Citizen Journalism

Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

What’s it all about, the Coalition no show for disability, no to MP to care for sick baby?

In Federal Election, Health, NDIS, Noely Neate on May 16, 2013 at 1:21 PM


By Noely Neate

May 16, 2013

If you missed it, see last night’s awe inspiring rant by Mr Richard Chirgwin about the Coalition not bothering to turn up for the introduction of the Disability Care Bill. I had hoped that our media would report this lack of respect this morning, but no.

Did you know that Mr Abbott’s reply speech to the budget is more important than a mother taking time off work to care for her sick baby? It is. The Coalition did not grant ALP MP Michelle Rowland a ‘pair’ so she could fly home to care for 14 month old baby: Opposition blocks bid to be with sick baby.


So let’s re-cap. In one 24 hour period, our Coalition Opposition and soon to be our Rulers as the Australian media keep telling me (personally I would prefer to actually vote first) have insulted every disabled person in this country by not bothering to attend the Bill’s introduction.  I am sure the Coalition will backtrack on Ms Rowland’s dilemma, and there will be excuses of “Not being aware of the seriousness of the pairing request” blah blah.

What the Coalition cannot backtrack on is their non-attendance in Parliament yesterday.  Yes a budget is important, but it happens every year. This historic Bill is a one-off.  It should have been a day of celebration for the disabled, their families and their friends, and a celebration of our nation shared by all!

The relief for so many in this country who live in fear that they will die and not be able to care for adult disabled children is more important than a budget response. The fact that a family with a disabled child will be able to move State to better their circumstances if the opportunity arises due to standard nation-wide care is more important than a budget response. The simple promise that carers of the many disabled in this country have some surety about the future of their families is more important than a budget response.

I could give many more examples.  The very least the Coalition could have done was attend this sitting to show that they supported these people.

It has been suggested this morning that the ‘No-Show’ is not really that big a deal, as it has already been made clear that they would support it. I am sorry, but I disagree. Our MPs are employed to represent US, the Australian people, in the electorates where they were privileged enough to receive a vote of confidence from us, that they would represent our interests to the best of their ability.  Unless all these members that did not bother turning up for Parliament do not have any disabled in their electorates, I fail to see how that is representing their electorate?

Mr Abbott will have nothing to offer in his Budget reply except to say ‘This is a bad Government, ‘This Government can’t be trusted” blah blah.  You can guarantee that all of the Coalition have bums on seats to cheer Mr Abbott on.

The media are already setting the stage for Mr Abbott’s wonderful reply speech, as it will be – just ask them. It has been the lead story on all the TV stations.  Not one whimper about the total lack of respect afforded the disabled community yesterday, barely a mention of the pairing rejection. though anyone want to take odds when they invariably backflip on that there will be plenty of airtime given to it.  The producers of these News shows that decided the lack of support for this bill and blatant disrespect shown to the disabled by the Coalition was NOT news should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

The Opposition #NDIS no show. A rant from the heart by @R_Chirgwin

In Federal Election, Health, Ideology, Liberal Party, NDIS on May 13, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Wed, May 16 2013
People’s obligation in the first instance is to be in this Parliament.  — Warren Entsch:
  1. The LNP’s absence in Parliament in the chamber for the NDIS legislation … atrocious. Nutlessness as a service.
  2. So, Abbott tells the whip “nobody attend”. Whip tells nutless sheep “nobody attend”. What a grovelling bunch of coprophages they are.
  3. A minimal gesture of respect to the disabled would have put at least Abbott in the chamber for the NDIS first reading. (Yes I’m ranting)
  4. (Mute me if you like. Fight me if you dare) Abbott’s absence is the mark of the petty, vindictive, vicious, gratuitously nasty …
  5. … proud-to-hate, revelling in despising those who don’t fit his fresh-from-knuckle-dragging American philosophy … a shrivelled, heartless…
  6. …horror of a pond-scum, a dweller in the arse of life, a devourer of misery, the kith and kin, pith and epitome of the worst of Rand.
  7. Had Tony Abbott the faint shreds of decency you could attribute to a hyena, he’d have been present in the chamber. But …
  8. … This scummy vote-grubber, this little poseur of stunts, this infamous little ponce for whom “conscience” hangs in the wardrobe …
  9. … holding second place to his “imitation suit of the Lizard People” can’t manage to actually warm the SEAT HE WAS ELECTED TO …
  10. … to honour a move that is in favour of one of the most suffering groups of society. This man sucks shit lozenges and smiles.
  11. As for the rest of the LNP members. Having been lettuce-whipped into panting submission by your great leader, not one – NOT ONE of you…

The MSM’s NDIS: Make the frame, change the frame, WTFs the frame?

In Federal Election, Health, NDIS, Tony The Geek on May 4, 2013 at 9:53 PM

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By Tony ‘The Geek’ Yegles

May 4 2013

I was fascinated by the media’s framing of the NDIS debate this week. Within 48 hours it moved from reporting a naked tax grab by the Prime Minister, to a worthy initiative when Mr Abbott put the national interest ahead of his political interest. Update below May 15 2014

November 29 2012 – NDIS Bill is introduced in Parliament with Coalition absent.

NDIS Bill Introduction 29/11/2012

Tony Abbott: “We have supported the NDIS every step of the way.” NDIS Bill Introduction 29/11/2012 with only 6 LNP MPs present.

December 6 2012 – NSW signs on to the NDIS

PM Julia Gillard, NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell and NSW Disability Services Minister Andrew Constance at NDIS press conference in Canberra on Thursday 6 December 2012. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

PM Julia Gillard, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and NSW Disability Services Minister Andrew Constance at NDIS press conference in Canberra on Thursday 6 December 2012. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

In the lead up to the NDIS Medicare Levy announcement, Joe Hockey and News Limited were the fiercest critics.

Falling revenue forecasts mean Gonski and NDIS reforms are unaffordable: Joe Hockey

Monday April 29: Government leaks the possibility of Medicare Levy

Economists say levy needed to fund NDIS

Levy on table to fund $15bn NDIS


Interestingly the above story and headline in the print edition of The Australian was changed online from Abbott blasts plans for a levy to fund the NDIS to Julia Gillard expected to reveal NDIS levy details Read the rest of this entry »

Australia’s failure to act on antibiotic resistance risks lives

In Health, Research on April 2, 2013 at 11:24 AM


By Kerrie Tucker
March 31, 2013

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ve known for many years that antibiotic resistance is a clear and present danger to public health. There have been countless headline stories on the matter, and growing evidence that antibiotics in our food is adding to the problem. Yet a terrible failure of public policy in Australia  means we are still virtually at ground zero in addressing the issue, with a Senate inquiry now starting all over again.

What went wrong?

Kerrie Tucker is a friend of mine, and one of the people who helped save my life after my breakdown in late 2005. She was the first Greens MP elected to the ACT Parliament, and is distinguished by her deep interest in evidence based policy and practice, as distinct from the politics of politics. Since her retirement from politics, she’s been having her first go at investigative journalism on the issue of where Australia is at in combatting antibiotics resistance for the Australia Institute.

I read a draft of her report when I visited her new home in the hills behind Melbourne in November, and was shocked by its tale of the collapse of a top priority policy response laid to waste by bureaucracy, failure of co-ordination, big business and a failure of leadership. Yet it is a story that is hard to sell to mainstream media because of the structural nature of the scandal. Interesting, but too complicated, Kerrie feels. So the headline grabbers on the problem continue, without context.

The Greens Senator for Victoria Richard de Natale is a medical doctor, and has convinced colleagues to establish a Senate Inquiry  into AMR to look at the issue yet again. ‘If we don’t learn from the past, this inquiry will have no different result,” Kerrie said. ‘We still have no national approach to drug regulation, and we still have no surveillance of antibiotic use.’

Perhaps we need an activist academic like Dr Simon Chapman, who popularised and drove debate on the danger of smoking, to drive this debate in public.

Anyway, here is a piece by Kerrie on the sad history of public non-policy on the matter. I’d like @NoFibs to keep tabs on the issue and welcome participation by readers. And here’s a challenge for citizen journos. There are several great news stories in the report – how about writing one for @NoFibs?


Margaret Chan, Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO) warned in 2012 that “Unless we solve the problem of antimicrobial resistance to drugs, we will be facing a post-antibiotic era where things as common as a strep throat infection or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill.”  

The Australia Institute’s  recent policy brief Culture of Resistance-Australia’s response to the inappropriate use of antimicrobials  looks at how successive Australian governments have responded to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the emergence of superbugs.

Of particular importance in Australia’s response to AMR was the 1999 establishment of The Joint Expert Technical Advisory Committee on Antibiotic Resistance (JETACAR), set up to provide independent scientific advice on the threat posed by antibiotic resistance by looking at antibiotic use in human medicine and in animals. The Government accepted the recommendations of JETACAR; stating there was international concern about AMR and that Australia needed to respond with strategies that were ‘consistent with and complementary to global initiatives’.

The Institute’s paper provides a snapshot of progress since the release of the 1999 report using information gained through interviews with experts, Freedom of Information requests and publicly available information. It reveals that while initially there was commitment to implementing the recommendations of the 1999 JETACAR Report, many initiatives failed to result in any comprehensive systematic response to the issue.

Committees, task forces and groups were set up but disbanded, strategies were developed but not implemented, pilot programmes failed to be anything other than pilot programs, undertakings were not carried out. In other words, the ball was dropped pretty quickly.

Of particular concern is the failure to develop a comprehensive national surveillance system of both usage and resistance to antibiotics. This was recommended in the 1999 report and is called for by the World Health Organisation.   Such data is essential for effective management of AMR. A surveillance strategy was developed by the government in 2003, and another in 2006 for an expert advisory group, but neither was implemented in any meaningful way. Read the rest of this entry »