Archive for July, 2018 | Monthly archive page

Foreseeable result of cruel detention

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

One of Australia’s gulags, the detention centre on Nauru.Their only crime is seeking asylum in Australia, but their treatment by the country’s government is making death a better alternative for many asylum seekers.

It is hard to take seriously those Australian politicians who profess concern at mental ill health when they cause so much of it.

Our leaders have created such anguish among those begging for asylum as to drive some desperate refugees to swallow toilet cleaner. For them, suicide is preferable to indefinite detention in Australia’s gulags.

At the prison camp in our client state, Nauru, a piece of phosphate once called Pleasant Island, there were188 recorded incidents of self-harmin the year to July, according to documents obtained under freedom of information by theHerald. There are only 537 people held there.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has yet to apologise for the slur against Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young. Photo: Andrew Meares

One man wrapped himself in toilet paper before seeking a lighter. Another leapt from a top bunk with a sheet around his neck. Others tried swallowing lice treatment, insect repellent, anti-dandruff shampoo.

The anguish continues for those in immigration jails on Australian soil. At Villawood, the name of a good Sydney suburb is sullied by such detention centre trauma that one tortured soul’s exit strategy was washing down heart medication with half a litre of disinfectant.

All of this is on our watch. Australians own this permanent, indiscriminate cruelty, after repeatedly endorsing mandatory detention since the Keating government introduced it in 1992 as “an interim measure”.

Self-harm may not be the policy’s clear and deliberate aim, but it is an entirely foreseeable consequence. What else would flow from such inhumane treatment of those who flee their homelands and risk their lives to ask for our help.

Immigration detention is supposed to be bad; it’s designed to discourage people from seeking refuge or from overstaying their visas. We lock people up for committing no crime to dissuade others from committing the same non-crime: pleading for asylum.

Our politicians sell it to Australians as the price that must be paid for “protecting” our borders. There have been too many reports for us not to clearly know that that price includes suicide, and an horrific array of methods people attempt to end their detention by ending their lives.

What we do to asylum seekers is one of the two great stains on the reputation of an otherwise great nation: we have yet to properly reconcile with our appalling treatment of Indigenous Australians, and we do great harm to those who seek our protection.

On average, those in immigration detention are imprisoned for more than a year. Under the Turnbull government, the time people spend in detention has rapidly increased, up to an average of 445 days each. That’s on average, and many face much longer waits. About a quarter of people in detention have been there for more than 750 days –two years, with change.

Those who have the misfortune of being forcibly taken by Australia to Nauru and found to be genuine refugees are effectively stuck.

The farce of the “open centre arrangements” policy allows them out of the prison camp, and into the rest of the third smallest state on Earth, just behind Monaco, except without the money or multiple exits.

They can visit the remainder of 21 square kilometres of isolated rock, much of which has been destroyed by mining, and revel in an economy smaller than that of the Falkland Islands. That is the limit of their foreseeable future.

The chances of major policy change from either major party is virtually nil. This is an area of government about which our leaders have no shame. The wrongful treatment ofSave the Children workersby Scott Morrison when he was immigration minister shows us that, as does the refusal of Peter Dutton to apologise to Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young. It was reported that she wasput under surveillancewhile visiting Nauru. Dutton called the report “complete nonsense” and her “an embarrassment to our country”.

Except it was completely true, but in his shameless way, he has yet to apologise for the slur. The chances of him apologising for the harm mandatory detention causes to people are nil, despite his declared concern for mental health.

The Immigration Department assures us that those who commit self-harm “are immediately provided with both counselling and medical services” which in “both Nauru and Papua New Guinea are broadly comparable with health services available within the Australian community”.

All well and good, but we would hardly need to be paying for mental health treatment for the damage caused while refugees are detained if we didn’t detain them. It’s less ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, than arsonist wanting a medal for putting the fire out.

Tim Dick is a Sydney lawyer. Twitter: dick_tim

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Blast from the past: historic Orange Railway Station sign finds new home

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Orange Society of Model Engineers members Eric Hicks, Greg Bird, Ewan Greer and Phil Pedley prepare to install the historic sign on Saturday. Photo: JANICE HARRISAN HISTORIC sign from Orange Railway Station has taken on a new life after being restored by the Society of Model Engineers to its original condition.

The sign was unveiled on Saturday at Matthews Park, giving a fascinating insight into how the Orange Railway Station was a transport hub until the 1970s when services were cut, and lines subsequently closed.

Orange Society of Model Engineers member Phil Pedley said thethe sign was rescued from the scrapheap by members of the group and installed in Matthews Park to add to the model train ride experience for children and adults.

“The sign really needed to have some work done on it,” said society member Ewan Greer.

“When we did some research we found that the towns which had been listed on the original signage, because Orange was an interchange, had been taken down each time a service was cut.”

Mr Greer said the restored sign was reminiscent of the important place rail travel held in Australian history and in this district.

“At around the time the sign was erected at Orange Railway Station there would have been four mail trains a day going through Orange, there was the Central West Express, the Silver City Comet and the service to Lithgow,” he said.

“Orange Railway Station was a busy place.”

The font and the lettering was replicated by Orange business McSigns using old photographs.

Orange Society of Model Engineers offers miniature train rides to children and adults at the track in Matthews Park, on the corner of Anson and Moulder Streets, at 1pm on the second Saturday of every month.

Cost is $1 per ride, with all funds going back into the maintenance of the trains, track and boarding area.

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Moree’s own Pollyemma Antees awarded $7,500.

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

MOREE’S own Pollyemma Antees has been awarded a $7,500 scholarship from Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH).

SARRAH exists so that rural and remote Australian communities have allied health services that support equitable and sustainable health and well-being.

Mrs Antees started studying public health at university in 1996, at this stage she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. Her degree included a subject in nutrition.

“My family also has a history of food allergies, so they had to go to dieticians. That’s where the interest came from as well,” she said.

Mrs Antees started studying to become a dietician at the Queensland University of Technology and has been working in the field for the last 15 years.

In 2002, she moved to Moree where she met her husband and worked with Joy Schultz who is now retired Credentialed Diabetes Educator.

“I have always had an interest in diabetes. Joy taught me a lot in regards to Diabetes Management.”

Mrs Antees received the $7,500 scholarship after she applied online with SARRAH. She had to answer questions like do you work in rural town, why do you like working in rural towns, why do you want the scholarship and how will it help your community. The next stage included letters from past and current employees.

The scholarship will pay for Mrs Antees to complete a graduate certificate in Diabetes Education and Management externally through University of Technology Sydney.

“The course is 12 months; there will be block placement and one week work experience.

“As a dietician I work with a lot of diabetic clients so I am doing the course to ensure I am provided the most up to date diabetes advice and management.

“I always get excited when through nutritional advice and lifestyle changes clients lower their HbA1C and cholesterol levels. HbA1c is a measurement of a diabetics average blood glucose levels over a three month period. Under 7 per cent is the goal.”

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Fizzy drinks in firing line | POLL

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

East Grampians Health Service chief executive Nick Bush.EAST Grampians Health Service chief executive Nick Bush has called for an increase in the purchase price of fizzy drinks.

It follows a new push by VicHealth to get Victorians to switch from sugary drinks to water for 30 days and track their progress.

Data from the Department of Health and Human Services (2013) shows 17.9 per cent of people living in the Ararat Rural City area are daily consumers of soft drink.

“There is a big correlation between fizzy drink and obesity,” Mr Bush said.

“It’s been a real focus of ours to reduce soft drink consumption from the Biggest Loser coming to Ararat to now.

“I’m of the view that the purchase price of sugary beverages should be raised as a general deterrent for people that drink them on a daily basis.

“It happens in other countries and it’s had positive results inreducingobesity levels.”

He said companies that sold fizzy drink were very good at marketing their products as ‘healthy’.

“A lot of the marketing these companies do involves consumers of theproducts doing exercise and fitness-related activities,” he said.

“You can exercise all you like, but if you drink one 600mL bottle with all that sugar, you’re probably going to have to go back out and get active all over again.Staying healthy is as muchabout a balanced diet as exercise.”

Mr Bush said the health service was continuing to work closely with Ararat Rural City Council on preventative health initiatives.

“We recently approached the department with the aim of securing specific data fromthe period of the Biggest Loser coming to now to see whether there has been an improvement in the generalhealth of people living inArarat,” Mr Bush said.

“Unfortunately, we were told it might be five to six years before we saw any change in the data.

“It’s disappointing because that data has the potential to really shape the structure of the health service moving forward. We could start to move resources from treatment to preventative health.”

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Naomi Staleneberg makes Southern Stars

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

International debut: Penrith junior cricketer Naomi Stalenberg (middle) is set to play against India. Here she is with fellow Penrith juniors Mikayla Hinkley and Pat Cummins.Penrith junior cricket players Naomi Stalenberg, 21, and Mikayla Hinkley, 17, have made the most of their experience with the Sydney Thunder in the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League.

Stalenberg is finding her feet as a member of the NSW Southern Stars squad and has made a real impression in the T20 format after she was selected for the national team.

Stalenberg learned of her selection in Southern Stars team early last week and said she was taken aback.

“I was over the moon,” she said. “I didn’t believe it at first. I didn’t really know what to feel. It was very out of the blue. It still hasn’t sunk in.

“It’s an absolute honour to play for your country, I can’t believe it.”

While she was certainly excited by the news, Stalenberg said she found out while at her day job, and had to try to keep herself composed.

“I was at work and told Mikalya Hinkley and she was screaming,” she said. “And then I kind of had to keep everything under wraps.

“A few people sent me a few messages last night and I knew it was officially announced at 10am, Tuesday, and pretty much straight after that I had heaps of messages and phone calls.”

Her selection comes following her impressive form for the Thunder, where she has a reputation of being a big hitter, having faced 87 balls for 160 runs, at a strike rate of 183 during the season.

Hinkley has played at a professional level, with her role mostly limited to fielding, but did make 15 from nine balls in a match against the Brisbane Heat.

At the moment, both will focus on a strong finish to the season for the Thunder, who sit atop the WBBL ladder, with just two games remaining, making them near certainties to play in the finals. The final of the WBBL will be just two days before the international T20 games.

The Southern Stars will play three games against India — on January 26, 29 and 31 — with the final game to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

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What is going on around the town

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Mermaids will be at the Lagoon for breakfast this Saturday and Sunday.

January 20Snow Queen’s Aussie Freezing Show atThe Fraternity Club

January 22Mrz Hyde rocks Dicey Riley’s Hotel

January22 to 23Good Mourning Mrs Brown returns to the WEC.

January 22 to 24NSW Country Track and Field Championships atBeaton Park

Something Special retrospective solo art exhibition by Jeanette Riley at the Old Court House,Wollongong. Opens Friday at 6pm.

January 22 to 30So Popera Productions presents The Producers at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre. Tickets at

January 23 and 24Fairy Fantasy Parities provide something different withMermaids at the Lagoon from8am.

January 23 to 25Mariner Bayside Australia Day Regatta atWollongong Harbour

January 26Australia Day Aquathon and Community Walk

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Big events planned for national celebration

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

More than 80 community events have been scheduled as SA prepares to celebrate Australia Day.

David ‘Spurs’ Goodall, Cook, ACT, gets into the Australia Day spirit. Photo: James Chan.

Australia Day Council executive officer Matthew Miles said this was the most celebrations they have seen.

“This is a great chance for South Australians to celebrate what’s great about Australia, regardless of where they live… and I’d encourage everyone to take part in events near them,” he said.

“This year, there’ll be more than 80 locally-based community events held on Australia Day, with every council in South Australia holding at least one event for their community.”

On top of these 171 events registered for Australia Day at Work.

The largest Australia Day event in the state will be held in Elder Park, Adelaide, with a parade featuring more than 80 different cultural groups, a family concert and fireworks.

Last years event attracted 43,000 people, with a similar crowd expected this year.

Other local events include a bushman’s breakfast at Coober Pedy, a free lamington giveaway at the Whyalla foreshore, the Goolwa Concert band playing at the Alexandrina Council celebrations, a free breakfast at Ceduna, brunch at Tiddy Widdy beach, an aquathon on Lake Bonney in the Riverland, and the 24th annual Australia Day fun run at Meningie.

Port Pirie will also hold its beach festival with sand castle competitions, bucket relays, thong throwings and a memorial raft race.

“It’s great to see so much support for local events – especially in regional areas,” Mr Miles said.

There will also be an Aussie Day Weekend Fundraiser Barbecue held at Bunnings, with the local Country Fire Service and State Emergency Service brigades manning the tongs on Saturday January 23 in its annual national fundraiser.

To find out more about local events, visit 老域名australiaday.org备案老域名/events-landing.

Australia Day Council of SA

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Drug driving: A question of impairment

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

CANNABIS, alcohol, amphetamines, prescription medications:these can all impair your driving ability – so why are only two of them illegal to posses?

On January 12, police performeddrink/drug tests on 84 drivers in Bega. Fourteen gavepositive roadside oral fluid results for illicit drugs and weretaken for further oral teststo be analysed in a laboratory, looking forcannabis and amphetamines.

When this story was posted on the Bega District News’ Facebook page it generated adebateover how fair it was to chargedrivers caught with drugs in their system, particularly if the drugs were potentially takenseveral days prior.

The NSW government’s Centre for Road Safety (CRS) states cannabis can be detected in saliva for up to 12 hours after use whilestimulants such asspeed, ice and pillscan be detected for one to two days.

In fact, according to the National Cannabis Preventionand Information Centre,cannabis can stay in your system for up to five days if you are an occasional user or six weeks if you are a regular user –far longer than alcohol would remain in your system.

Also, documents obtained by the NSW Greens under freedom of information laws have shown there is no lower limit of drugs that are detectable in the saliva of people subjected to the roadside oral drug tests, and no proof the testsare effective in preventing crashes.

Despite this, nearly 100,000 NSW residents each year are subjected to roadside drug testing.

Illicit drugs should not be the only drugs thought of as impairing to drivers. In 2013a UK-basedstudy foundthatbenzodiazepines, such as Valium, werethe secondmostcommon drug foundin drivers killedonroads –the first was alcohol.

TheCRS states taking prescriptionmedications can affect your driving and peoplewho take medication should use alternative means of transport–sound similar to those What’s Your Plan Bads released by the state government?

However, this should not understate the impactillicitdrugs have on the road, as the CRS states about10 per cent of mobile drug testscome back positivecompared with less than oneper cent of RBTs for alcohol.

These facts highlight how being impaired by any drug can affect your driving ability, but there needs to be more specific testing to identify when there are high doses of drugs such as cannabis or Valium in your system.

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Pushing the boundaries

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

IN new proposed changes by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) Federal member for Parkes Mark Coulton may lose Bingara to New England Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce.

The AEC announced the names and boundaries of the 47 federal electoral divisions in NSW that could be redistributed.

The announcement proposed that the state will lose one federal electoral division, and that Mr Coulton’s electorate will increase from one-third of the area of NSW to half of the state.

“It’s going to be harder. But I believe I am as qualified as anyone. I have been managing a large size of the electorate for two terms of government,” he said.

In the proposed changes Mr Coulton will lose residents in Wellington and Mid-Western Regional Councils which will be transferred to Calare electorate. With Carrathool Shire possibly being located to the Farrer electorate.

“I certainly hope we will keep Moree. It’s an important community in the Parkes electorate. It’s only an hour from where I live. I hope I can stay there.”

The electorate of Parkes could gain Broken Hill, Central Darling, the northern part of Gwydir Shire and Gunnedah.

Mr Coulton believes that these changes won’t have any major affects on the communities.

“I will however be saddened to lose the great communities of Wellington, Mudgee, and Gulgong in this redistribution. I have very much enjoyed representing these towns. I know that you will be in good hands with John Cobb; he is an excellent Member of Parliament and a great bloke. I will also be sad to lose the Bingara community to New England.

“Obviously the changes won’t come into effect until the next election. I will be contesting the seat; if I am successful I am prepared for the challenge. I’m not just assuming that its mine. I will make sure I work hard to win it.”

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Kirsty’s stellar first season

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

BIG FUTURE IN THE SURF: Nowra-Culburra’s Kirsty Higgison catches a wave during the Nutri-Grain IronWoman Series action at North Cronulla Beach at the weekend. Photos: HARV PIXNOWRA-CULBURRA’S Kirsty Higgison capped off a stellar first year competing in theNutri-Grain IronWoman Series, finishing second overall on 98 points, behind only series champion Jordan Mercer on 109.

FIRST: Winning round five

In rough conditions at North Cronulla Beach, series debutante Higgison executed an awesome performance in round five, putting her in equal first position for the series withMercer heading in to the final round, after her first placed finish.

Higgison established her dominance in the first ski leg of the race and put in the work to establish a strong lead over the course of the action-packed two rounds of the loop format race.

“I love a bit of carnage and it’s so full on you never know who’s going to be in the lead,” she said.

“It’s always chopping and changing and you just have to focus on yourself.”.

But her perfect debut season wasn’t meant to be, as she finished eighth in the season finale, as Mercer won the race, therefore seeing her claim the series.

Mercer – daughter of six-time series’ legend Darren Mercer – stamped her name in the history books, in a superior performance in the eliminator race’s three rounds.

“I never race with anything less than my best and to come out on top I thought, ‘yeah I’ve got what it takes, I can get the job done’,” said Mercer.

“The morning of the race, someone special told me that the name Mercer on the back of my togs is ‘just my mum and dad’, and for me my mum and dad just means love so I raced with a clear mind.”

“It’s so incredible.

“I truly believe I put in so much to achieve this and it doesn’t always work out so perfectly but today it has for me.”

Higgison, who was disappointingly knocked-out in the second round of day’s eliminator, still exhibited an extraordinary maiden season of racing to claim the series’ second placing.

“I could not be happier, it’s been such a massive season and to come away with three wins is unbelievable,” she said.

“I’m speechless, honestly it’s the best thing ever,.

“I couldn’t be happier for Jordy, as she deserves it so much.

“She’s been working so hard for so long, she’s earnt it and to say that I’m second, with Jordy is just so special.”

The weekend also sawShannon Ecksteincrowned the ‘greatest ever Ironman’with his ninth series win.

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