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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 24 August 2007
Dishonest Sydney Telegraph runs interference on Rudd ALP health policy, as Iemma ALP run interference on bus pay claims?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: health

Picture: Today's press front pages in Sydney tell a story, with most including Australian Financial Review (not shown) carrying the real news prominently page 1 of a big federal ALP health policy, but the Daily Telegraph aka cartoon book go spoiler on a tangential health headline about sick bus drivers, who probably really are sick, and not joking.

Bus drivers get paid about $20 an hour we hear. We think they deserve danger money too this winter.

70 out of 300 at Ryde depot are reporting 'flu' sick leave (about 23%) says the Telegraph at their page 9 spill over from front page headline here "Sick Joke" when the rival Sydney Morning Herald reported recently 20% flu rates in some workplaces here in Sydney far less exposed to public germs. Indeed there has been an avalanche of such worrying stories here:

Don't soldier on - take a sickie and spare the city your germs ... by shrieker Miranda Devine with this image.

Public health measure ... wearing a mask in Tokyo is a sign of respect.

Public health measure ... wearing a mask in Tokyo is a sign of respect.

And here Toddler dies from flu - National - smh.com.au

and here Sydney flu epidemic kills 150 | The Daily Telegraph

So the poor old bus drivers are being smeared in a front pager, which has the very useful dual purpose if you are conservative Coalition paper of crowding out a big health/hospitals policy announcement, which could be the pivotal election winner for Kevin Rudd's federal ALP.

Meanwhile Virginnia Trioli of abc prime time 702 radio ... is off sick for a whole week now and this writer has delivered vitamin C and vegetable soup packs to our disabled buddy in the Eastern Suburbs down with the same lergie.

Have the Telegraph and stingy Iemma no shame at all?

Posted by editor at 9:08 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007 9:48 AM NZT
Thursday, 23 August 2007
Liberal Party's $1M draw back: Greens
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: health
Liberals should stop taking donations from big tobacco


If the Liberal Party wants to be taken seriously when discussing the
health risks of smoking, they should donate the over $1 million dollars
they've received from Phillip Morris and British American Tobacco to
cancer research, Greens Senator for New South Wales Kerry Nettle said
today outside a Liberal party fundraiser hosted by the Federal Minister
for Ageing, Christopher Pyne in Sydney.

"Christopher Pyne cannot deliver an effective 'quit smoking' message
while his party continues to accept donations from big tobacco
companies," Senator Nettle said.

"Smoking is the single greatest cause of death and disease in Australia.
According to the 2001 National Drug Strategy Household Survey  tobacco
use caused 19,000 deaths and 142,500 hospital episodes were attributed
to tobacco smoking.

"Australian Electoral Commission data shows that between 1998 & 2006 the
Liberal Party has received $697,065.00 from British American Tobacco and
$337,340.00 from Philip Morris.

"The Liberal Party should donate the over $1 million dollars they've
received from tobacco companies to cancer research," Senator Nettle

"There is growing public disquiet about the millions of dollars
political parties receive to run their election campaigns particularly
tobacco companies.

"Today's $1200 a head lunch hosted by Christopher Pyne excludes all but
the top end of town from gaining access to the Howard Government",
Senator Nettle said.

Contact: Kristian Bolwell 0411638320

Posted by editor at 6:03 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007 6:35 PM NZT
Tuesday, 31 July 2007
N E W S wRAPS 'The M5 East Pollution Con Continues'
Mood:  irritated
Topic: health

.... full story here

Posted by editor at 11:59 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2007 12:46 PM NZT
Thursday, 28 June 2007
Noel Pearson, Keating, Howard and their politics of money, power and shame
Mood:  irritated
Topic: health


When you read Noel Pearson in the Daily Telegraph today it flies along until the very last line where he reveals his hyperbole and indeed excess:

Here is the column here: Noel Pearson: We must all help to stop abuse

and the offending sentence here

"Those people will the protection of Aboriginal children to fail the same way and as vehemently as they will failure in Iraq."

The headline for Noel's Sydney Daily Telegraph piece 28th June calls for unity of purpose but the conclusion drives a dagger of emotional violence into the hearts of anyone who dares to vary not so much on goals, as methods. Lawyers like Noel Pearson, and this writer, are taught in law school this is known as 'blowing hot and cold'. It's a big no no in professional advocacy actually due to overt inconsistency.

The assertion by Pearson that some people in our political community actually will Iraq to fail in terms of the horrendously savage civil war  is plain wrong, and so much so it's actually a form of emotional violence on anyone daring to simply observe the truth that the Iraq Occupation has failed, past tense.


Celebrate Aboriginal Australia: 

 Linda Burney MP launches NAIDOC week action at Addison Gallery Marrickville 2pm Sunday 8th July 07

You are either for us or against us. Absolute truth. And this is our sophisticated Black leader?  It's surely a calculated form of rhetoric by Noel Pearson to pander to the Howard govt with the purse strings this side of the federal election. It is also a give away to Noel's limited objectivity let alone diplomacy.

A few weeks ago Noel was claiming in the pages of The Australian greens like this writer with a staunch commitment to Aboriginal social justice wanted billions of people to suffer and die. And there we were thinking we were trying to stop dangerous sea level rise to save millions of lives: Refer our website here for the details:

Sunday, 10 June 2007
John Howard's betrayal of practical reconciliation with broken $40M 1996 election promise for Cape York Land Use Agreement
Mood:  sharp
Topic:  indigenous

including analysis there of a slippery provocative article, egregiously airbrushing the true history of the Cape York Land Use Agreement neutered by lack of funding despite its grand substance:

The ideal equilibrium | The Australian Your Say Blog 


We understand Noel's megaphone is fundamentally a federal govt funded operation there at the Cape York Institute as shown here in Cairns 

We notice a Board member Ms. Lisa Paul is Secretary of a federal govt department who presents like another Howard loyalist Catherine Murphy at the head of the ultra political National Association of Forest Industries (read woodchippers like Gunns Ltd). And what an extremely political operation Murphy has run quite comfortable with overt industry violence on greens both physical and emotional.

To be fair there is also Geof Gallop former WA Premier on the CYI board. But there is also  Chairperson - Professor Marcia Langton a long time green hater (especially versus a heroic achiever for the environment being The Wilderness Society) whose academic career was in part built on financial support from ERA uranium miner if memory serves. ERA were responsible for the Jabiluka uranium mine farce in 1998 within Kakadu World Heritage national park, near Jabiru, which actually prefaced the failed Statehood referendum later that year, and then 2001 election loss of power from CLP's Shane Stone to the ALP's Clair Martin in the NT. Stone was a strong ally of Howard.


As the old saying goes - he who pays the piper ....

Thus Greg Sheridan a keen right winger lauds Pearson today and eagerly joins in the emotional and psychological kicking of many experts who have very justified concerns over 11 long years of the Howard Govt to question not just motives but far more importantly capacity or mentality for change, as distinct from grandstanding.

Similarly the editorial  tub thumps about "shameful protest" when the shame can be liberally apportioned on this topic:

- the 11 year delay by the Coalition federal govt let alone National Country Party in the NT up to 2001

- the shameless opportunism of an election context

- the amateurish glossing of detail by Minister Brough on 7.30 last night

- the fierce 'ownership' of misery and the cures of same by the centre left parties of the ALP, whether successful or not, in an obvious form of territorial defence.

Only a fool would think this is an easy problem from any side of politics. Addictions in particular are never so easy as just "law and order" let alone a very big cultural divide. But the effort must be made too.

Everyone is holier than thou that the children should come first, as per the Sydney Morning Herald editorial 28th June. Well that's about the only thing I've heard so far that rings true: Actions and money speak a whole lot louder than anything else.

Thus Pearson reminds us of that other great articulate advocate Paul Keating in the great debate over the 'true' modern history of reform in the Australian economy, starting out on Lateline - 07/06/2007: Paul Keating on the lead-up to the federal ... which morphed into Q & A in federal Parliament and then grew like topsy including:

21/6 Wayne Swan: Howard, Costello in state of denial | Opinion |

22/6 Peter Costello: Productivity all Greek to Rudd | Opinion | The ...

23/6 Productivity should be a spin-free zone - Business - Business ...  

23/6 The latest jobs blarney comes out in the wash - Opinion - smh.com.au

23/6 Both sides belabour a skills issue | Features | The Australian

25/6 We gave Keating free ride, says PM | The Nation | The Australian

25/6 Editorial: Reform is key to economic growth | Opinion | The Australian

back to Keating again with

26/6 Paul Keating: Libs are making it up | Opinion | The Australian

The ex PM makes some fantastic instructive points while periodically trashing his credibility with throw away hyperbole as if the bike has got the wobbles at high intellectual speed sommersaulting over the handlebars - saying for instance at one point interest rates were not an issue in the 1996 federal election. Err fraid so Paul. Just like they must have been for Howard in 1983. Whether Keating wins in the end on points I don't know, though I suspect he does actually.

This big economics debate is about who did what, when, did it work and who gets the credit, and the brickbats just like failure of welfare for Aboriginal children. There is plenty of blame and maybe praise to go around in my book. 

The issue of chronic poverty and cyclical abuse is intrinsically tricky, and when the debate is paralysed with confusion and emotion you can be pretty sure we are in the realms of power struggles rather than fact or truth. It's as old as human nature and group dynamics.

The timing of this latest govt action perhaps results from another more subtle influence - the embarrassment of budget surplus where no politician can with any moral sense ignore this festering problem with an excuse of too busy on something else.

As always the truth is a synthesis of many different angles and perspectives which is what democracy actually is. So we would recommend more listening and less emotional violence directed at political rivals. And more honest transparency about vested interests.

And listening doesn't mean suspending disbelief either. That's not realistic or honest.

As always it's mostly about the money and how it's managed, which is how those poor Aboriginal People got in this terrible mess in the first place. With economic sovereignty annexed by the Empire in their born to rule arrogance, then the stolen wages, then racial denial of citizens rights, and now hugely disproportionate life opportunities and welfare services, in a non English speaking remote culture. ESL programmes anyone?

It's all about the money for the Cape York Institute, to the major party spoils of the next federal election, to the funding not provided this last 11 years (eg $40m for CYLUA, 1996 broken election promise by John Howard, 1998 broken election promise by Robert Hill), to election promise$ up to Nov. 2007, to the free media the Howard leadership craves. How much indeed for the life of an anonymous child of different race and language who won't ever speak for themself or complain or cause embarrassment. Who effectively dies silently. The South in our North. And answer that honestly.

Up untill recently that black kid's life has not been worth very much at all. And everyone knows it. That's what Australia really is stripped back to the fundamentals. Pretty ugly isn't it? It's our character test and we've been failing it a long time now.

doug nichls and boy.jpg
From the movie Australian Atomic Confessions
Postscript #1 29th June 2007
We found Gavid Mudd's contribution on Crikey.com very instructive and worth repeating here (below) in full given this front page article in The Australian  today
Howard, Rudd dodge indigenous 'land grab' claims
which we have to say shows some serious editorial independence given the other blatherings in the newspaper of late. The Sky News guy on Trioli 702 picks up the theme too. These echo crikey.com's Bob Gosford lead story yesterday, we notice also
Howard's land grab: The (d)evil is in the permit detail
The overall impression is that funding for welfare has been withheld to leave a mess and move on in over the social disaster as if some heroic rescuer above moral reproach. Is the Howard Govt really that evil? They certainly took a torch to the CYLUA as explained above.

"Bininj culture really strong. You have to look after country. For your grandfather country, like mother country, take care." Yvonne Margarula, Mirarr Senior Traditional Owner.

Over to Gavin Mudd here 27th June Using children to nuke Aboriginal land rights:
 "As an environmental engineer, Gavin Mudd has over ten years' experience in issues concerning Aboriginal land rights and mining. He is a lecturer in environmental engineering at Monash University, and a concerned Australian. He writes:
It is ironic that at the time of the 40th anniversary of the 1967 referendum John Howard is in the middle of gutting the Northern Territory’s Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 (ALRA) -- the Commonwealth legislation made possible by that referendum.

The land rights were long overdue, hard fought for and won by Aboriginal people, but they are about to be critically undermined, not just by the politics of military-style interventions in problematic Aboriginal communities, but by a more insidious, as yet unrecognised agenda -- mining and nuclear waste on Aboriginal land.

The ALRA gives legitimate powers such as access permits for entry to Aboriginal freehold lands, a veto over exploration and mining and other activities. As noted by the 1974 Woodward Land Rights Inquiry, to deny Aboriginal people the right to prevent mining on their land is to deny the reality of their land rights.

Since gaining control of the Senate, the Howard Government has finally had the parliamentary power to gut the ALRA, which they are doing, but have needed a massive diversion before they introduce the most controversial reforms: radically altering the mining royalty regimes, and potentially remove the veto provision for exploration and mining.

It is no coincidence that many of the communities targeted for “military style intervention” are also areas that are heavily targeted for minerals exploration, particularly uranium, as well as for potential nuclear waste dumps. This includes Western Arnhem Land and Central Australia, where numerous known uranium deposits are being actively investigated by various wanna-be uranium producers.

I have personally visited numerous Aboriginal communities, including some with major social dysfunction and others which have escaped the tyranny of petrol sniffing, grog and domestic violence. This was achieved by the communities and took hard yakka over a decade (or more). Now, they are vibrant, positive and functional communities proud to be truly sustainable. Mining has rarely aided this process.

The use of “social issues” as a diversion to hide the gutting of Aboriginal land rights is malicious and cold-hearted. As with almost everything Howard does, there is clearly more at play -- perhaps it’s time to have a real debate about problems, true partnerships and the future.

As noted by Yvonne Margarula, Senior Traditional Owner of the Mirarr-Gundjeihmi clan of Kakadu and on whose lands the Ranger uranium mine and Jabiluka project lie, “None of the promises last, but the problems always do!” "

The editor met Yvonne Margarula of the Mirarr and Goldman Award winner (and beware the faulty link there to the Mirarr site which could be cyber squatting) in 1997, and at Jabiru going to court in 1998 (she faced a charge of 'trespassing' on her own traditional land for time immemorial!), and we hold her in the highest esteem here at SAM news site. We understand her family have been victims of mining industry culture in the past in the most extreme and fatal ways.


Postscript #2 This brutal, damaging article on the economics debate ran on June 28th a day after the first roughly drafted, and now much better edited, version of this article, to add to my list of a flurry of articles:

Michael Costello: History backs Keating's claim on economy

Posted by editor at 4:09 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 2 July 2007 6:25 PM NZT
Tuesday, 29 May 2007
No cure for the common cold - but try inhaling vapour clouds of eucalyptus in hot water
Mood:  surprised
Topic: health


The SAM blogger has had the dreaded onset winter lergie for some 4 weeks now - it's rotten. The colder than average home base here in the old building doesn't help either.

Some like oranges, garlic etc but what really works for us beside rest and fluids is careful use of eucalyptus drops about $4.50 for 100ml at the supermarket depending on the brand.

Boil the kettle, pour into a pot. Put in 10 or 15 drops (a short pour) and slowly breathe in the heady mix gradually and out again. It's strong stuff so be sure to read the directions and don't ever drink the stuff. Do this as long as you like or the vapour cloud lasts (a minute or two). No need to boil on a cooker either as adequate volalitility just off the boil, and quite comfortable temperature.

2 or 3 times a day is really working to clear our lungs, and it somehow feels patriotic too.

Posted by editor at 12:33 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007 1:10 PM NZT
Friday, 18 May 2007
The tricky kangaroo meat debate - next course
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: health
Sent: Friday, May 18, 2007 7:55 AM
Subject: ....Re: partial grovel re hydatid life cycle BUT still many questions re kangas and public health

I'm indebted to James Thomspon [below] for his sledge even though he mispells my name (Comments 16th May 2007) and partly grovel now re : "Eating red [kangaroo] meat does not result in hydatid infection."  I am no vet or medical man as such and it shows now half folding my tent on this one.  I had forgotten the dual life cycle of the creepy parasite from all those years ago in the lecture room. This diagram here Echinococcosis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, or here Echinococcus -- Encylopedic Reference of Parasitology shows the hydatid cyst in the kangaroo whether offal or meat is infectious to the 'definitive' dog stage of the life cycle, but not intermediate host like kangas or humans.The South Australian government web site also makes it clear "People cannot be infected by eating Hydatid cysts in infected offal & Humans cannot infect humans [sic]" Hydatid disease (SA) [pdf]. 

Even so presence of hydatid is enough for sheep carcass to be rejected from an abattoir in WA 2006 presumably for hygiene/marketing reasons ESPERANCE REGIONAL OFFICE AGMEMO  and I still doubt eating one would be much fun if not dangerous directly. It would be another story if the pet bow wow ate it then licked, patted you. And the concern over quality control of meat on farm versus off farm (domestic v wild) is still not over: Anecdotally pet owners are cautious with "wormy" kangaroo meat: Dogz Online and EDBA Forums > Kangaroo Meat, and animal rights people still argue with some logic of other potential contaminants in off farm or wild animal situations here in NSW Parliament re chemical sprays Kangaroo Meat Contamination - 10/10/2000 - QWN.

So I stand by the more general concern agricultural controls lessen risk compared with wild animal meat. For instance in meeting the sledge we found this submission [bold added] of Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg Dept of Zoology, Qld Uni for Environment Australia, August 1999 for the federal govt Overview of background information for kangaroo management - Chapter 7

"Andrew (1988) reviewed the issue of kangaroo meat and public health, including the records of inspections between 1980 and 1987 made of carcasses by Australian Quarantine Inspection Service officers at export game meat establishments (this pre-dated the change of legislation in New South Wales in 1993). There were records for 204,052 red, eastern and western grey carcasses of which 196,104 were passed as fit for human consumption. Of the 7,948 rejected, 81% were rejected for reasons not associated with parasites or pathology, mainly poor handling, particularly inadequate refrigeration. Of the rest, only 1,452 were rejected because of a parasite, and that was for a nematode, Pelicitus roemeri, which is quite harmless, anyway, to humans, but is unsightly.... it is uncommon, but can infect the muscles of the lower leg.."

Elsewhere the authors note people often prefer to cook kangaroo rare.

We understand 3.6 m kangaroos are being 'culled' this drought year (usually 5 or 6 million per year). That's alot of dead kangaroo with no records. Nor is a study of 20 years ago, referred to in 1999 by govt, sufficiently recent for public confidence in 2007. The onus is on the industry not the other way round.

Tom McLoughlin, ecology action

James Thompson writes: Tom MacLouglin (yesterday, comments) has either misunderstood the mode of transmission of hydatids or he is deliberately attempting to mislead the public over the risk of eating kangaroo and other red meat. I agree that hydatid cysts are a potentially serious parasitic disease of humans. However, humans are at risk from the ingestion of hydatid tapeworm eggs, laid by tapeworms living in the gut of farm dogs, dingoes or foxes that had fed on cattle, sheep or kangaroos. To avoid human infection with hydatids, after handling dogs wash your hands before eating and worm your dogs regularly. Eating red meat does not result in hydatid infection. Tom should have paid more attention during his zoology degree.

Posted by editor at 12:24 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 18 May 2007 3:02 PM NZT
Not so much lawyers in love, as lawyers in strife
Mood:  blue
Topic: health

We received an intriguing letter from Lawyers Assistance Program yesterday not so much about high paid ambitious good looking 'lawyers in love', as the song goes here YouTube - Jackson Browne Lawyers in loveas lawyers in strife:


We called up the LAP Co ordinator Richard Gulley who advises the letter

1. is not related to a controversy running in crikey ezine at the moment about alleged drug use like footy players;

2. they send to 18,000 every 2 years or so

3. they get 2 or 3 calls per week from needy lawyers

This letter comes coincidentally (?!) on the heels of

- Big Media reports of depression in the profession especially in the younger cohorts leaving in droves apparently Lawyers most depressed: study | NEWS.com.au, and here Blake Dawson Waldron - Corrs Chambers Westgarth - Lander & Rogers ... and here Profession depression

- claim and counter claim by senior lawyers in the crikey.com.au ezine of alleged drug use like cocaine in the profession, like every other section of society. Lawyers Weekly are onto the story here Depressed lawyers turn to alcohol and drugs and we know what they mean with my lawyer father being a victim.

- official responses by the profession it's all under control and being monitored Lawyers row over drug use | Herald Sun

Our comment: Drug use amongst any group of 18,000 humans? Der. And good luck to the LAP too. Working with unhappy people as lawyers'clients often are is bound to make you unhappy. We wonder how doctors manage. Glad we got out of mainstream legal work in 1991.

Posted by editor at 11:43 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 18 May 2007 12:18 PM NZT

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