Showing posts with label violence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label violence. Show all posts

Monday, 11 January 2021

All the social media platforms that have banned or restricted U.S. President J. Trump so far may have limited the reach of his venom, but this does not mean the violence he unleashed last week is over


"I think I wouldn't be here [as U.S. President] if I didn't have social media. The media is fake. And frankly if I didn't have social media I would have no way of getting out my voice."  [Donald Trump during U.S. "60 Minutes" interview, October 2020]

Donald J. Trump appears to have had a presence on social media since at least 2008-09.

At the time he was reasonably well-known to US mainstream media, but outside of America his name was not as recognisable to the average person.

However it was only once Senator Barack Obama stood in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries and then became the Democratic candidate in the 56th American presidential election that the rest of the world began to really notice Trump.

However, much of the coverage of his views came second-hand in the mainstream media until May 2009.

By then Donald Trump had become a parody of his younger self, but did not at first glance appear to be highly dysfunctional. He came across as an eccentric and egotistical individual fond of conspiracy theories – especially if those theories supported his aversion to the idea of an African-American being President of the United States of America.

His open dislike of Barack Obama raised his own social media profile and he became adept at using Twitter and Facebook to express his personal world view.

Sometime between 2008 and 2012 Donald Trump began to flirt with the idea of running for US president himself, but it wasn’t until 2015 that he fully committed to the idea of standing in the Republican presidential primaries.

First as a political candidate and then in 2016 as president-elect Donald Trump was allowed a lot of latitude by social media platforms and he began to use social media as a weapon against all those he perceived as enemies.

There was so little pushback by management of the social media platforms that he frequented that by the time he became president I’m sure he saw himself as unassailable and, in many respects as the highest office holder in the United States he was.

In May 2020 his personal Twitter account reportedly had over 80 million followers, even though by then it was filled almost entirely with self-praise, blatant lies, insults, threats and political conspiracy allegations.

Then came his political defeat in the 2020 presidential election and a growing realisation that no matter how hard he tried he could not reverse the will of the people or the Electoral College votes.

It was then, when he thought he had nothing left to lose, that he became even more vengeful and recklessly destructive, setting in motion the events of 6 January 2021 when pro-Trump domestic terrorists violently forced their way into the US Congress in an effort to stop a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and Senate formally recording the Electoral College vote count that confirmed Joe Biden as the new president-elect who would be inaugurated on 20 January 2021.

Before that Wednesday ended the giants of the Internet began to show Donald J. Trump that even he could go too far and began to starve him of what political oxygen he had left.

First Twitter pulled the plug on his incitement of violence and sedition with a 12-hour suspension which quickly turned into the permanent expulsion of his account @realDonaldTrump. Then the list began to grow until 16 social media platforms/Internet services have slammed the door in his face, or the faces of his supporters, to date.

Axios, 7 January 2020:

Platforms are rapidly removing Donald Trump’s account or accounts affiliated with pro-Trump violence and conspiracies, like QAnon and #StoptheSteal.

Here is a running list:


WHAT: Reddit has banned the subreddit group "r/DonaldTrump," a spokesperson confirmed to Axios on Friday.

COMMENT: "Reddit's site-wide policies prohibit content that promotes hate, or encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence against groups of people or individuals. In accordance with this, we have been proactively reaching out to moderators to remind them of our policies and to offer support or resources as needed," a spokesperson tells Axios.

CONTEXT: While not an official group or page hosted by the president, it's one of the company's largest political communities dedicated to support for President Trump.


WHAT: Twitch disabled Trump's channel, citing the move as a "necessary step" to protect its community and "prevent Twitch from being used to incite further violence."

COMMENT: “In light of yesterday’s shocking attack on the Capitol, we have disabled President Trump’s Twitch channel. Given the current extraordinary circumstances and the President's incendiary rhetoric, we believe this is a necessary step to protect our community and prevent Twitch from being used to incite further violence," a spokesperson told Axios.

CONTEXT: Twitch was one of the first platforms in June to temporarily ban Trump's channel for hateful content around the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer.


WHAT: Shopify took down two online stores affiliated with Trump — his organization and his campaign's merchandise sites — for violating its policies on supporting violence.

COMMENT: "Shopify does not tolerate actions that invite violence. Based on recent events, we have determined that the actions by President Donald J. Trump violate our acceptable Use Policy, which prohibits promotion or support of organizations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause. As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump." - a spokesperson told The Financial Times.

CONTEXT: Shopify had until Friday gone the farthest in actually de-platforming Trump, as his stores were permanently removed, not temporarily disabled.


WHAT: Twitter announced Friday the platform will permanently ban President Trump's account effective immediately.

COMMENT: "After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," Twitter said in a statement.

CONTEXT: It's Twitter's strongest-ever action against the president's account and comes in response to the "risk of further incitement of violence," per the social media company.


WHAT: Google has pulled Parler, a social media app for conservatives and far-right extremists.

COMMENT: "In order to protect user safety on Google Play, our longstanding policies require that apps displaying user-generated content have moderation policies and enforcement that removes egregious content like posts that incite violence," a Google spokesperson said.

CONTEXT: Google’s move immediately suspends Parler, going further than Apple's earlier decision to remove the app unless it submits a content moderation plan.


WHAT: YouTube is accelerating its enforcement of election misinformation and voter fraud claims against Trump and other channels.

COMMENT: "Due to the extraordinary events that transpired yesterday, and given that the election results have been certified, any channel posting new videos with these false claims in violation of our policies will now receive a strike, a penalty which temporarily restricts uploading or live-streaming. Channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period will be permanently removed from YouTube," Alex Joseph, a YouTube spokesperson, told Axios.

CONTEXT: YouTube is typically slow to take action on bad content and accounts. Its response, while swift, was somewhat benign compared to competitors removing or disabling Trump's account. YouTube did remove the video Trump posted Wednesday that addressed the Capitol violence without fully condemning it.


WHAT: Facebook banned Donald Trump from posting on his Facebook accounts for at least the next two weeks until the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden is complete.

COMMENT: "We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post Thursday.

CONTEXT: On Wednesday, Facebook did remove the video Trump posted Wednesday addressing the violence without fully condemning it before taking greater action against Trump on Thursday.


WHAT: Instagram banned Donald Trump from posting on his Facebook accounts for at least the next two weeks until the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden is complete.

COMMENT: "We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post Thursday.

CONTEXT: On Wednesday, Instagram's parent Facebook did remove the video Trump posted addressing the violence without fully condemning it before taking greater action against Trump on Thursday.


WHAT: Snapchat disabled Trump's Snapchat account Wednesday because it believes the account promotes and spreads hate and incites violence, a spokesperson said.

COMMENT: "We can confirm that earlier today we locked President Trump's Snapchat account," Snap spokesperson Rachel Racusen told Axios.

CONTEXT: Snapchat was one of the first major social platforms to take serious action on Trump's account for threats to democracy in June when the company said it stopped promoting his account in its "Discover" section, which features professional content and other prominent people.


WHAT: TikTok is removing content violations and redirecting hashtags like #stormthecapitol and #patriotparty to its community guidelines.

COMMENT: "Hateful behavior and violence have no place on TikTok. Content or accounts that seek to incite, glorify, or promote violence violate our Community Guidelines and will be removed," a TikTok spokesperson said.

CONTEXT: Other hashtags like #stopthesteal and #QAnon have been redirected since last year.


WHAT: Apple on Friday threatened to remove right-wing-friendly social media app Parler from its App Store if Parler doesn’t lay out a plan to moderate its content.

COMMENT: "We have received numerous complaints regarding objectionable content in your Parler service, accusations that the Parler app was used to plan, coordinate, and facilitate the illegal activities in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021 that led (among other things) to loss of life, numerous injuries, and the destruction of property,” Apple wrote to Parler in an email obtained by BuzzFeed News. “The app also appears to continue to be used to plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities.”

CONTEXT: Apple is flexing its power to try to get Parler to moderate its content. [on 10 January 2021 Apple suspended the Parler App from its online store. This means the app can no longer be downloaded to an iPhone]


WHAT: Discord says it has banned server The Donald, per journalist Casey Newton.

COMMENT: "While there is no evidence of the server being used to organize the Jan 6 riots, Discord decided to ban the entire server today due to its overt connection to an online forum used to incite violence and plan an armed insurrection in the United States," per Mother Jones' Ali Breland.

CONTEXT: The Discord account was connected to the pro-Trump social network TheDonald.Win and the r/theDonald subreddit that was banned Friday.


WHAT: Pinterest has been limiting hashtags related to pro-Trump topics such as #StopTheSteal since around the November election, a spokesperson said.

COMMENT: "Pinterest isn’t a place for threats, promotion of violence or hateful content," a Pinterest spokesperson said. "Our team is continuing to monitor and removing harmful content, including misinformation and conspiracy theories that may incite violence.”

CONTEXT: Trump doesn't have a Pinterest account, and the platform has tried to stay away from political content, but Pinterest hasn't been able to squelch it completely.

The bottom line: Trump is quickly losing access to all the platforms where he once was able to spread his message freely, but groups of his supporters will still be able to gather online. [my red annotations]

Donald Trump joined Triller (an American video making & social networking platform) in mid-2020 but this site is yet to announce its position.

However, Twitch affiliate PornHub Update recently announced it too was banning Trump.

When Twitter removed Donald Trump’s personal account it appears to have cut off an est. 88,770,584 social media users from receiving his views directly into their timelines each day.

Gary Corby, the Trump campaign’s digital director tried to give Trump his account. Twitter promptly suspended him.

Twitter has also removed the Team Trump account and is selectively removing attempts by Donald Trump to place tweets on @POTUS which violate Twitter’s terms and conditions.

Individual Trump supporter accounts such as @linwoods, @FightBackLaw and @TheRISEofROD have been suspended for either spreading untruths about the 2020 presidential election or advocating lethal violence members of the US Congress.

According to Techcrunch, PayPal has been deactivating the accounts of some groups of Trump supporters since last week, who were using the money-transfer fintech to coordinate payments to underwrite the rioters’ actions on Capitol Hill. PayPal has been increasingly banning some political accounts, banning a far-right activist in 2019 and also banning a spate of far-right organizations in the wake of violent protests in Charlottesville in 2017. These bans so far do not appear to extend directly to the president himself.

Parler which apparently refuses to moderate its platform is also full of such threats - including incitement to assassinate the current US Vice-President for his perceived failure to support Donald Trump - according to Input. On Sunday 9 January 2021 alarmed at the proliferation of violent images and posts on this platform Amazon Web Services announced it would cut Parler from it cloud hosting as of 11:59pm, US Pacific Time (6pm Sydney Time, Monday 11 January 2021). Parler is then potentially offline for up to a week until it rebuild its website.

The naked violence that Donald Trump unleashed on 6 January which left five people dead is still a very real threat…….

"Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021." [Twitter Inc, 8 January 2021]

Parler, 6 January 2021


Friday, 9 October 2020

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's QAnon friend may have less reading material theses days


In 2018 shut down the original QAnon subreddit, r/CBTS_stream and r/TheGreatAwakening along with the 17 other major QAnon subreddits for inciting violence and doxing, with the last significant QAnon subreddiit r/Pedogate banned in September 2020.

Also in September as part of a broader QAnon sweep begun in July Twitter Inc permanently removed Scott Morrison's personal friend, Tim Stewart aka BurnedSpy34 from the QAnon cluster of conspiracy spreaders, for "engaging in harmful activity".

Now Facebook has extended its measures to counter conspiracy, hate, violent and militarized groups by completely banning QAnon from its social media platform.

Facebook Inc, 6 October 2020:

An Update To How We Address Movements And Organisations Ties To Violence

On August 19, we announced a set of measures designed to disrupt the ability of QAnon and Militarized Social Movements to operate and organize on our platform. In the first month, we removed over 1,500 Pages and Groups for QAnon containing discussions of potential violence and over 6,500 Pages and Groups tied to more than 300 Militarized Social Movements. But we believe these efforts need to be strengthened when addressing QAnon.

Starting today, we will remove any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content. This is an update from the initial policy in August that removed Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts associated with QAnon when they discussed potential violence while imposing a series of restrictions to limit the reach of other Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts associated with the movement. Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts that represent an identified Militarized Social Movement are already prohibited. And we will continue to disable the profiles of admins who manage Pages and Groups removed for violating this policy, as we began doing in August.

We are starting to enforce this updated policy today and are removing content accordingly, but this work will take time and need to continue in the coming days and weeks. Our Dangerous Organizations Operations team will continue to enforce this policy and proactively detect content for removal instead of relying on user reports. These are specialists who study and respond to new evolutions in violating content from this movement and their internal detection has provided better leads in identifying new evolutions in violating content than sifting through user reports.

We’ve been vigilant in enforcing our policy and studying its impact on the platform but we’ve seen several issues that led to today’s update. For example, while we’ve removed QAnon content that celebrates and supports violence, we’ve seen other QAnon content tied to different forms of real world harm, including recent claims that the west coast wildfires were started by certain groups, which diverted attention of local officials from fighting the fires and protecting the public. Additionally, QAnon messaging changes very quickly and we see networks of supporters build an audience with one message and then quickly pivot to another. We aim to combat this more effectively with this update that strengthens and expands our enforcement against the conspiracy theory movement.

This is not the first update to this policy – we began directing people to credible child safety resources when they search for certain child safety hashtags last week – and we continue to work with external experts to address QAnon supporters using the issue of child safety to recruit and organize. We expect renewed attempts to evade our detection, both in behavior and content shared on our platform, so we will continue to study the impact of our efforts and be ready to update our policy and enforcement as necessary.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

For years Facebook Inc. has known that its algorithms encourage and amplify antisocial behaviour like hate speech and extreme political bias

It seems that Facebook Inc. executives shut down efforts to make the site less divisive - because social and political division was increasing company profits by keeping certain categories of users engaged.

One has to wonder to what degree the company's decades of fostering poisonous online comment has contributed to the chaos that is American society in 2020.

Business Insider, 29 May 2020:
  • For years, Facebook has known that its algorithms encourage and amplify antisocial behaviour like hate speech and extreme political bias to keep users engaged, according to company documents reported in The Wall Street Journal.
  • When given proposals to make the platform better, executives often balked. They didn’t want to offend bad actors, and they didn’t want to release their hold on people’s attention. At Facebook attention equals money. 
  • So Facebook’s algorithms have been allowed to continue being sociopaths – pushing divisive content and exploiting people’s visceral reactions without a thought for the consequences or any remorse for their actions. 
  • Meanwhile, by letting bad actors on the platform do their thing, Facebook is feeding an inherent political bias into the algorithms themselves, and the company at large.
Facebook has always claimed that its mission is to bring people together, but a new report from The Wall Street Journal laid bare what many have suspected for some time: Its algorithms encourage and amplify harmful, antisocial behaviour for money. 

In other words, Facebook’s algorithms are by nature sociopaths. And company executives have been OK with that for some time. 

Here’s what we learned from Jeff Horowitz and Deepa Seetharaman at The Journal
  • A 2016 internal Facebook report showed “64% of all extremist group joins are due to our recommendation tools.” 
  • A 2018 internal report found that Facebook’s “algorithms exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness” and warned that if left unchecked they would simply get nastier and nastier to attract more attention. 
  • An internal review also found that algorithms were amplifying users that spent 20 hours on the platform and posted the most inflammatory content (users that may not be people at all, but rather Russian bots, for example). 
  • Facebook executives, especially Mark Zuckerberg, time and time again ignored or watered down recommendations to fix these problems. Executives were afraid of looking biased against Republicans – who, according to internal reports, were posting the highest volume of antisocial content. 
  • And of course executives had to protect the company’s moneymaking, attention-seeking, antisocial algorithms – regardless of the damage they may be doing in society as a whole. Politics played into that as well. 
People who suffer from antisocial personality disorder – known in popular culture as “sociopaths” – engage in harmful, deceptive behaviour without regard for social norms. Sometimes this is done with superficial charm; other times this is done with violence and intimidation. These people never feel remorse for their behaviour, nor do they consider its long-term consequences. 

This is how Facebook’s algorithms behave. It’s how they hold on to users’ attention and how, ultimately, the company makes money. 

This runs contrary to what the company has been telling us about itself. After the bad rap it developed in the wake of the 2016 election, executives and the company’s marketing machine were telling us that Facebook was both financially and culturally committed to encouraging pro-social behaviour on the platform by doing things like removing violence and hate speech, making sure conspiracy theories and lies didn’t go viral, and cracking down on opioid sales. 

Now we know that that commitment was limited. Facebook would not kill the algorithms that laid the golden eggs despite their bias against these goals, or even clip their wings for that matter.....

Read the full article here.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Domestic Violence in the NSW Northern Rivers Region in 2019

According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research in the year to March 2019 there were 202 Domestic Violence (DV) assaults recorded in the Clarence Valley Local Government Area (LGA), compared to 30,063 DV assaults recorded state-wide.

In the same time period elsewhere in the NSW Northern Rivers region:

Tweed LGA - 344 recorded DV assaults
Richmond Valley LGA - 141 recorded DV assaults
Byron LGA - 115 recorded DV assaults
Ballina LGA - 124 recorded DV assaults
Lismore LGA - 227 recorded DV assaults
Kyogle LGA - 55 recorded DV assaults.

Three domestic violence related homicides were recorded in the Northern Rivers region for the year to March 2019 and 44 domestic violence related homicides state-wide.

An unenviable statistic, having 6.81 per cent of all NSW domestic violence related homicides occur within the Northern Rivers region.

None of the Northern Rivers domestic violence related homicide victims were juveniles.

Friday, 31 May 2019

When a Coffs Harbour hotel makes it onto an undesirable list

In 2008 the NSW Government commenced a Violent Venues Scheme to monitor alcohol-related violence in hotels and bars.

This scheme publishes reports twice a year on rounds commencing 1 June and 1 December each year.

In 2019 the number of licensed premises on the NSW Government’s violent venues list has halved from 12 to 6 in the past six months, with no venues in the most restrictive level one category of 18 or more violent incidents over a twelve month period.

There are 6 licensed premises in the next category below of 12 to 17 violent incidents over a twelve month period.

Venues on the list face strict conditions and increased monitoring by Liquor & Gaming NSW.

The Coastal Hotel Bar & Restaurant at Coffs Harbour is in this second category this year to date with 13 violent incidents recorded.

While in 2017 it was included in the second category with 13 violent incidents.

According to Liquor & Gaming NSW:

Level 2 venues are subject to three additional special conditions:

1. Cessation of alcohol services 30 minutes prior to close
2. No glass containers to be used after midnight
3. 10 minute alcohol sales time out every hour after midnight or active distribution of water and/or food.

Level 2 venues also have to maintain a register during opening hours.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Australia 2019: women are still dying violently in unacceptably high numbers

Counting Dead Women, 25 May 2019
On average at least one woman a week is dying violently in Australia this year.  

I say "at least" because the figure above is mainly based on media reports of deaths - how many go unnoticed by the nightly news or daily newspapers is unknown.

Looking back on past posts on North Coast Voices it appears that an average of 1 to 2 female deaths by violence per week is how the years since 2014 have ended.

Despite the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government periodically talking up its approach to ending violence against women the situation is littled changed because women are still dying in unacceptably high numbers.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Minor parties mix it up over mobile phone after miner’s parliamentary dinner - Senator Brian Burston (right) and One Nation adviser James Ashby. 
Picture: The AustralianSource:Supplied

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (PHON) senior staffer and United Australia Party (UAP formerly PUP) senator were involved in an altercation near the Great Hall of Parliament House after a Minerals Council of Australia Parliamentary Dinner on the evening of 12 February 2019.

The senator was formerly a member of PHON who split from Pauline Hanson in 2018.

This is not the first time PHON CoS James Ashby has been involved in an incident where his anger has boiled over –  in 2012 he allegedly batted a personal mobile phone from the hand of a journalist into long grass, in 2016 it was alleged that he threw a mobile phone at then PHON MP Ross Culleton’s staffer and in 2017 was accused of “bullying” and “threatening” a member of former PHON candidate Senator Fraser Anning’s staff.

If one looks closely at the political history of the main characters, it would appear that this latest incident was a far-right grudge match involving current and former One Nation politicians and staff.

These are the current claims and counter-claims less than 14 weeks out from the federal election………………

The New Daily, 13 February 2019:

Pauline Hanson has denied sexually harassing Senator Brian Burston after a bloody scuffle in the corridors of Parliament on Wednesday night involving her chief of staff James Ashby. 

Declaring that she “might be 64, but I am not that desperate”, Senator Hanson emphatically denied the ugly claims that led to a physical clash between her former colleague and her current chief of staff.

The bizarre altercation, which was filmed by Mr Ashby, left the 70-year-old Senator Burston allegedly bleeding from cuts to his hand and prompted security to be notified of the clash just outside the Great Hall of Parliament. 

“My hand was injured when Ashby put his phone in the face of my wife and I defended her, fearing for her safety,” Senator Burston told The New Daily. 
“I injured my hand in trying to get the phone off her. [Mr Ashby] ambushed me after attending the Minerals Council dinner where he sat at the same table. Obviously a set up,” he said.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 February 2019:

Senator Brian Burston has denied offering to "f---" a staff member to make her feel better, as a bitter dispute erupts on the crossbench over a series of bombshell sexual harassment allegations. 

Rejecting the allegation contained in a lengthy complaint sent to the Department of Finance last year and seen by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on Wednesday, the United Australia Party senator launched his own attack on Pauline Hanson, claiming the One Nation leader had twice sexually harassed him.

Senator Hanson denied the allegation on Wednesday night during a rushed appearance on Sky News: "A lot of men have tickets on themselves and Brian Burston, don't go out in Canberra, it's very windy tonight.

"I might be 64 but I'm not that desperate. These are allegations that have been made up, there are no truth to them whatsoever and I feel sorry for his wife, I really feel sorry for his wife."

The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 February 2019:

Scott Ryan, the President of the Senate, said he had already talked to his lower house counterpart, Speaker Tony Smith, and would be looking into the spat as more information emerged.

"I've been in discussion with the Speaker this morning and those discussions continue," Senator Ryan said. "We will be looking at this matter as a matter of urgency."

"We both regard this as a grave matter," he said. "At this stage I have received no formal information."

Senator Burston said he did not recall smearing two red marks - which Senator Hanson says is blood - on his rival's office door on Wednesday evening.

"Ashby probably did it himself - I've got no idea," he said. "I don't recall how I got back from [Parliament House cafe] Aussie's to here [his office]."

In a statement, Senator Burston's office said he had referred the matter to police.
"Brian Burston has reported the full matter to the Australian Federal Police and has commenced legal proceedings against James Ashby seeking a restraining order over repeated acts of harassment and aggression of which the Senator has ample evidence."

"Senator Burston absolutely denies all allegations and will be defending them strenuously."

The senator has promised to defend himself with planned remarks in the Senate on Thursday. Under parliamentary privilege laws, a Member of Parliament can make otherwise defamatory comments in the chamber without fear of legal action.
The Guardian, 14 February 2019:

President of the Senate Scott Ryan on why he revoked James Ashby’s pass:

“Senators must be free to go about their work in this building, this privilege and protection is not limited to simple proceedings in the chamber. Passholders are granted access to the building on certain conditions on behaviour, amongst others, these conditions are in place to protect all occupants and facilitate the work of members and senators.

The video footage that I have reviewed records the reported incident between Senator Burston and Mr James Ashby last night it shows inappropriate by a passholder towards a senator. Accordingly I have exercised my authority to revoke Mr James Ashby’s pass to access the building and prohibit him from entering the building for the time being. This does not affect his employment which is not a matter for the presiding officers … This does not prejudice any other legal or other proceedings that may be undertaken or initiated by the parties involved. Given the seriousness of the incident and evidence immediately available to me I believe immediate action is necessary and warranted. If further information comes to my attention this decision can be revisited and any subsequent legal action can be taken into account.”

Brian Burston on blood on the door:

“Whilst I do not recall the incident of blood on the door I now have come to the conclusion that it was myself and I sincerely apologise for that action.”

With brawling breaking out in the corridors of Parliament House the May 2019 federal election can't come soon enough.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Australian Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety now underway

Commencing in 2016-17 when Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison was then just the Federal Treasurer he cut $472.4 million from Aged Care funding over four years, then followed that up with a $1.2 billion cut over the same time span.

When deteriorating conditions in nursing homes around the country began to be reported in the media and the Oakden scandal came to light in 2017, concerned citizens began to call for a royal commission.

The Liberal Minister for Aged Care and Liberal MP for Hasluck Ken Wyatt was of the opinion that such an inquiry would be “a waste of time and money”.

Once Scott Morrison realised that ABC Four Corners was about to air an exposé on aged care provision he quickly changed his mind and announced the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety on 16 September 2018.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was established on 8 October 2018 by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd).

The Honourable Richard Tracey AM RFD QC and Ms Lynelle Briggs AO have been appointed as Royal Commissioners…

The Commissioners are required to provide an interim report by 31 October 2019, and a final report by 30 April 2020…
The Commissioners were appointed to be a Commission of inquiry, and required and authorised to inquire into the following matters:
a.    the quality of aged care services provided to Australians, the extent to which those services meet the needs of the people accessing them, the extent of substandard care being provided, including mistreatment and all forms of abuse, the causes of any systemic failures, and any actions that should be taken in response;
b.    how best to deliver aged care services to:
                i.        people with disabilities residing in aged care facilities, including younger people; and
               ii.        the increasing number of Australians living with dementia, having regard to the importance of dementia care for the future of aged care services;
c.    the future challenges and opportunities for delivering accessible, affordable and high quality aged care services in Australia, including:
                i.        in the context of changing demographics and preferences, in particular people's desire to remain living at home as they age; and
               ii.        in remote, rural and regional Australia;
d.    what the Australian Government, aged care industry, Australian families and the wider community can do to strengthen the system of aged care services to ensure that the services provided are of high quality and safe;
e.    how to ensure that aged care services are person‑centred, including through allowing people to exercise greater choice, control and independence in relation to their care, and improving engagement with families and carers on care‑related matters;
f.     how best to deliver aged care services in a sustainable way, including through innovative models of care, increased use of technology, and investment in the aged care workforce and capital infrastructure;
g.    any matter reasonably incidental to a matter referred to in paragraphs (a) to (f) or that [the Commissioners] believe is reasonably relevant to the inquiry.

A preliminary hearing was held in Adelaide on 18 January 2019.

At this hearing the Commissioner Tracy stated in part:

The terms direct our attention to the interface between health, aged care and disability services in urban, regional and rural areas. These issues necessarily arise because of Australia’s changing demography. We are also required to look at young people with disabilities residing in aged care facilities and do our best to deliver aged care services to the increasing number of Australians living with dementia. Part of our task is to examine substandard care and the causes of any systemic failures that have, in the past, affected the quality or safety of aged care services. We will consider any actions which should be taken in response to such shortcomings in order to avoid any repetition. This will necessarily involve us in looking at past 25 events. There have been a number of inquiries which have considered matters that, in certain respects, fall within our terms of reference. We are not required by the Letters Patent to inquire into matters which we are satisfied that have been, is being or will be 30 sufficiently and appropriately dealt with by another inquiry or investigation or a criminal or civil proceeding. As a general rule, we do not intend to re-examine matters which have been specifically examined in previous inquiries. We do, however, expect to examine the changes and developments which have followed previous inquiries, as well as the extent to which there has been implementation of recommendations from those inquiries. Where we have different views, they will be made known.

According to ABC News on 18 January 2018: Out of almost 2,000 Australian aged care providers invited to shed light on the sector ahead of the royal commission, only 83 have been forthcoming with information, the Adelaide inquiry was told.

The Guardian on 18 January reported: Counsel assisting Peter Gray said the commission had received more than 300 public submissions since Christmas Eve and 81% concerned provision of care in residential facilities, with staff ratios and substandard care the most common themes. The federal health department has also passed on 5,000 submissions it received before the commission’s terms of reference were set.

Interested members of the public can still make submissions as the Royal 
Commission will continue to accept submissions until at least the end of June 2019.

Details on how to make a submission can be found here.