Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Australia Day today

It commemorates the arrival of the first white settlers in Australia in 1788 and has become an increasingly popular celebration. As the Left-run schools have robbed Australians of their history, the few shreds that remain in people's consciousness are seized on eagerly. The same goes for Anzac Day, which goes from strength. My family on my mother's side have for many years celebrated the day in a good Aussie way -- with a family get-together over a BBQ lunch. I will be off to that as soon as I post this. I expect to see lots of cars with Australian flags on them -- something that is a phenomenon of recent years only

A pesky one for the Warmists

In their usual form, Warmists have been out in force blaming the recent Brisbane flood on global warming (e.g. here), quite ignoring the fact that Brisbane flooding has been happening since Brisbane was founded nearly 200 years ago.

They also allege that the world has warmed significantly in recent decades. That should mean that the recent flood was greater than previous floods. Since the previous flood, however, a conservative government built the huge "Wivenhoe" flood mitigation dam. So flood levels don't necessarily tell us much.

What DOES tell us something is the amount of rainfall. If global warming were the dark person in the woodpile, recent rains should have been a record high. They were not. The recent Brisbane rainfall was dwarfed by the amount of rain that fell during the previous flood 36 years ago

BRISBANE had more rainfall in the 1974 floods than it did in the latest episode, preliminary figures show. And rainfall during the 1893 floods may have dwarfed both the 1974 and 2011 events.

The weather bureau on Tuesday unveiled rainfall comparisons suggesting the city falls were relatively light compared with '74. But the inland falls that caused the flooding of the Brisbane River were extremely heavy. The bureau stressed all data was not yet complete.

But weather experts suggested "peak rainfalls from the 1974 event were substantially heavier than those in 2011". Brisbane's three-days and one-day totals were 600mm and 314mm in 1974, compared with 166mm and 110mm in 2011. "However, in 1974 the heaviest rains were closer to the coast whereas in 2011 heavy rains spread further inland," the bureau said.

Insufficient data exists for a comprehensive assessment of the 1893 floods. But what data the bureau has suggests 1893's rainfall was extreme. Crohamhurst in the Glass House Mountains, inland from the Sunshine Coast, received 907mm on February 3, 1893. That remains an Australian daily record.


Flood levy will hit already 'struggling' Australians as food prices rise, says Joe Hockey

A $5-a-week levy to pay for flood reconstruction is a "dumb idea" when Australians are already struggling with flood-related price rises, the Coalition says. Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said it was “absurd” for Julia Gillard to ask Australians to donate to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh's flood relief fund and then impose a $3.5 billion new tax. “What's even worse is that flood victims will have to pay this levy, they have been affected by the floods and then they are now going to have to pay the levy.”

The Prime Minister is expected to announce a 0.5 per cent increase in the 1.5 per cent Medicare levy at the National Press Club tomorrow. The move would cost average earners an estimated $5 a week, raising about $3.5 billion in 12 months to rebuild damaged infrastructure such as roads, bridges, rail lines and community amenities.

News Limited newspapers reported today that Ms Gillard met with Treasurer Wayne Swan, Finance Minister Penny Wong and Infrastructure Minster Anthony Albanese yesterday to sign off on the levy.

Mr Hockey promised the opposition would oppose the imposition of a new tax in parliament. “This is a dumb idea on the back of increases in fruit and vegetable prices, rising interest rates, a carbon tax and a mining tax, it will indirectly affect everyone because there will be less money and less spending in the community, whether people have to pay it or not,” he said. “This is going to hit people who are struggling.”

Mr Hockey said a Coalition government would not impose a reconstruction levy if it found itself in government soon. “We absolutely rule out a levy, from our perspective the rebuild can be paid for out of existing government budget,” he said. "They are sitting on billions of dollars in various funds that they are afraid to touch because they are slush funds for re-election.”

The Howard government imposed a series of levies when it was in office, including the $500 million gun buyback levy and the $286 million Ansett levy, imposed on airline tickets, to pay workers entitlements after the airline's collapse. It abandoned a plan to impose a levy to pay for the military engagement in East Timor after community resistance.


Another useless government hospital kills a kid

Parents watched son die before their eyes

No doctor, a student nurse, faulty equipment and a stricken father forced to start CPR on his dying son when medical staff failed to notice the boy's heart had stopped. This was the nightmare unfolding at Nambour Hospital's emergency department on August 25 after an ambulance arrived with critically ill Sunshine Coast four-year-old Tom Olive, who later died.

His Mooloolah parents Andrew and Trudy Olive have called for an investigation into their son's treatment and a review of procedures so that other families don't endure the same trauma.

The Courier-Mail in November revealed the tragic loss of Tom and fears his three-year-old sister Laura could be at risk from the mystery disease that caused a devastating breakdown of his muscle tissue. His parents said their initial goal had been to protect Laura and now they were confident about her future, they wanted answers about their emergency department ordeal.

They have sent two letters to Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Paul Lucas through their lawyer Peter Boyce. A reply said the circumstances surrounding their son's death would be addressed by the State Coroner.

"This could take years. There is only a small window of time to save a child when they get this critical," Mr Olive said. "The children of the Sunshine Coast deserve better. I will not sit back and wait any longer. Changes must be put in place now as more lives could be lost.

"What we encountered was madness. There was no doctor waiting for us. A uni student nurse was trying to take Tom's temperature with equipment she said had been 'playing up all morning'. "The paramedic also had to point out that the blood pressure reading would be inaccurate because of its placement and Tom had moved.

"Later, when we were moved to a resuscitation room, there were up to eight staff present and no one except us was watching Tom. I was the first to notice his heart had stopped and started CPR. "All hell broke loose. The only resuscitation mask was an adult one that didn't fit and people were running everywhere looking for a kid's one. It was only at this stage that a doctor became involved."

Mr Olive said despite the ambulance stopping to pick up an intensive care paramedic and the hospital being called before their arrival, there was no doctor on hand. "How serious does a little boy have to be before he gets to see a proper doctor? It's too late when he's dead," Mr Olive said. "I don't blame the student nurse in any way, she should not have been put it in this situation."

Sunshine Coast Health Service District chief executive Kevin Hegarty said the matter was subject to an ongoing coronial investigation. "I appreciate the grief and anxiety this young family must be experiencing," he said. "I assure them that we are doing everything possible to assist the coronial investigations."


More legal stupidity

Man fined for trying to paint over offensive graffito on road. He should have been thanked, not fined

A Brisbane bayside man who tried to cover "offensive graffiti" of a penis left by others by painting over it was fined $300 and ordered to pay for its partial clean-up.

Simon Corbett pleaded guilty in the Redcliffe Magistrates Court to one count of wilful damage at Scarborough, north of Brisbane, on October 29 last year.

Prosecutor Jodie Brennan said police interviewed Mr Corbett after neighbours saw him painting on a section of road that was later found to have graffiti featuring "indecent representations" of a phallus - an erect penis.

Senior Constable Brennan said Mr Corbett was originally charged with an added aggravating feature of the offence - meaning they believed he was responsible for the original offensive road artwork. However, Mr Corbett, who was self-represented, said he had simply tried to cover the offensive "phallus" by painting over it.

It was expected Mr Corbett would defend the charge during a summary trial, but entered a plea of guilty when police revealed they would not pursue the allegation he was responsible for the offensive graffiti. Constable Brennan said the prosecution accepted Mr Corbett had only tried to cover graffiti allegedly left by one or more other people. "He was trying to cover up (offensive) representations on the road," she said.

The court was told the clean-up bill to remove the graffiti was $770. Mr Corbett said he did not think it would be fair to lumber him with the whole cleaning bill. Magistrate Alec Chilcott agreed and ordered Mr Corbett pay only $100 restitution.

Mr Chilcott said under the circumstances it was appropriate to not record a conviction against Mr Corbett, but did impose a fine of $300.


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