Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Let's talk about education funding under a hard-right Morrison Coalition Government


If one attempts to assess access and equity in education across Australian society there is a measurement tool available which gives some indication.

The Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) is a scale that represents levels of educational advantage based on the relationship between the educational advantage a student has, as measured by the parents’ occupation and level of education completed, and their educational achievement.

This measurement as applied to a school is broken down into five factors:
1. Parents’ Occupation
2. Parents’ Education
3. Geographical Location
4. Percentage of Aboriginal students
5. Percentage of disadvantaged LBOTE students.

Therefore if the majority of a school's population come from families where one or both parents had a tertiary-level education and the employed parent/s has a profession, or is self-employed or in a management position and these families live in suburbs where the median household income is above the average for the region and, there are fewer indigenous and/or disadvantaged students in the school population – then the community socio-educational advantage score will be higher for that school.

According to http://www.schoolcatchment.com.au  the Top 20 Australian Primary Schools for 2016 were:

PRIMARY SCHOOLS  (combined ICSEA score as a percentage of all Number One schools)

Sydney Grammar School – 100%
Presbyterian Ladies' College – 99.69%
St Aloysius' College – 97.57%
Abbotsleigh – 95.26%
Yarwun State School* – 95.20%
St Andrews Christian College – 94.39%
Northcross Christian School – 94.20%
Huntingtower School – 94.14%
Haileybury College – 93.98%
Meriden School – 93.86%
Matthew Pearce Public School* – 93.81%
John Colet School – 93.79%
Arkana College – 93.61%
Burwood East Primary School* – 93.33%
Artarmon Public School* – 93.28%
Camberwell Girls Grammar School – 93.09%
Woollahra Public School* – 92.96%
Fintona Girls' School – 92.92%
Hornsby North Public School* – 92.68%
Serpell Primary School* – 92.68%.

Only 7 government schools across the country are in the Top 20 Primary Schools.

While 47 of the Top 100 Primary Schools are government schools.

Conversely the Top 20 Australian Secondary Schools for 2016 are dominated by government selective schools.

However, 73 of the Top 100 Secondary Schools are non-government schools.

When it comes to the total Australian primary & secondary school student population, Independent schools enrol 5% of children from below the ICSEA benchmark average, Catholic schools enrol 11% of children below the benchmark average and Government schools which enrol est. 65% of all children also enrol 52% of children below the benchmark average.


Yet under a Morrison Coalition Government $4.5 billion in additional funding is to be given to private schools – most of which do not appear to require this additional funding to produce high education outcomes.

Apparently Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison and his hard-right cronies consider only families from the likes of Vaucluse, Point Piper, Toorak, Bulimba, Cottesloe, Mosman Park, Forrest, Red Hill, Rose Park and Sandy Bay are the type of people who "have a go" and therefore deserve to get "a fair go".

Aged Care in Australia 2018: why government and the aged care industry make one want to weep in frustration


"The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members." [Attributed to Mahatma Ghandhi]

A little over five months ago the ABC program "4 Corners" asked people to contact its office to talk about their experience of the aged care system as staff, client or family member of an older person. 

Over four thousand Australians responded and the "Who Cares?" episode was produced and then aired on national television on 17 September 2018.

The day before this episode was scheduled for viewing Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison made a rush announcement of a Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety - no terms of reference and no start date specified.

This royal commission if it goes forward this year will be the 21st review of the aged care system since 1997 - that's 21 reviews in 21 years.

Twenty-one years in which not one federal or state government has come to grips with the fact that there is a two-tier care system in operation based on the older person's ability to pay.

This plays out almost as apartheid in many aged care facilities, with separate wings in the building/s, separate nursing & other staff, separate meal choices and recreational activities.

It is also twenty-one more years in which older people of limited means have been almost warehoused. Receiving at best what can only be described as benign neglect and at worst extreme abuse.

No-one appears to being asking why so many older people entering residential care die within four years of admission (with death occurring on average around 2.5 years after admission) and why there is such a high percentage of premature deaths.

The incidence of premature and therefore potentially preventable death from the 11 principal external causes identified in a 2016 epidemiological analysis is apparently not going down over time and over the last ten or so years appears to be rising.

For over two decades registered charities, consumer groups and government watchdogs have never truly comes to grips with the basic realities of this two-tier care system.

A system which sees vulnerable older people verbally abused, threatened, physically beaten and deliberately denied appropriate basic care - reports of which can be found in the records of the federal Health Care Complaints Commission, state agencies such as the Nurses and Midwifery Council of New South Wales and in the media.

The day after the "4 Corners" program went to air, one representative of a registered charity which purports to represent older Australians was on national television condemning the types of abuse revealed in this program.

However, in the next breath - and almost in denial of such widespread abuse - he was talking about the need to understand why there was also excellent care in the aged care system and how residential aged care providers which meet or exceed Commonwealth aged care standards need to be rewarded.

He talked about some aged care providers being "world class" until the interviewer brought him back to looking at the ugly truth of the situation.

He was not alone in demonstrating how difficult it is for those associated with aged care to steadily fix their gaze on this seriously flawed system and insist that it be genuinely reformed.

It is hard not to see Scott Morrison's announcement of a royal commission as one meant to pre-empt the "4 Corners" program ahead of the Wentworth by-election on 20 October 2018 - given that the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care & Liberal MP for Hasluck Ken Wyatt appeared lukewarm about the need for a royal commission into the aged care system just last month and, in the face of contrary evidence the Prime Minister continues to deny the controversial federal funding cuts to the sector by way a tweak of the Aged Care Funding Instrument to the tune of $1.2 billion in efficiency savings in the 2018-19 Budget.

Monday, 24 September 2018

One old man to rule them all and in the darkness bind them?



Octogenarian U.S. citizen, international media mogul and papal knight since1998  Rupert Keith Murdoch is a living example of the perils of concentrated media ownership.

For many in America, the United Kingdom and Australia his name is filed under 'arrogant' 'avaricious' and 'ruthless'.

Media mogul Rupert Keith Murdoch : Google Images

The Guardian
, 20 September 2018:

In his farewell speech as prime minister last month, Malcolm Turnbull pointed to “an insurgency” in his own party and “outside forces in the media” as the architects of his demise.

If there was any doubt at all who the media forces Turnbull was referring to during those final minutes in the prime mister’s courtyard in Canberra, there is, after the events of the past 24 hours, none now.

Rupert Murdoch is the name firmly in the frame along with his ubiquitous News Corp empire – an organisation which is accused of playing a major role in orchestrating the removal from office of not just Turnbull but also Labor’s Kevin Rudd.

In the case of Turnbull he believed his Liberal colleagues had been gripped by “a form of madness” so the only way they could see to end the unrelenting internal turmoil and negative coverage in the media was to cave into it and replace him as leader…..

But the details that have emerged over the past 48 hours of the role the US-based Murdoch played during last month’s visit to his Australian assets raise serious questions about how Australian politics can be swayed by a concentrated media industry where News Corp dominates.

Turnbull certainly believes he was the target of a News Corp campaign. When he narrowly fended off Peter Dutton in a party room spill on Tuesday 21 August, Turnbull phoned Murdoch to ask him why he was trying to replace him with the home affairs minister.

Rupert Murdoch intends to transform Australia into a conservative nation and he wants to put it on the Trump road
Associate Professor David McKnight

Turnbull had watched horrified as shortly after Murdoch’s arrival in Australia, News Corp, the most powerful media organisation in the land, turned on him. The Daily Telegraph warned of “a toxic brawl” over energy policy and that Dutton was preparing to challenge him. On Sky the night-time commentators Peta Credlin and Andrew Bolt ramped up their negative coverage of the national energy guarantee and Turnbull’s performance.

 “There was no doubt there was a marked shift in the tone and content of the News Corp publications once Rupert arrived,” one of Turnbull’s former staff told Guardian Australia. “And there was no doubt in our minds that News was backing Dutton.”
The prime minister had another reason to believe the octogenarian media mogul was driving the negative coverage – Turnbull had been warned by another media mogul that Rupert wanted him replaced.

According to both the Australian Financial Review and the ABC, Murdoch had told fellow media billionaire Kerry Stokes, owner of the Seven Network, a few days before that Turnbull should be replaced. Guardian Australia also reported that Turnbull was warned in a phone call from Stokes that Murdoch and his media company News Corp were intent on removing him from power.

Stokes is said to have replied that the likely result of such a campaign would be to deliver government to Labor and Bill Shorten. But Murdoch is reported to have brushed aside such concerns, saying it would only be for three years and he made money under Labor in the past.

By that week’s end the deed was done. Turnbull was out as prime minister, replaced by Scott Morrison after Dutton’s much hyped candidacy failed to get the numbers....

Read the full article here.

When it comes to protecting Clarence Valley water resources "Castillo's credibility is wearing very thin indeed"


This is a basic map clearly showing a historic cluster of small abandoned mine sites in the vicinity of the Mann River, one of the principal tributaries of the Clarence River which is the largest coastal river in New South Wales. 

The old Cangai Mine site is now part of a Castillo Copper Limited exploration lease and its proximity to the Mann River is apparent.

As the crow flies the distance between this site and the Mann River is estimated to be less than 4 kms and Cangi Mine is also bounded on three sides by three creeks which feed into the Mann.




Following North Coast Voices posting Castillo Copper Limited's Jackadgery Project: has spinning the truth already begun? on 17 September 2018 one Clarence Valley resident sent me an email which pointed out a curious ommission in Castillo Copper Limited exploration licence application this mining company:

"However, under Section 19.4 beneath the heading: “Surface water sources”, is the following requirement:

“Provide details of the existing surface water sources in the area that are likely to be affected by the activity. Provide details of the nearest watercourse/s and the distance between the proposed disturbance area/s and the nearest watercourse/s”.

Castillo's Response

“The proposed activity area bounded by Bobward creek from the west and Smelter creek from the east. The distance from disturbance area to Bobward creek is 550 – 620m; the distance to Smelter creek is about 500m. The water for drilling if required will most likely will be taken from Bobward creek. Permission has been sought and granted by the landowner”.

No mention of the Mann or Clarence in the entire document.

Talk about "dodgy". Castillo's credibility is wearing very thin indeed,"

BACKGROUND

North Coast Voices, 17 September 2018, Castillo Copper Limited's Jackadgery Project: has spinning the truth already begun?

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Yamba, the jewel in the crown of Clarence Valley tourism



The Daily Examiner, 18 September 2018, p.1:

The Clarence Valley is out-performing the whole state in tourism growth, according to Clarence Valley Council, with Yamba the jewel in the crown.

Director environment, planning and community Des Schroder said the Clarence Valley had recorded a 12.2 per cent growth, while NSW had only notched up a 5.7 per cent growth.

Tourism has become one of the Valley’s biggest employers with 6.8 per cent of people employed in the Valley working in tourism and hospitality according to Mr Schroder.

Council statistics show Yamba has become the fourth most visited town in the North Coast behind Byron Bay, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, with more tourists than Ballina, Tweed Heads and Old Bar, Taree.

Mr Schroder said according to NSW tourism research Yamba statistics are merely 30 per cent of Byron Bay’s tourism numbers at the moment, but it might not be that way for long.

“Yamba is growing but it’s not Byron Bay yet from a tourism point of view, but it’s getting up there,” he said.

Mr Schroder added the population of Yamba is fairly stable, but still growing.

He said the influx of people visiting Yamba around Christmas is starting to become a constant stream of tourists all year round.

“The impact of the highway will make a big difference,” Mr Schroder said. “The highway will improve access for people coming to Yamba from the north and south.”

With 30 per cent of tourists visiting Yamba hailing from South-East Queensland he said the council is conscious the tourism in Yamba will continue to grow.

“All council can do is put the framework in place,” Mr Schroder said.

“We need to manage lifestyle for the locals while allowing for tourism growth which balances jobs. You need tourism to create jobs but you don’t want to be over run by tourists.”…….

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison apeing his hero......




Words fail me.....