Friday 31 August 2018

A reminder that the world has known about the negative effects on the atmosphere of burning coal for over 100 years

Live Science, 14 August 2018:

A newspaper clip published Aug. 14, 1912, predicts that coal consumption would produce enough carbon dioxide to warm the climate.

Credit: Fairfax Media/CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ

A note published in a New Zealand paper 106 years ago today (Aug. 14) predicted the Earth's temperature would rise because of 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide produced by coal consumption.

"The effect may be considerable in a few centuries," the article stated.
The clip was one of several one-paragraph stories in the "Science Notes and News" section of The Rodney and Otamatea Times, published Wednesday, Aug. 14, 1912.

The paragraph seems to have been originally printed in the March 1912 issue of Popular Mechanics as the caption for an image of a large coal factory. The image goes with a story titled "Remarkable Weather of 1911: The Effect of the Combustion of Coal on the Climate — What Scientists Predict for the Future," by Francis Molena. [Photographic Proof of Climate Change: Time-Lapse Images of Retreating Glaciers]

Will the Australian Government continue its policy of harrassment and intimidation in relation to Australia's national public broadcaster?

This was the situation before Malcolm Turnbull was politically beheaded by the hard right of the Liberal Party and Scott Morrison installed as the new Australian Prime Minister.....

Lenore Taylor is Guardian Australia's editor. She has won two Walkley awards and has twice won the Paul Lyneham award for excellence in press gallery journalism.

She has been a journalist for over thirty years and covered federal politics for over twenty-two years. 

Despite being invited onto the ABC "Insiders" program as a political journalist and editor, she found that pressure appeared to have been placed on that program to remove its video of her one of comments from its Twitter feed.

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation denies there was any prior due diligence conducted concerning the $487,633,300.00 grant.

“We had to certainly demonstrate value for money and our track record,” she said.

Once this particular cat was out of the bag ABC "Insiders" decided on 360 degree change of direction or suddenly remembered what being an independent public broadcaster actually means - readers can make up their own minds as to motive.

Remembering that as federal treasurer Scott Morrison led the charge to savagely cut ABC funding, the question that needs answering now is "Will he continue to bash the ABC by allowing minsters to apply inappropriate pressure on management and staff to alter editorial decisions?"

The real reason Turnbull gave the Great Barrier Reef Foundation $487.6 million with few strings attached and a short deadline on the spend

The Saturday Paper, 18-24 August 2018:

Picture the scene: three men in a room, two of them offering the third the deal of a lifetime.

The pair say they will give the man’s little outfit – which has assets of only about $3 million, turnover of less than $8 million and just a handful of staff – a $444 million contract, under terms yet to be negotiated. The offer comes out of a clear blue sky, totally unsolicited by the lucky recipient. For this little organisation, it is like winning the lottery, except they didn’t even buy a ticket.

Such a deal would be exceptional, even in the corporate world. It would have been exceptional even if the pair making the offer had been, say, investment bankers, and the third man the head of a tech start-up.

But they weren’t. Two of them were the prime minister of Australia and his environment minister, and the third was the chairman of a charitable organisation called the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. All three do have backgrounds as bankers, however: Malcolm Turnbull, Josh Frydenberg and the foundation’s John Schubert worked with Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Commonwealth Bank respectively.

The question is why it was done this way. Why solicit this little organisation, of which most people would never have heard, to be the recipient of the biggest such grant ever made in Australia? Why was the money given without tender and without any prior grant proposal? Why, instead of providing the money a bit at a time, subject to satisfactory performance as assessed on an annual or biannual basis, was six years’ worth of funding provided in one lump on June 28, less than three months after that first meeting?

Geoff Cousins thinks he knows the answer.

Cousins is a former president of the Australian Conservation Foundation. Perhaps more importantly, he is a corporate boardroom heavyweight. For 10 years, he was an adviser to John Howard.

“It’s a most cynical piece of accounting trickery,” he says of the Barrier Reef grant. 

“A piece of chicanery. That’s the only way I can describe it.”

To explain why, he traces back several years, to the government’s desperate attempts to persuade UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, that it was a good steward of the Great Barrier Reef, and that the reef World Heritage area should not be declared to be “in danger”.

To that end, the government had promised, under its Reef 2050 Plan, to invest more than $700 million in measures to protect one of the world’s great natural wonders.
“For the Department of the Environment and Energy to grant over $440 million to a small charity that didn’t even prepare an application form or ask for the grant is inconceivable!”

“They made a commitment, the Australian government, to the World Heritage listing committee, to spend $716 million on the Barrier Reef, prior to 2020,” Cousins says. 

“But they have spent just a fraction of that, and there is no way that in the remaining 18 months or less that they can reach that target, which raises the potential of the reef being put on the endangered list.”

In Cousins’s view, someone must have realised the trouble the government faced in meeting its spending targets on time. His guess is Frydenberg.

“Even if you started now, you couldn’t actually spend that money. There’s not a list, not a pipeline of projects approved and ready to go,” Cousins says.

“So Malcolm, then putting on … his business head, his accounting head, says ‘Well, all we’ve really got to do is make sure the money moves from the government’s accounts to the bank account of some other private or not-for-profit institution, then the money is spent.’ But the money hasn’t really been spent at all. Even the CEO of the foundation says it won’t all be spent for six years.”

If you tried that kind of dodge in the corporate world, Cousins says, “your accounting firm would say … they would have to qualify your accounts”.

Cousins makes a very strong circumstantial case. It is true the federal government has grossly underspent on its UNESCO commitment, and that the money given to the reef foundation will go much of the way to making good on that funding promise.

It is true also that UNESCO has become increasingly critical of the government’s performance protecting the reef. Last year’s meeting of the World Heritage Committee noted in particular that progress on achieving water-quality targets was too slow to meet the agreed time frame. As it happens, the largest single item on the reef foundation’s to-do list is improving water quality, with $201 million allocated to it.

Read the full aticle here.

Thursday 30 August 2018

Tony Abbott: unpopular and unwanted

Sacked former prime minister and current Liberal MP for Warringah Anthony John "Tony" Abbott in August 2018.......
Crikey, 28 August 2018:

For nearly 25 years, Tony Abbott has done nothing in politics but destroy and oppose. His party, and Australia, desperately need him to leave.

Next year, Tony Abbott will rack up 25 years as an MP. And the best way for him to celebrate it -- for his party, for the government, and most of all for Australia -- would be to retire. 2019 should be the election at which he calls time.

Abbott said to one of his media friends on Monday that he still sees himself as a young man. In fact, Abbott has always been an old man; he is the classic example of Keating's "young fogey", from his days as a student politician through his stint as a seminarian and his devotion to BA Santamaria, through his entry into politics first as a staffer and then as an MP. Abbott has only ever seen the world through the eyes of an old man furious at the changes wrought by young people, determined to reverse the desecration of all that is sacred in his world where Christian white males hold unquestioned authority.

The Monthly, 27 August 2018:

What did the rest of Australia ever do to the voters of Warringah? Lucky to live in one of the most blessed constituencies on earth, stretching from Sydney’s leafy north shore to the northern beaches, its residents have nevertheless foisted on Australia the single most destructive politician of our time: Tony Abbott. The failed priest, nicknamed the “mad monk”, has done incalculable damage to this country. And for someone who aspired to be a “junkyard dog savaging the other side”, Abbott has lately mostly savaged his own, culminating in last week’s Pyrrhic victory over Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, which slaked his thirst for revenge but left the Liberals in their worst position for a decade.

As a former director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, Abbott was a key wrecker of the 1999 republic referendum, denying this country a head of state who was one of us. Abbott employed David Oldfield, who moonlighted for Pauline Hanson and helped create One Nation. Realising the threat that Hanson posed to the Liberals’ right front, Abbott was the brains behind shabby outfit Australians for Honest Politics, which helped put her in jail for electoral fraud. As a pro-life health minister, under John Howard, he tried to block women’s access to the abortion drug RU486.

In 2009, Warringah’s local member tore down Liberal Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull over climate change. It was desperately cynical even then: Abbott admitted to Turnbull at the time that he’d been a “bit of a weather vane” on the issue. But Abbott decided it was “absolute crap” that the science of climate change was settled and, right there and then, introduced a kind of madness into our politics. Ever since, the country has found it impossible to agree on an energy or climate policy.

Emboldened after toppling Turnbull, the member for Warringah went on to launch a misogynistic campaign against our first female prime minister; he also embarked on a misleading “axe the tax” campaign against Labor’s emissions trading scheme, which his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, later excused as an exercise in “brutal retail politics”, given the ETS wasn’t a carbon tax at all. As prime minister, Abbott’s first great achievement was to kill off our car industry, and he went on betray his promise to the electorate that his government would make “no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS”. His first budget in 2014, possibly the worst in living memory, defunded schools and hospitals to the tune of $80 billion compared with forecast funding levels under Labor, and failed to pass the Senate. That year Abbott made Australia the first country in the world to abolish a carbon price. Then in 2015 he knighted Prince Philip on Australia Day, turning himself into a laughing stock, and his downfall began. When the Liberal Party turfed Abbott in September 2015, a grateful nation rewarded the new PM Turnbull with approval ratings of 68 per cent.

Ever since, Abbott has sniped, wrecked and undermined the Coalition. Although he describes his aim as being the “best possible member for Warringah”, he has never cared to represent his constituency faithfully. In the equal marriage postal survey, 75 per cent of his electorate voted “Yes” – the highest proportion in New South Wales – but Tony Abbott, a loud “No” campaigner, later scarpered from the House of Representatives.

Now, without care for the national interest, the institution of parliament, the office of PM or the electoral fate of the Liberal Party, Abbott has torn down Turnbull a second time. To what end? Not policy: Turnbull had conceded everything the hard right demanded of him. Not politics: today’s Newspoll[$] shows the damage caused by last week’s spill; the Coalition now trails Labor 44–56, and Bill Shorten is preferred PM. The member for Warringah will reportedly [$] give a “call-to-arms” speech to rally Liberal members behind new prime minister Scott Morrison. But can Abbott be trusted to serve Morrison loyally? Or will he start the work of tearing down another Liberal prime minister?

The party is desperate to put the Abbott-Turnbull wars behind it. Federal Liberal president Nick Greiner said yesterday [$] that Abbott is at least partly to blame for the divisions in the party: “Tony is an excellent political salesman, a political warrior; he should have been spending his time – and I of course said this to him – much more on bringing down our political opponents rather than focusing on internal differences.” Columnist Niki Savva was less politic on the weekend, writing: “If he had any decency Abbott would resign too, now that he has accomplished his mission.”

Former PM Kevin Rudd absolutely let rip this morning: “I cannot remember a single positive policy initiative that Abbott has championed and then implemented. Not one. As a result, unconstrained by policy, the entire energy of this giant wrecking ball of Australian politics has been focused on destroying his opponents – within the Labor Party and the Liberal Party. Of all modern politicians, Abbott is sui generis. His singular, destructive impact on national politics cannot be underestimated.”

NSW North Coast candidates begin to line up for March 2019 state election

CLARENCE GREENS, Media Release, 19 August 2018:   

                                    Clarence Greens announce State candidate

The Clarence Greens have endorsed Dr Greg Clancy – a Greens councillor on Clarence Valley Council – as the Greens candidate for Clarence in next year’s State election.

His announcement as candidate follows a preselection ballot of Greens members from across the electorate contested by Greg and Will Elrick of Woombah.
Dr Clancy stated that he was very humbled to be selected and thanked the membership for placing their trust in him.

‘I look forward to working on the campaign with Will and the other members of the Greens to raise the important issues,’ he said.  

‘There are many issues that should be the focus of the campaign,’ he said.
‘These include supporting public services such as TAFE, hospitals and national park management and retaining staff in the valley to deliver regional services. I am also keen to promote the need for a new high school in the lower Clarence.

‘Of course, protecting the environment is a key concern, as so much of our local economy relies on a healthy environment,’ he said.

‘There needs to be better oversight of native forest management, improved funding for national parks, improved incentives for sustainable agriculture and a reversal of the weakened land clearing laws. I will be continuing to oppose gas mining and the proposed cobalt, antimony and gold mines in our catchments. A key statewide issue is action to ban single-use plastics.’

‘I am looking forward to promoting the four pillars of the Greens at the local level. They are ecological sustainability, peace and non-violence, grassroots democracy and social justice.

The Daily Examiner, 10 May 2018:

TRENT Gilbert has been endorsed as the Country Labor candidate for Clarence in the 2019 state election and will once again run against sitting member National's MP, Chris Gulaptis.

Mr Gilbert stood for Labor in the 2015 election and gained an impressive 22.2% swing.

"I took it up to Chris Gulaptis in 2015 and will use that experience to campaign hard again,” Mr Gilbert said.

Meet Alan Carr, Your Nationals Candidate for Lismore

A qualified carpenter, a university graduate with degrees in communications and economics, and now a local macadamia grower, Austin will use his broad experience to advocate for everyone.

Austin was raised and educated in Northern NSW so understands the unique nature of our community and is committed to protecting our way of life.

As the father of three young kids, Austin knows the importance of good local schools, keeping crime under control and how important it is for our kids to have the opportunity to realise their dreams at home.

As a farmer, Austin is committed to practical environmentalism — real action to make our local environment more livable and sustainable.

As someone who hasn’t been a long time member of a political party, a political or union staff member, he brings a new approach to politics and a fresh face ready for our future. 


Echo News, 13 June 2018:

HIGH profile public interest lawyer Sue Higginson is set to be announced today as the NSW Greens candidate for the seat of Lismore.

The announcement sets the stage for a compelling state election contest next year with two heavyweight contenders, in the form of Labor veteran Janelle Saffin and now Ms Higginson - to pit themselves against Nationals newcomer Austin Curtin.

A well known figure in Lismore, Ms Higginson was the solicitor for the Northern Rivers branch of the Environmental Defender's Office for several years and was instrumental in setting its local office up in 2006.

She is also a dry land rice farmer on the Richmond flood plain who raised her family in the region, and has garnered respect across the political divide for her principled legal work.

From 2012 she commuted to Sydney to take up the chief solicitor role with the EDO before becoming the organisation's CEO in 2015, until stepping down last November to become a member of the Greens, and seek pre-selection for the seat of Lismore.

Speaking to The Northern Star this morning, Ms Higginson said going into politics was a "very natural” progression after years of working to protect for the interests of regional communities via law reform.

She said a Parliamentarian's role was twofold - to be an advocate for the community, and to make new laws for the state - and said she was an "expert” on the complexities of the latter.

"I'm no stranger to Macquarie St,” she said.

"I've spent many long hours advising members of Parliament across the board.
"I feel that I am absolutely the most qualified candidate for Lismore.”

She has also lived in the Lismore region since her teens and has a grass roots activist past, having participated in anti-logging protests in the early 1990s before going on to become lawyer.

On the seat of Lismore, she said: "I strongly believe it’s time for a change here”.


Wednesday 29 August 2018

When you don't like the results when you Google yourself - threaten retribution

This was the US President Donald Trump on Tuesday 28 August 2018.....

Google responded to these accusations on the same day.....

“Shit Life Syndrome” is sending Britons and Americans to an early grave…..

With Scott Morrison as the new prime minister, the Abbott-Turnbull era persistent attacks on the social fabric of the nation are bound to continue. Thus ensuring that Australians follow down the same path as Britain and America?
The Guardian, 18 August 2018:

Britain and America are in the midst of a barely reported public health crisis. They are experiencing not merely a slowdown in life expectancy, which in many other rich countries is continuing to lengthen, but the start of an alarming increase in death rates across all our populations, men and women alike. We are needlessly allowing our people to die early.

In Britain, life expectancy, which increased steadily for a century, slowed dramatically between 2010 and 2016. The rate of increase dropped by 90% for women and 76% for men, to 82.8 years and 79.1 years respectively. Now, death rates among older people have so much increased over the last two years – with expectations that this will continue – that two major insurance companies, Aviva and Legal and General, are releasing hundreds of millions of pounds they had been holding as reserves to pay annuities to pay to shareholders instead. Society, once again, affecting the citadels of high finance.

Trends in the US are more serious and foretell what is likely to happen in Britain without an urgent change in course. Death rates of people in midlife (between 25 and 64) are increasing across the racial and ethnic divide. It has long been known that the mortality rates of midlife American black and Hispanic people have been worse than the non-Hispanic white population, but last week the British Medical Journal 
published an important study re-examining the trends for all racial groups between 1999 and 2016.

The malaises that have plagued the black population are extending to the non-Hispanic, midlife white population. As the report states: “All cause mortality increased… among non-Hispanic whites.” Why? “Drug overdoses were the leading cause of increased mortality in midlife, but mortality also increased for alcohol-related conditions, suicides and organ diseases involving multiple body systems” (notably liver, heart diseases and cancers).

US doctors coined a phrase for this condition: “shit-life syndrome”. Poor working-age Americans of all races are locked in a cycle of poverty and neglect, amid wider affluence. They are ill educated and ill trained. The jobs available are drudge work paying the minimum wage, with minimal or no job security. They are trapped in poor neighbourhoods where the prospect of owning a home is a distant dream. There is little social housing, scant income support and contingent access to healthcare.

Finding meaning in life is close to impossible; the struggle to survive commands all intellectual and emotional resources. Yet turn on the TV or visit a middle-class shopping mall and a very different and unattainable world presents itself. Knowing that you are valueless, you resort to drugs, antidepressants and booze. You eat junk food and watch your ill-treated body balloon. It is not just poverty, but growing relative poverty in an era of rising inequality, with all its psychological
side-effects, that is the killer.

Shit-life syndrome captures the truth that the bald medical statistics have economic and social roots. Patients so depressed they are prescribed or seek opioids – or resort to alcohol – are suffering not so much from their demons but from the circumstances of their lives. They have a lot to be depressed about. They, and tens of millions like them teetering on the edge of the same condition, constitute Donald Trump’s electoral base, easily tempted by rhetoric that pins the blame on dark foreigners, while castigating countries such as Finland or Denmark, where the trends are so much better, as communist. In Britain, they were heavily represented among the swing voters who delivered Brexit.

Read the full article here.

NOTE: The last time the United States saw a prolonged life expectancy decrease due to natural causes was during the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1917-1919 when life expectancy fell by twelve years. 

Tuesday 28 August 2018

Australia's water evaporation levels are running at record rates in 2018

The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 August 2018:

Australia's evaporation levels are running at record rates, especially across eastern states, increasing the misery for drought-hit farmers and raising bushfire risks as the mercury starts to climb.

While rainfall deficiencies have drawn much attention, stronger-than-usual winds, abnormally sunny days and low humidity have combined to push up evaporation levels, Bureau of Meteorology data shows.

Across the nation, evaporation last month averaged 145.21 millimetres, well above the 128.6 mm typical for July, and the most on record for data going back to 1975, said Karl Braganza, head of climate monitoring at the bureau.

The national tally beat the previous record in 2002. On a regional level, the evaporation rate was the highest on record for Victoria, and also smashed previous records for eastern Australia as a whole.

July pan evaporation for Eastern Australia


If you live in a NSW rural/regional area or an outer metropolitan suburb with thick tree cover.....

Now is the time to make or update your bushfire survival plan.

Because the fires have come early this year and intermittant rainfall is unlikely to ease the threat for long., 16 August 2018:

NSW has declared its earliest total fire ban on record, with hundreds of South Coast residents forced to flee their homes amidst a massive blaze.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that fire crews battled at least 83 fires across the state, following stronger-than-expected winds, creating fire bans that beat the previous record by two weeks. Compounding problems was the fact that, according to The Daily Telegraph ($), two huge water bombers were not in action because they had not yet arrived from the US ahead of Australia’s summer season.

Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology
New South Wales

Fire Weather Warning for the Greater Hunter, Greater Sydney Region and Illawarra/Shoalhaven fire areas.

Issued at 10:37 am EST on Wednesday 15 August 2018.

Weather Situation
Warm, dry and windy conditions over southeast NSW today ahead of a cold front,
which will pass to the south of the state overnight.

For the rest of Wednesday 15 August:

Severe Fire Danger is forecast for the following fire areas:
Greater Hunter, Greater Sydney Region and Illawarra/Shoalhaven

The NSW Rural Fire Service advises you to:
- Action your Bushfire Survival Plan now.
- Monitor the fire and weather situation through your local radio station, and
- Call 000 (Triple Zero) in an emergency.

The Rural Fire Service advises that if you are in an area of Severe Fire Danger:
- If you plan to leave finalise your options and leave early on the day
- Only stay if your home is well prepared and you can actively defend it
- Prepare for the emotional, mental and physical impact of defending your
property - if in doubt, leave.
For information on preparing for bushfires go to

No further warnings will be issued for this event, but the situation will
continue to be monitored and further warnings issued if necessary.

For up-to-date information for your local area see NSW Rural Fire Service’s  Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans and Fires Near Me.

Monday 27 August 2018

Financial Services Royal Commission delivers its Round 5 report

The royal commission that Liberal MP for Cook and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, along with the rest of his government, fought so hard to prevent delivers another damning report.....

Financial Review, 24 August 2018:

NAB and Commonwealth Bank have been lashed in a 200-pagedocument published by the Hayne royal commission that details thousands of breaches of the law including the Corporations Act, the Superannuation Industry Supervision (SIS) Act and the ASIC Act – some of which carry criminal penalties.

Counsel assisting the Hayne royal commission Michael Hodge QC has said it is open to the Commissioner to make these findings against the banks in a blockbuster closing statement published just before 7pm on Friday evening.

The two banks are not alone, with open findings also delivered against AMP for breaches of the Corporations Act and the SIS Act, against IOOF for breaches of the ASIC Act and the SIS Act, against Suncorp for breaches of the Corporations Act, the ASIC Act and the SIS Act, and against ANZ for breaches of the Corporations Act.
Open findings of law breaches have also been delivered in relation to case studies that were not heard in public with Westpac and AON Hewitt sized up for breaches of the Corporations Act.

NAB and Commonwealth Bank have been singled out, however, for repeated and systemic breaches of laws which included NAB's inability to notify ASIC of breaches of licence conditions under Sections 912D of the Corporations Act and CBA's 13,000-fold breach of the SIS Act.

NAB came in for a spectacular serve from counsel assisting the Hayne royal commission, who described the bank's negotiations with ASIC over the fees for no service scandal as "ethically unsound" as it tried to substitute services it promised to provide with services it did provide.

Mr Hodge also said the bank was engaged in unconscionable conduct over the charging of fees and its attempts to weasel out of repayments despite knowing the "fee should never have been charged to members and was not adequately disclosed".

NAB chief customer offer Andrew Hagger was singled out for his dealings with the regulator over the fees for no service scandal which counsel assisting said revealed "disrespect for the role of the regulator and a disregard for the gravity of the events".
Counsel assisting submitted that "no reasonable person would believe that NAB's communications with ASIC" over the matter that would see NAB on the hook for almost $90 millin in refunds were "open and transparent" - despite the bank's attempts to characterise its actions as just that.

In addition, the systems and controls the bank had to monitor the provision of advice were either not adequate, non-existent or ineffective according to the savage take-down……

Much of the bank's offending related to its inability to move more than 13,000 super fund members to low-fee MySuper accounts after January 1, 2014 - leaving them in higher-fee paying accounts instead. The bank's communications with members about the issue was described as misleading by counsel assisting, with the bank's witness accepting the description during the hearings.

CBA's platform operator Aventeos also was the subject of open findings for the charging of dead customers for financial advice, a practice counsel assisting said was in breach of Section 52 of the SIS Act.

The lengthy document will add even more fuel to the fire that has singed the for profit super sector following revelations they have charged customers more than $1 billion in fees they have never provided, including to dead customers, and then lied to regulators about it.

The prospect of criminal charges was first raised by Commissioner Hayne himself when he asked NAB's superannuation trustee Nicole Smith "Did you think yourself taking the money to which there as no entitlement raised a question of criminal law?"

Diversified financial services company AMP - which was excoriated for its dealings with the regulator in the second round of hearings - was exposed for an arrangement that saw its superannuation trustee contracting out services it was meant to undertake to other arms of the business.

During the hearings it was revealed the arrangement, which oversaw $100 billion in retirement savings spread over the accounts of 2.5 million members, meant AMP's trustee was unable to lookout for its members by stopping AMP from gouging account holders or looking for another service provider….

Read the full article here.

Luke Hartsuyker? Luke Hartsuyker? Think I recall that name

Luke Hartsuyker Image: Greater Springfield Daily Record

NSW National Party MP for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker is retiring at the next federal election.

He has been a member of the federal parliament since 2001 and is a clear example of a man rising to the level of his own political incompetence.

Hartsuyker has briefly held one ministerial and three assistant ministerial positions since entering parliament – the last ending in March this year:

Assistant Minister for Employment from 18.9.13 to 21.9.15 (2 years).
Minister for Vocational Education and Skills from 21.9.15 to 18.2.16 (less than 5 months).
Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister from 19.7.16 to 20.12.17 (17 months).
Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment from 20.12.17 to 5.3.18 (less than 3 months).

Hartsuyker was Deputy Leader of the Nationals in the House of Representatives from 18.9.13 to 18.2.16 (approximately 2 years & 4 months).

By  the time the next federal election rolls around Luke Hartsuyker will have been in the Australian Parliament for 17 years, yet the best his party could say of him when he announced his intention to resign was to list as his achievements work largely done by other politicians.

I am sure there are parts of the Cowper electorate where his name barely registers with local residents and one has to suspect it won't take too many years before the only way he is remembered is as an obscure name on weathered building dedication plaques.

Sunday 26 August 2018

A Message To All Liberal Party Politicians In The Australian Parliament

Waiting for home care in Australia in 2018

There are now 108,000 older Australians on the waiting list for Home Care Packages.

On this list are individuals who have:
* not yet been approved for home care;
* been previously assessed and approved, but who have not yet been assigned a home care package; or
 * are receiving care at an interim level awaiting assignment of a home care package at their approved level.

Waiting time is calculated from the date of a home care package approval and this is not a an ideal situation, given package approval times range from est. 27 to 98 days and the time taken to approve high level home care packages is now than twelve months - with actual delivery dates occurring at least 12 months later on average.

With more than half the applications for permanent entry into residential aged care taking more than 3 and up to 8 months to be met, this is not going to be a go-to first option in any solution for this lengthy home care waiting list - even if enough older people could be persuaded to give up the last of their independnce and autonomy.

By June 2017 New South Wales had the largest number of persons on the home care waiting lis at 30,685.

Given the high number of residents over 60 years of age in regional areas like the the Northern Rivers, this waiting list gives pause for thought.

Then there is this side effect of the waiting list and home care start dates identified by Leading Age Care Services Australia (LAGSA):

Consumers with unmet needs and unspent funds

LASA has undertaken an extensive review of the disparity that exists in the current release of HCP assignments, noting that there are substantial numbers of consumers on HCPs with either unmet needs or unspent funds . This bimodal distribution of home care package assignments reflects a mismatch between consumer package assignment and a consumer’s current care needs. The mismatch appears to be a function of the extended lapse of time that exists between approval assessments and package assignments. Until this dynamic is sufficiently addressed by Government, LASA expects that providers will be faced with a unique set challenges in 2018 when providing care to HCP consumers. This is likely to increase the need for regular care plan reviews in the context of unmet needs and unspent funds. This dynamic could be considered more closely within the context of developing a single assessment workforce.

Thus far Australian Minister for Aged Care and Liberal MP for Hasluck  Ken Wyatt is offering no insight into federal government thinking on this issue.