Friday, February 08, 2019

Trauma and poverty behind Indigenous deaths

An inquest into the deaths of 13 young Aboriginal people in the Kimberley has found the suicides “were shaped by the crushing effects of intergenerational trauma and poverty upon entire communities”. In a report released on Thursday, Western Australia coroner Ros Fogliani found that the young people “had no contact with the mental health services prior to their death”, and that “many of the parents were unable to care for their children because their own lives were marred by the effects of longstanding trauma”. Fogliani recommended universal screening of children for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder, that FASD be recognised as a disability under the NDIS, a Kimberley-wide registry of banned drinkers be set up, the establishment of a mental health facility in the east Kimberley, and the rollout of back-to-country cultural healing services for young people. At a press conference outside the coroner’s court on Thursday, WA mental health minister Roger Cook incorrectly stated that “all these kids were intoxicated before they took their lives”, before his office issued a correction.

National Australia Bank chair Ken Henry and chief executive Andrew Thorburn have resigned after being singled out for criticism in the banking industry royal commission’s final report. Commissioner Kenneth Hayne said that he “was not persuaded that NAB is willing to accept the necessary responsibility for deciding, for itself, what is the right thing to do”. Henry took a combative approach when he appeared before the royal commission in November 2018, scoffing and giving sarcastic answers to questions put to him by senior counsel Rowena Orr QC. Henry was contrite in an interview with the ABC’s 7.30 on Thursday, saying he “can’t tell you how many times I’ve relived that appearance, I understand the criticism”.

New South Wales Health has asked police to investigate disgraced gynaecologist Emil Gayed. In a NSW Health report released on Thursday, investigator Gail Furness SC detailed Gayed being charged with indecent assault in 2010, failing to wash his hands before treating patients, and contributing to several stillbirths. Speaking to Guardian Australia, former patients of Gayed spoke of severe and long-lasting pain, trauma, infection and associated medical issues after being treated by Gayed. In a statement, NSW Health deputy secretary Nigel Lyons said Gayed’s former patients “assisted greatly in identifying the systems failure in the administration of Gayed’s appointments and management, which affected the care he provided”.

Federal assistant roads and transport minister Scott Buchholz has apologised for behaving inappropriately towards a female Australian Defence Force officer while on a military exchange program in the Northern Territory in August. In a statement to media outlets on Thursday, Buchholz said he “behaved like an idiot on a parliamentary exchange last year and I recognise how inappropriate my actions were”. Buchholz said he “apologised for my conduct and the offence I caused” after the female Royal Australian Air Force officer lodged a formal complaint. In its own statement, the defence department said the complaint was “referred to the Office of the Minister for Defence Personnel” and was resolved when Buchholz apologised.

And independent member for Wentworth, Kerryn Phelps, has urged federal Labor not to abandon its support for her bill allowing the transfer of critically ill refugees from offshore detention. Opposition leader Bill Shorten has left open the possibility that Labor would support a government proposal to establish a medical advisory panel to report to the home affairs minister, saying on Wednesday that he was “not going to be a purist” on the issue. Speaking on Thursday, Phelps said “no one should cave in to the prime minister’s scare tactics and deliberate misinformation”, while Greens leader Richard Di Natale urged the party to “grow a spine, stand up to them, don’t let them divide our community”. Legal advice from Melbourne barrister Matthew Albert, obtained by Labor on Thursday, said the Phelps bill “includes security checks and empowers the minister to have regard to any security issues”. The legislation will come to a vote in the House of Representatives next week.

Lifeline: 13 11 14



“Former basin authority officials gave evidence that they had been told the number ‘had to have a two in front’ and that they had joked about just picking a NSW postcode, possibly even the one for the home towns of Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce or his New England nemesis, former MP Tony Windsor. It ended up being set at 2750 gigalitres.”


“The debate about MUP’s decision to shift its focus towards scholarly publishing has been remarkable for its intellectual poverty. Any unsuspecting soul who entered the Twittersphere and observed the journalists and politicians falling over one another to lament MUP’s change of direction might imagine that under its long-standing director, Louise Adler, MUP had been the one bright beacon of intelligent debate in Australia’s cultural Badlands.”


“I glide out of Changi Airport in a chauffeured limousine, slipping around on the beige leather seat with a cold face cloth, The Straits Times broadsheet and market updates murmuring on the radio, battling impostor syndrome. Had I not been met at arrivals with a ‘HENNESSY’ sign I’d suspect a bullish Asian businessman had been mistakenly left curbside, waiting to be picked up.”


“Intelligence agencies are understood to have warned in a classified briefing to the government that the ‘third pillar’ of the ­nation’s border ­protection architecture – the offshore ­processing of asylum seekers – would be dismantled if Kerryn Phelps’ medivac bill ­becomes law ... The advice warned that up to 1000 asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru would be expected to start arriving ‘within weeks’ of the bill being given royal assent, and being transferred within another four to five weeks.”


“Scott Morrison agreed his department should intervene in ASIO security checks to try to prevent asylum seekers from being granted permanent protection visas ... Morrison agreed his secretary should write to the director-general of security to request ASIO delay security checks so that people close to being granted permanent protection would miss the deadline.”


“The ‘Breaking news updates’ included advice on how to care for and support your friendly neighbourhood goth; promises that the Eat Pray Love sequel would feature ‘heaps more dog fighting’; reports of outrage over a video game that dared to feature real life human women; news that Harry Potters ‘giant spider’ is actually non-binary; and, perhaps best of all, the earthshattering revelation that ‘Your anxiety was on to something, everything is fucked’.”

Competition - Win a double pass to At Eternity’s Gate

The Saturday Paper invites readers to enter the draw for a chance to win one of 25 double passes to At Eternity’s Gate, starring Oscar-nominated (Best Actor) Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh, and in cinemas February 14. 

Tickets can be used at cinemas nationally, subject to Transmission Films’ terms and conditions. 

Competition closes 11.59pm AEDT on Saturday, February 9 and winners will be notified by Tuesday, February 12.

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.