Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Haneef admits it: "I was arrested"

Q38. Do you recall me saying that. That you were under arrest.

A. Yes you arrested me um, but I didn't know that, ah then you, you said that I have been ah involved in terrorist activities. But I deny that I have been involved in any...

Q39. Okay. Do you agree that I told you at that time that you were under arrest for providing material support to terrorist organisation.

A. Well I haven't, I, I haven't provided...

Q40. Okay. I understand that but I'm saying to you, do you agree that that's what I said to you.

A. Well I, I've submitted to you for whatever reasons, you have ah taken um top clear myself from whatever charges I am being put on.

Q41. Okay. I'm just asking you whether, do you recall me saying that you were under arrest.

A. Yes.

More here (PDF).

Phil Ruddock is spitting chips that this damning admission was leaked to The Oz.

Egging Brendan

Defence Minister Brendan Nelson, might find himself with a few things to explain about his handling of the Education portfolio, back in the day:
THE long-held secret of which nine Australian Research Council grants were vetoed by former education minister Brendan Nelson may soon be out, with the affected researchers to be asked whether they want the details made public.

...

Dr Nelson vetoed three projects in 2004 and seven in 2005 (one of which had been rejected in 2004, suggesting there were nine academics involved). These Discovery projects - believed to be in the social sciences and humanities - had been approved by ARC peer review.
(National Rupert Daily)
Any embarassment that might cause our Brendan, will come on top of being made a liar by Kevin Andrews' decision that Doctor Muhammed Haneef - reckless supplier of mobile phone facilities to family members who later turned out to be terrorists - will go into immigration detention if he ever takes advantage of his grant of bail. Last Thursday, The Times of India reported:
Refusing to go into merits or otherwise of the case of Haneef, who has been detained for the last nine days, or divulge details of the investigation, Nelson said there was "no intention to detain him (Haneef) beyond a period that is considered by the judge as appropriate."
The report, ironically, is headlined "Haneef case: India promises Australia all help". Pity it looks as if the promise was obtained under false pretences, making it completely void. But what do integrity and good diplomatic relations matter when you've got an election to win.

(Cross Posted at Larvatus Prodeo)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Go Ahead, Be Stupid - It's Your Democratic Right!

CHRIS UHLMANN: On a personal level, were you expecting to see some signs of a turnaround in the polls by now?

TONY ABBOTT: I think it would be fair to say that you always tend to expect that good government will get a political pay-off, and so far that isn't happening. But I remain reasonably optimistic.

I mean obviously Chris, the public have a right to vote for whomsoever they wish, and they have a right - if they wish - to replace a good government with an inept Opposition. I mean, they have that right.

But nevertheless I guess I have always been pretty confident in the basic good sense of the Australian people. So we'll just keep going forward up to the election and hopefully beyond and see what happens.

(AM, 16 July 2007. My emphasis.)

Cross-posted at Larvatus Prodeo

Monday, July 16, 2007

Guns Don't Kill People - Doctors Kill People!

According to a comment at Club Troppo, doctors are a bigger threat to community safety than guns. And this, being the internet, the commenter, Phil, had the links to prove it.

First there was this report in The National Rupert Daily, "Hospital Bungles are Killing Scores":

AUSTRALIA'S first national report into serious mistakes in public hospitals has found at least 130 avoidable instances in which patients died or were put at serious risk.

Operations or investigations on the wrong patient, or the wrong body part, accounted for the biggest share of the mistakes, at 41 per cent of the 130 "sentinel events" recorded in 2004-05.

...

Stephen Bolsin, associate professor of patient safety at Victoria's Geelong Hospital, said there was no evidence hospital safety had improved since a landmark 1995 report showed that up to 8per cent of hospital patients would be the victim of a preventable mistake - and 10 per cent of these would cause permanent disability or death.

"Safety breaches in Australian healthcare are killing more people than breast cancer or road accidents," Associate Professor Bolsin said.

"But it doesn't get anything like the attention ... there's no evidence things have changed over the past 10 years."
I don't know the death rate from breast cancer, but it seems to me that Professor Bolkin is indulging in hyperbole when he says that the Australian healthcare system kills more people than road accidents. A quick check of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's Road Deaths Australia: 2006 Statistical Summary reveals this fact:

In 2006, there were 1,601 persons killed in 1,456 road crashes. Comparing the number killed with the previous year, this was a 1.6% decrease (1,627 persons killed in 1,472 crashes).
So the comparative scores are: road traffic deaths - 1,601, patients killed or put at serious risk by the health system - 130. If Associate Professor Bolsin's claim is correct we still have around 1,500 iatrogenic deaths to account for.

Phil's other link is to this page at the Sporting Shooters' Association of Australia web-site, titled "Doctors: A Health Issue". Here you'll find plenty of reports and links on the health risks of health care.

There are plenty of adjectives to describe this sort of reporting. "Honest" and "truthful" aren't among them.

(Cross posted at Larvatus Prodeo)