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.....

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Political Cartoon of the Week


Cathy Wilcox 2018

Ways the twitterverse tells Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison it cares.....



Belinda Jones has compiled a list of ‘nicknames’ for the Australian Prime Minister found on Twitter in the last three weeks:

#slomo
#shoutymo
#scummo
#morriscum
#ScoMo
Shouty McShouty
Fozzie Bear
Pastor PM
Preacher PM
Fatman ScoMo
Skid Toryscum
Skid Muppetson
Prime Muppet
Pissant Muppet Morrison

Friday, 21 September 2018

Two koalas return to their home range in the Clarence


Clarence Valley Council, Media Release, 18 September 2018:

Mayor: Jim Simmons LOCKED BAG 23 GRAFTON NSW 2460
General Manager: Ashley Lindsay Telephone: (02) 6643 0200
Fax: (02) 6642 7647


Miss Starry in the fork of a tree and Ashby David is a little reluctant to go from his washing basket transport.

Coming home to the Clarence

Clarence Valley Council natural resource management project officer, Caragh Heenan, said Miss Starry was picked up by a WIRES carer and assessed by a local vet, then sent to Australia Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital where she was also treated for chlamydia – a serious and potentially fatal infection that causes blindness and internal infections if not treated.

Ms Heenan said her last few weeks were at the Friends of Koala Nursery in Lismore where she had been regaining strength for her release.

Another koala was released the same day; ‘Ashby David’ was found on the ground in Ashby and was sent to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital for treatment for chlamydia.

Ms Heenan said Clarence koalas were under threat from fire, cars, dogs and disease.

“WIRES carers play a big role in caring for injured animals, and koalas need your help too,” she said.

“With funding from the NSW Environmental Trust, council is running a project to support our koalas.

“Register where you’ve seen a koala at http://www.clarenceconversations.com.au and help us plan for Clarence koalas into the future.

“With the public’s help we can help koalas remain safe and healthy for the long term.”

Release ends.

Only one Liberal female federal politician was brave enough to stand up and publicly name an alleged political bully


Image: 9News

This was the Liberal MP for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis according to Hansard on 17 September 2017:




To date NSW Liberal MLC Gareth Ward has not specifically denied Ms. Sudmalis' detailed allegations. 

Instead saying he was "too busy" to have conducted a campaign against Sudmalis, suggesting it was all a case of "sour grapes".


As is becoming usual for the current Prime Minister, he still refuses to publicly admit there is a culture of bullying in the Liberal Party.

But make no mistake the Liberal Party has mobilised and, Morrison is now making sure that Ann Sudmalis is incapable of anymore spontaneous truth telling over the next five parliamentary sitting weeks, by appointing her as the Coalition member of a two-member Australian delegation to the United Nations until the end of 2018.

After which she will be further neutered by the early December to start of February long parliamentary break and subsequent est. twelve weeks between when Morrison announces the federal election date and the return of the writs in May 2019.

Indeed after her New York sojourn at the United Nations we will probably never hear from Ann Sudmalis again.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Sometime Australian Prime Minister & MP for Cook, Scott Morrison, is the protector of religious freedom? Don't make me laugh


This was Australia’s most recent Liberal prime minister quoted in The Sydney Morning Herald on 17 September 2018:

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will enact "preventative regulation and legislation" to shield freedom of religion from future enemies, giving his strongest hints to date about the government's intentions regarding "religious freedom" laws.

What a load of codswallop, manure, dung, heifers dust, cowpats, meadow cocktails – what ABSOLUTE BULLSH*T!

The Liberal Member for Cook Scott Morrison already knows that the Australian Constitution without qualification guarantees religious freedom in this country at federal level:

Commonwealth not to legislate in respect of religion
                   The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth. [my yellow highlighting]

As the Australian Constitution is the highest source in the land on this issue, one can only suspect that:

a) Scott Morrison has never read the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act (as amended up to 1977); or

b) Scott Morrison is shamelessly pandering to his far-right, ideologically blind & bigoted supporter base, in the hope of being re-elected in 2019.

He appears to forget that Australia has also ratified a number of UN resolutions which directly or indirectly protect religious freedom and these have been upheld by the courts.

While he ignores the fact that Tasmania has had a religious freedom provision written into its state constitution since 1934 and Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory as well as the ACT have passed legislation prohibiting direct and indirect discrimination on the ground of religion. Only South Australia appears to have no legislation specifically covering religious freedom to date.

Morrison also forgets that whatever legislation he forces through this parliament, or whatever regulations he imposes, can all be undone in the first instance by subsequent federal parliaments and in the second instance by the minister of the day.

If he really wants to genuinely strengthen existing religious freedoms he would call a referendum to change the Australian Constitution.

Even a callow first-year-in-parliament politician knows that when state law is in conflict with federal law it is federal law which usually prevails and, if either is in conflict with the Constitution it will be the Constitution which prevails.

Having well and truly politicised his own faith Morrison may in fact be creating his own "future enemies" - he has all but guaranteed that someone will take his legislation and regulations to the High Court of Australia - where every word, phrase and punctuation mark will be studied closely.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

State of Play Australia 2018: 11 per cent of the workforce is unemployed and 8 per cent underemployed


Roy Morgan, media release excerpt, 13  September 2018:

Australian employment has grown solidly over the past year however the faster rate of overall growth in the Australian workforce due to more Australians looking for work means unemployment has increased to a two-year high of 11% in August.

The latest data for the Roy Morgan employment series for August shows:

* 11,940,000 Australians were employed in August, up 255,000 over the past year;

* The workforce which comprises employed and unemployed Australians is now 13,416,000, up 407,000 on a year ago;

* 1,476,000 Australians were unemployed (11% of the workforce); an increase of 152,000 (up 0.8%) on a year ago and the highest level of unemployment for over two years since March 2016;

* In addition 1,071,000 Australians (8.0% of the workforce) are now under-employed, working part-time and looking for more work, a fall of 170,000 in a year (down 1.5%);

* The increase in employment was driven by an increase in full-time employment which was up 323,000 to 7,761,000, while part-time employment fell 68,000 to 4,179,000;

* Roy Morgan’s real unemployment figure of 11% for August is more than twice as high as the current ABS estimate for July 2018 of 5.3%.

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source October 2005 – August 2018. Average monthly interviews 4,000.

Full media release can be found here.

The Morrison Government continues to internally haemorrhage


“On the local scene since the day of winning preselection in 2012, the local, self-determined senior Liberal has been leaking damaging material to the media and having publicity stunts that are completely against federal policy initiatives. And more recently he approached friends asking me to nominate my retirement date and then he'd call off his people.”  [Liberal MP for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis in House of Representatives Hansard, 17 September 2018, p.103]

As a Liberal Party candidate Ann Sudmalis was elected to the House of Representatives for Gilmore, New South Wales, in 2013 and 2016.

At 63 years of age with 5 years of parliamentary service behind her, it now appears the boys club has stack her home branch and attempting to squeeze her out as the Liberal Party’s preferred candidate at the next federal election in 2019.

The NSW boys club's preferred candidate is former Australian Federal Police sergeant, sometime public servant and now real estate agent Grant Schultz (left), son of the former member for Hume Abby Schultz.

This will be the son's second try to become the Liberal candidate for Gilmore and as not uncommon for male Liberal candidates he appears to have a bit of a past.

His mentor NSW Liberal MLC Gareth Ward appears to suffer from a similar image problem.

Ann Sudmalis told parliament on 17 September that; "I endeavoured to hold my decision in private until after the Wentworth byelection. Unfortunately, that is now not possible."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison endeavoured to do likewise.

A policy which was spectacularly unsuccessful....

Illawarra Mercury, 17 September 2018:

Federal Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis will not contest the next election after last ditch pleas by Prime Minister Scott Morrison for her to stay on, failed.

Ms Sudmalis, who holds the southern NSW coastal seat of Gilmore by just 0.7 per cent, has told The Australian Financial Review that she informed Mr Morrison at a meeting on Monday that she was withdrawing her nomination for preselection.

She did so after she lost control of her local federal electoral conference (FEC) when it was stacked by forces aligned to local state Liberal MP Gareth Ward.

While Ms Sudmalis believed she was still likely to win her preselection against challenger Grant Schultz, she said she would have been unable to work with the people stacked into her FEC, many of whom had no campaign experience.

"I can't work with the team there anymore, they don't know the electorate well, they don't know how to campaign."

SBS News, 17 September 2018:

In a statement to her electorate, Ms Sudmalis blamed one of her "state liberal colleagues" for her decision.

"The [Liberal] has been leaking damaging material to the media .. and has been unfair and unethical," she said.

"My decision has been made after six and a half years of holding my pledge to be a team player in the face of NSW Liberal Party bullying, intimidation, leaking and undermining."

ABC News, 18 September 2018:

"I've been contending with undermining and leaks at the local level for five-and-a-half years and it's been a slow, steady, aggravating, annoying process," she said.

In a statement, Ms Sudmalis went even further.

"My decision has been made in the face of NSW Liberal Party bullying, intimidation, leaking and undermining at a local level," she said.

Party insiders say Ms Sudmalis has a "toxic relationship" with New South Wales Liberal MP and party powerbroker Gareth Ward, and believe he has been behind the campaign to unseat her.

She makes reference to an unnamed "local self-determined senior Liberal" who she claims has been "leaking damaging material to the media and holding publicity stunts" that are "unfair and unethical".

But in a statement, Mr Ward said he had "enjoyed" working with Ms Sudmalis on local projects.

"I wish her and her family all the best for their retirement and look forward to working with her successor," he said….

Ms Sudmalis said she wrote to Mr Morrison last week telling him she wanted to withdraw her nomination, but that he refused to open the letter until yesterday.

"When he did open it, he was pretty disappointed," she said….

The Liberal MP said the final straw came when she lost her campaign team the weekend after the change in Liberal leadership.

"My fundraising committee, my campaign committee, my friends were all outvoted at the AGM," she said.

"It means my core group of people who've been my support for six years have been replaced."

Ms Sudmalis was facing a preselection challenge from local real estate agent Grant Schulz and while she believed she could still win, she said she simply "can't work with the team that's there currently".

"It's just ludicrous that these people have been put in this position," she said….

Ms Sudmalis's announcement will not only affect the Coalition's chances at the next election, it will also further reduce the number of women in Liberal Party ranks.



* Photograph from the South Coast Register.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Prime Minister Shouty McShouty is just being his normal obnoxious self


There has been some advice offered to Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison by mainstream media.

Some journalists are suggesting that he should shout less.

That would be nigh impossible as it would be going against his very nature as the political version of a weekday schoolyard bully and a Sunday self-righteous prig.

Here are videos of his performance in the House of Representatives as Treasurer to demonstrate that he had little volume control even then :