times and had vigorously condemned those who were involved in the attack.

This is on the public record, public in every free country except ours. We, instead, showed films made by paid actors, made up to look somewhat similar to bin Laden, actors who contradicted bin Ladens very public statements, actors pretending to be bin Laden long after bin Laden's death.

These were done to help justify spending, repressive laws, torture and simple thievery.

For years, we attacked the government of Pakistan for not hunting down someone everyone knew was dead. Bin Laden's death hit the newspapers in Pakistan on December 15, 2001. How do you think our ally felt when they were continually berated for failing to hunt down and turn over someone who didn't exist?

What do you think this did for American credibility in Pakistan and thru the Islamic world? Were we seen as criminals, liars or simply fools? Which one is best?

This is also treason.

How does the death of bin Laden and the defeat and dismemberment of Al Qaeda impact the intelligence assessments, partially based on, not only bin Laden but Al Qaeda activity in Iraq that,not only never happened but was now known to have been unable to happen?

How many "Pentagon Pundits," the retired officers who sold their honor to send us to war for what is now known to be domestic political dirty tricks and not national security are culpable in these crimes?

I don't always agree with Col. Pappas on things. I believe his politics overrule his judgement at times. However, we totally agree on bin Laden, simply disagree with what it means. To me lying and sending men to their deaths based on lies is treason.

Falsifying military intelligence and spending billions on unnecessary military operations for political reasons is an abomination. Consider this, giving billions in contracts to GOP friends who fill campaign coffers, and doing so based on falsified intelligence is insane. This was done for years.

We spent 8 years chasing a dead man, spending billions, sending FBI agents, the CIA, Navy Seals, Marine Force Recon, Special Forces, many to their deaths, as part of a political campaign to justify running American into debt, enriching a pack of political cronies and war profiteers and to puff up a pack of Pentagon peacocks and their Whitehouse draft dodging bosses.

How many laws were pushed thru because of a dead man?

How many hundreds were tortured to find a dead man?

How many hundreds died looking for a dead man?

How many billions were spent looking for a dead man?

Every time Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld stood before troops and talked about hunting down the dead bin Laden, it was a dishonor. Lying to men and women who put their lives on the line is not a joke.duffster

Who is going to answer to the families of those who died for the politics and profit tied to the Hunt for Bin Laden?

Veterans Today Senior Editor Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and regular contributor on political and social issues.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Red News Readers,

Perhaps Debra Picone and Ken Barker could make a personal Christmas donation to those hospital wards where nurses can’t do their job properly because they don’t have the basic equipment like stethoscopes, sphymanometers, ECG paper, dressings, basic medications, blue sheets for incontinent patients to sit on, and I could go on!! It is symptomatic of NSW Health that the bureaucrats are taking home large pay packets and health services can’t pay their bills and staff can’t supply patients, the taxpaying people of NSW with their entitlement to basic health services.

Jenny Haines

Health woes fail to hurt bosses' pay


December 8, 2009, smh

NSW hospitals have gone over budget by almost $160 million in the past financial year - and still owe $70 million in unpaid accounts, the NSW Health annual report shows.

But its top five bureaucrats have been paid almost $1.8 million between them, including a salary of more than $411,000 for the department's director-general, Debora Picone.

Professor Picone's four deputies were each paid between $309,000 and $366,000 while the chief financial officer, Ken Barker, responsible for managing the department's budget, was paid $292,000.

The high salaries were paid even though most hospitals failed to meet several important targets: more patients are waiting longer to be transferred from ambulance stretchers into emergency departments and too many are having their surgery cancelled on the day it is scheduled.

The four area health services which ''contributed significantly to the unfavourable'' blow-out were Sydney West, Northern Sydney Central Coast, North Coast and Greater Western. The department said it would crack down on hospitals failing to meet budget and would closely monitor staffing costs, which constitute the largest part of the budget.

Six area health services also failed to meet the 45-day benchmark to pay creditors, owing more than $69 million. Another $81,000 was outstanding at the end of the financial year, but ''suppliers were paid in the next available creditor payment run'', the report said. Those struggling to pay bills have been ordered to detail how their creditor problem will be solved.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Red News Readers,

Yes Workchoices is gone and the employers still rule because the unions are so disempowered. Workplace organisation seems to be a thing of the past. The Head Offices of unions are filled with careerists waiting for their seat in parliament. Those who do resist the modern working arrangements can end up losing career prospects or even their job. Whether you like unions or not, it was unionists of the past who fought for and won the 40 hour, and then the 38, and the 35 hour week,

Jenny Haines

Slaves to the overtime habit fail to loosen the shackles


December 7, 2009

Australians clock up 2 billion hours of overtime a year.

So it turns out we can't blame the boss. A nation of overworked desk zombies, we chain ourselves to the office chair.

The Australia Institute's Go Home on Time Day was recently embraced by tens of thousands of white collar workers as a collective action against the 2 billion hours in unpaid overtime Australians clock up each year.

But on the day, nearly half of the would-be protesters - lawyers, teachers, engineers, advertising whizzes, bankers, scientists and more - failed miserably in breaking the overtime habit.

Overwhelmingly, they said they could not leave on time because there was too much to do (68 per cent). But they also confessed they had gotten into ''the zone'', that something interesting had come along, that the meeting ran late, that the computer wasn't printing, that an important email popped up - or they forgot.

The raw email feedback sent to the institute by some of the 20,000 people who had tried to take part showed that most of them were acutely aware of how damaging the creeping ubiquity of unpaid overtime in the workplace can be. Emails oozed suffering and a longing for the lost 38-hour week.

People complained they didn't eat properly or pay their bills on time. There were repeated tales of husbands, wives and empty homes as couples ''influenced each other'' to work extreme hours.

One emailer lamented: ''If only one of us was home waiting for the other then we'd probably leave earlier, have time to make dinner properly, and do some exercise. But when you know that the other one might be happy to work until 7pm or 8pm and you don't have to worry about it, we create mutual bad habits.''

Another declared that working in a call centre was better than his current 70-hour-a-week salaried job, where he calculated he was probably working twice the hours he was paid for. ''I have no time for exercise and no time to see my friends, let alone spend time with my girlfriend. On my one day off I'm so tired I lie down all day at home . . . life sucks when there is no time to live it. I am a slave.''

Some were bleak: ''Unpaid overtime is the key reason for my depression. I wish I had a boss who would not think that leaving at 5.30pm is an early mark.''

And another: ''I manage to get quality sleep two nights per week - Friday and Saturday. I just want to run away and cry.'' Public servants grumbled that they, too, had a right to a life.

The entire country was in need of a culture shift, they chorused. A North American, shocked by our obsessive, long working hours, complained: ''I am exhausted. I moved to the southern hemisphere to slow down and relax. Obviously Australia was the wrong choice.'' But, surprisingly, fewer people directly blamed the boss for their inability to work a reasonable day than other factors, including their own martyrdom.

They said they worked longer for their own sanity - otherwise the work wouldn't get done. They said after-hours was a more productive time in the office because it was quieter. Or they wanted to be helpful.

One person was so used to working a 10-hour day ''that when I leave on time I feel like I'm actually cheating the company. I get the guilts.''

Other failed protesters said they stayed on simply because it felt odd to go home before dark.

Unless we really want to go home, the boss will never see the light.

From the thousands who did leave promptly, there were delighted reports of having rediscovered some of life's less pressing pleasures - playing with the kids, walking the dog, even household chores. ''I mowed the lawn. It was nice,'' said an emailer.

The NSW Business Chamber suggests workers may have the same approach to going home on time as the many people who sign up for a gym class each year - we know what's good for us, but never quite get there. (Or perhaps a nation of fat, stressed-out overworkers don't get to the gym because they're still at work.)

Curbing spiralling overtime could come down to refocusing on another kind of collective guilt.

Overworked martyrs rarely think of themselves as selfish or greedy - there is hardly a financial imperative when you are giving it all for free.

But if we are prepared to put up with the stresses long hours inflict on our own health and lifestyle, perhaps we should give more thought to the impact our seemingly diligent hard work is having on others: colleagues who feel compelled to stay if everyone else is, partners eating takeaway for one again, or the howling dog in the courtyard.

Kirsty Needham is a Herald journalist.

Ads by Google

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Nurse struck off for having sex with depressed patient


December 3, 2009, smh

A NURSE who told a mentally ill patient at Blue Mountains Hospital that she loved her and later had a sexual relationship with her has been struck off the register for a year for professional misconduct.

Susan Tate, who has 20 years' nursing experience, put her needs above that of a vulnerable woman with borderline personality disorder and a long history of depression, a tribunal has found.

Ms Tate, an enrolled nurse, gave the woman her rose quartz ring to wear while she was staying in the acute ward of the mental health unit at the hospital in June 2007, her second admission for that year.

Ms Tate also gave the patient marijuana, knowing she was on antidepressants, after she was discharged and moved in with her for a few days. The patient and her two sons then moved in with Ms Tate in late July and stayed there for two months. The Nurses and Midwives Tribunal of NSW ordered on November 26 that Ms Tate be struck off for a year and said that she lacked insight into the effect her actions had on the patient, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

''Ms Tate said she knew of [the woman's] psychiatric condition and eating disorder, so she knew of Patient A's particular vulnerabilities,'' the tribunal said in its judgment.

''Nevertheless [Ms Tate] allowed this relationship to develop over time into a full-blown sexual relationship because of her needs for such a relationship.

''This was a serious breach of boundaries in which Ms Tate put her needs above that of a psychiatrically ill patient.''

The friendship began when the patient was in hospital from April 17 to May 3, 2007. It then developed during her second admission that year, from June 15 to July 3.

Ms Tate told the patient in April words to the effect, ''you don't belong in a mental health unit'' and that she was attractive and articulate. In June, she hugged the patient and told her that she loved her and they discussed the issue of sexuality.

''We talked about what gay sex was like and she kind-of joked about that … but I told her that I had not been in a gay relationship before so I really didn't know anything much about it, and she said, 'That doesn't matter,' the patient told the tribunal.

''She said that she loved me and at that stage I was feeling totally unlovable and, you know, unloved, really, and so I said, 'Yeah, I love you too'.''

Ms Tate left her employment in August 2007.


Phillip Coorey and Peter Hartcher

3 December 2009, SMH

TONY ABBOTT has defiantly flagged the reintroduction of individual workplace agreements and given notice the Coalition will oppose the Rudd Government's next big reform - the federal takeover of public hospitals.

Mr Abbott also said Federal Parliament should have the same power to override state parliaments as it has to override the territories, and the states should be able to raise taxes to cover spending requirements.

In an exclusive interview with the Herald, Mr Abbott indicated he would not be cowed by Government attempts to link him with a return to Work Choices.

‘‘Our policy will be to have freer, more flexible and fair labour markets without going near that dreaded policy that must not speak its name.’’ ... Tony Abbott yesterday. Photo: Jacky Ghossein

The Rudd Government banned individual Australian Workplace Agreements when it abolished Work Choices but made interim arrangements that allowed existing agreements to continue for up to five years. Mr Abbott said these agreements should be made permanent.

''If it's good enough for the Labor Government on an interim basis, I don't see why they can't continue,'' he said.

''Whatever they are called, if it's good enough for the Labor Government to have an individual, non-union statutory contract, I don't see why it can't continue.''

Labor was wrong to ''re-regulate the labor market'' but he rejected he would re-embrace Work Choices.

''Our policy will be to have freer, more flexible and fair labour markets without going anywhere near that dreaded policy that must not speak its name.''

As Mr Abbott spoke to the Herald, the Senate defeated the emissions trading scheme, handing the Government a double dissolution election trigger.

Next week, Kevin Rudd will put to the premiers his draft proposals for greater federal control of the public hospital system, including a financial takeover. If the states do not accept his plan by March, he will seek an election mandate.

But Mr Abbott, who supported a federal takeover of hospitals when he was health minister, said the policy would be ''another fudge'' and it was highly unlikely the Opposition would support it.

''The Rudd Government will never do it,'' he said.

''There are too many state Labor governments, there are too many public sector unions that rely on the current arrangement, too many local politicians are dependent on those unions.

''I think it is hugely improbable he is going to come up with a policy we are going to support.''

Mr Abbott defended his combative style. ''Our job is not to make the Government's life easy, our job is to make the Government's life hard,'' he said.

He said the policy about-face that killed the emissions trading scheme was necessary to rally the party's base. ''What we were previously asked to do was to go against every instinct of politics and that was agree with your opponents on a really contentious piece of legislation where your heartland supporters were extremely anxious or angry. That's always a problem.''

He was disappointed the Liberal senators Sue Boyce and Judith Troeth defied his leadership and crossed the floor but was prepared to forgive.

''I'm a little disappointed that we didn't stick to the last man and the last woman, but nevertheless I understand how they felt and I respect their position.''

Mr Abbott promised that now he was leader, he would respect the party's processes and not unilaterally set policy.

He said the many policy ideas proposed in his book Battlelines, published this year, were OK to advance as a frontbencher but not as leader.

However, Mr Abbott maintained the system of federation was dysfunctional and he was keen to explore two ideas in his book. One was to give Federal Parliament the power to override the states like it can the territories and another was ''giving the states taxing powers commensurate with their spending responsibilities''.


Job security draws school leavers to nursing, teaching


December 5, 2009 SMH

THE number of university applicants wanting to study nursing or education has risen rapidly with the promise of greater job security.

The Universities Admissions Centre said 80,211 people had applied this year to study at universities in NSW and the ACT - 2600 more than last year.

The applicants - mainly year 12 school leavers, although there have been reports of more mature-age entrants - will find out on January 20 if they have succeeded in securing a place in their chosen course.

The University of Sydney attracted the most first preferences, with 15,579 applicants. Law, pharmacy, dentistry, education, social work and science attracted the most interest.

Nursing and other health-related fields, as well as education, registered strong interest.

In the 2009-10 budget, the Federal Government announced financial incentives for students studying teaching or nursing who went on to work in those professions - graduates were entitled to an incentive of up to $1558.50 for the 2009-10 financial year. They receive the indexed payment for five years of eligible employment.

The University of Western Sydney (UWS) received more than 1100 first preferences for its bachelor of nursing degree.

At Charles Sturt University, the nursing-paramedics double degree and clinical practice paramedic program attracted 220 first preferences.

Professor Beryl Hesketh, the executive dean of the UWS College of Health and Science, said a growing number of school leavers and people wanting to upgrade qualifications were gravitating towards professional fields like nursing.

''It's also a profession that people can come to later in life as they look for a career change. Nurses also take the opportunity to upgrade their qualifications, particularly if they are returning to the profession after a career break,'' she said. ''For a number of years now there have been concerted workforce campaigns to attract more people into the nursing profession and boost the numbers of nurses for our hospitals and health services.

''Professions like nursing offer stability and job security - particularly during times of economic uncertainty.''

Lucie Parkin, the UAC communications officer, said slightly more than half of all applicants received an offer to study their first preference. She said that only 65 per cent of offers made in 2009 resulted in actual enrolments.

''Year 12 applicants tend to include more preferences than other applicants, with many listing the maximum nine preferences,'' she said.

''In many cases the courses they include as their first and second preferences are 'wishes' - courses they would really like to receive an offer for, but which, in previous years, had an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank cut-off higher than they expect to achieve.''

UAC expects about 20,000 students to change their preferences after they receive their ATAR on December 17.

''Knowing their ATAR and looking at ATAR cut-offs from previous years, they review and change their preferences based on what they would really like to do, balanced by a realistic appraisal of courses to which they may qualify for admission,'' Ms Parkin said.

University of Western Sydney: Business, commerce and nursing

Charles Sturt: Policing, nursing, paramedic studies and education

Sydney: Law, pharmacy, dentistry and education

Australian Catholic University: Nursing and education

UNSW: Optometry and science

UNE: Sports science and pharmacy

SCU: Primary education and nursing

UTS: Science and nursing

Wollongong: Creative arts, engineering and law

Macquarie: Commerce and law