杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

Gen Y can’t I find a job?

They’re better educated and way cooler than any generation that went before.
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Their dream job may well be the stuff of Silicon Valley dreams – chinos, T-shirt and laptop.

They may not live to work, but they certainly want to work to live, and the cockiness that goes with their assurance with new technology ensures heaps of abuse.

They may be the most vilified generation in history: some call them no-collar workers; others look at their endless hugging and dismiss them as teacup kids; in economically devastated Europe, they are boomerang kids who always come home, Peter Pans who never grow up.

But Generation Y is in danger of becoming the lost generation, the first since those Australians who survived the Depression to face a downwardly mobile work life.

Most will not earn as much as their parents. Working in a mobile store, computer shop, call centre or IKEA just won’t cut it. The education that was once the key to high pay and better lives now offers vistas of dead ends and detours as service industries shrivel, and state and federal government jobs vanish or are outsourced.

And while Ford flees and General Motors begs, the manufacturing industry – the traditional absorber of first-generation immigrants – is flatlining, leaving the school-to-work crowd out in the cold.

Some, such as Professor Michael Quinlan, from the University of NSW’s Australian school of business, wonder if government policy is creating a pool of permanently unemployed.

He says the 457 visas and the advent of backpackers from economically ruined countries are taking jobs from young people who once occupied the lower end of the job market. ”There’s a complete mismatch in Australia’s labour market,” Quinlan says. ”There must be thousands of people working here from overseas. Other countries have learnt to their cost what happens when you create a market that cannot absorb the young men who are the sons of the first generation of immigrants who come seeking a better life.”

The Gen Y plight has not been in hiding exactly but it broke from cover on Tuesday when the Herald ran an article by Sydney freelance journalist Georgia Leaker, on her travails gaining employment as a Gen-Yer with two degrees. ”I’m sick of being told that I’m lazy and mooching off the system,” the 24-year-old wrote. ”I don’t want to spend my week alone, on the couch, watching daytime TV … most of us are educated or skilled in some way and most don’t want to be dole bludgers. We’re just down on our luck and doing everything in our power to get a door – any door – opened. Take a chance on me and my generation.”

From smh上海夜生活m.au, Leaker’s story went viral – more than 95,000 people read her self-described ”whinge”. She also received eight genuine job offers.

She’s lucky. Most of her cohort – the 4.2 million Australians born between 1982 and 1999 – have become like a flock of seagulls fighting over a chip.

In their parents’ day, the future beckoned. Apprenticeships, traineeships and cadetships abounded, and when baby boomers started flocking to tertiary education, in 1967 for example, only 95,290 were enrolled at university. Last year, the population had nearly doubled and enrolments totalled 1,094,672 as universities churned out graduates for disappearing jobs.

A Co-op Future Leaders Index white paper on attitudes of students, released on Thursday, found them fearful about jobs, with 40 per cent planning to start their own business, and 25 per cent considering further study.

John Spoehr, of the University of Adelaide’s workplace innovation and social research centre, says Gen Y weathered the global financial crisis far better than those in Europe and the US.

”But the programs and pump priming that staved off the GFC in Australia have now about run their course and I suspect a ‘second wave’ is about to hit,” he says. ”The next year or so will be difficult for Gen Y.”

On Thursday, the Bureau of Statistics announced that unemployment rose 0.1 per cent to 5.7 per cent last month.

On Friday, University of Canberra researcher Jenny Chesters told the National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference on the Sunshine Coast that one in four people aged between 15 and 24 were unemployed or underemployed. ”Despite 15 years of continuous economic growth, the Australian economy has been unable to provide appropriate employment opportunities for a sizeable proportion of Australian youth,” Chesters said.

The Australian Council of Social Service deputy chief executive, Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine, says the unemployment figures show young people are struggling to find work in a difficult job market and sinking into poverty.

”Over the past 12 months, there has been a 30 per cent increase in recipients of the Youth Allowance payment,” she says. ”The inadequacy of these payments has been recognised by the Henry tax panel, the business community, trade unions and many economists.

”Many young people are trapped in a vicious cycle of lack of education, lack of work experience and employers’ reluctance to give them a chance. These figures show that current employment and training programs are not meeting their needs.”

Many think Gen Y is a fairly narcissistic group but there are those among them whose voices are rarely heard.

The Productivity Commission spoke for some of them on Thursday, releasing a staff working paper, Deep and Persistent Disadvantage in Australia. It found ”people who are more likely to experience deep and persistent disadvantage included lone parents and their children, indigenous Australians, people with a long-term health condition or disability, and people with low educational attainment.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

Reality TV star’s fortune from outback rivers of grog

Lucrative side business: Milton Jones, of reality TV series Keeping Up With The Joneses, has called restrictions on selling alcohol to customers from remote Aboriginal communities racist. Photo: Network Ten “Good buy”: Jones’ Top Springs Hotel, 600 km south of Darwin. Photo: Glenn Campbell
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In his Top End reality TV show, Milton Jones presents as a larrikin stockman whose mustering skills have taken him from knockabout bull catcher to successful cattle baron running a fleet of helicopters across northern Australia.

The star of the Keeping Up with The Joneses show is similarly represented in his autobiography, where he boasts of multimillion-dollar cattle station deals and owning and living on his “million acre” remote Coolibah Station, about 550 kilometres south-west of Darwin.

“It takes a million bucks a year to live here and run it. A million to live here and a million in the bank – that’s about the plan. You know you gotta work your country,” he writes in his book The Man from Coolibah.

But there is another Jones’ business which, while similarly lucrative, seems unlikely to feature on reality TV. For years, the cattleman has been making a killing selling thousands of litres of booze to some of the territory’s hard-core alcoholics who live in Aboriginal communities around Top Springs, about 600 kilometres south of Darwin.

The alcohol is sold from the Top Springs Hotel where Jones’ company Jones Cattle NT owns the licence. His pub is the only liquor outlet for hundreds of kilometres and the closest for several of the remote Aboriginal communities.

Hard-core drinkers from the communities often spend thousands of dollars a week buying takeaway alcohol, sometimes more than a dozen cartons per vehicle, before driving to remote locations on the edge of dry communities and binge drinking the lot.

Jones rejects any claims of impropriety and boasts that the hotel was a “good buy” made after a row with a former publican who falsely accused him of “shooting at blackfellas”.

But according to police and health officials, the river of grog that has flowed from the hotel has led to carnage in the communities, contributing to deaths, domestic violence, brawls, assaults, neglect of children and fatal traffic accidents.

One horrific incident last year involved a 14-year-old girl who had been at one of the drinking spots. She was killed when she tried to drive back to her community. She was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.06. She was crushed when the vehicle rolled.

Police found the car had been to the Top Springs Hotel where beer and rum had been bought. Fairfax does not suggest she bought the alcohol.

In 2011 a man died and another was severely injured after a group from Lajamanu community about 290 kilometres away bought 13 cartons of beer and three bottles of spirits at the hotel and tried to drive back.

The driver, Russell Sampson, 39, had a long history of alcohol-related offences including a conviction in 2001 for a dangerous act causing death which led to him being speared three times in the thigh as a traditional punishment.

Driving back he swerved, killing one of his passengers whose head hit a parked vehicle.

During Sampson’s trial last year, NT Supreme Court Justice Dean Mildren said: “This is just appalling that such an enormous amount of alcohol can be supplied”. He called for restrictions on takeaway alcohol. This and a petition led the NT Licensing Commission to apply successfully for restrictions on the hotel.

Jones objected and sought a hearing before the full commission, which heard about the problems caused by the alcohol sales despite an acknowledgement by police of a “civil and functioning relationship” between themselves and the hotel’s nominee Pauline Haseldine.

Licensing inspector Mark Wood alleged Jones had been aware in 1997 of the call for restrictions and that requests repeated in 2003 and 2004 had resulted only in the cessation of cask wine takeaway sales.

Jones’ counsel argued the hotel had an almost unblemished licence and questioned whether the licensee had a duty of care over customers who bought alcohol there but consumed it – and caused harm – hundreds of kilometres away.

This week Jones told Fairfax Media he had already appealed the decision through the Supreme Court. He denied alcohol sales were causing carnage and called the restrictions racist.

“They [police] need to be given some overtime to get out and do more breathalysing and roadworthy checks. Everyone else in the community wants it.

“It just means government workers have got to work a bit harder.

“If we don’t sell it at Top Springs, they will go another 273 kilometres to Katherine to get it.”

He said he wanted compensation if the commission was going to restrict his licence.

But the chief executive of the Katherine West Health board, Sean Heffernan, said: “I think he [Mr Jones] needs to really understand the impact and the trauma rather than see it from 170 kilometres away.”

Central Desert Shire deputy president Norbert Patrick called for Mr Jones to contribute back to the community, given the money that had flowed to the hotel.

Jones has written that he bought the hotel in the early 2000s when he owned the station nearby and had clashed with the publican. He writes that he attempted to give meat to local Aboriginals around the hotel, upsetting the then publican who claimed it was spoiling her business.

“One thing led to another and we had a few drinks and told her where to go and what not to do,” he writes.

He says as he drove away he saw the Aborigines’ dogs were on the road which was on his station so “I pulled the gun out and was into ’em”.

“The blackfellas must have got a bit frightened and they all ran back to the pub and the old girl, she’s rung the coppers and reckoned I was shooting at the blackfellas.”

He was banned from the hotel. So he said he then banned all his staff from going to the hotel and later purchased the licence when it came up for sale.

[email protected]上海夜生活m.au

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

FBI gets access to Telstra records

Telstra: Storing data for potential surveillance by US intelligence. Photo: James DaviesTelstra agreed more than a decade ago to store huge volumes of electronic communications it carried between Asia and the US for potential surveillance by US intelligence agencies, in a secret agreement with the FBI and the US Department of Justice.
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On Friday, Telstra was refusing to say whether it had similar data retention agreements with other nations’ intelligence agencies, including those in Australia.

Australia’s other major telco, Optus, declined to say whether it stored data for potential surveillance by US, or Australian, authorities.

Under the previously secret US agreement, Telstra has been sending all communications involving a US point of contact through a secure storage facility on US soil that is staffed exclusively by US citizens carrying a top-level security clearance. The data includes the content of emails, online messages and phone calls.

Under the November 2001 agreement, signed when Telstra was 50.1 per cent government-owned, the FBI and Justice Department also demanded Telstra ”provide technical or other assistance to facilitate … electronic surveillance”.

The Herald has confirmed that as recently as March 2011, the agreement was still operational. Telstra has declined to answer detailed questions about it.

The revelations come as the British and US governments reel from the leaking of sensitive intelligence material detailing a vast electronic spying apparatus being used against foreign nationals and their own citizens.

On Friday the Greens called for Telstra to disclose all details of the contract, labelling it an ”invasion of privacy and erosion of Australia’s sovereignty”. Karl Reed, an adjunct associate professor of computer science at La Trobe University, said the agreement was a serious concern. ”An Australian corporate entity providing critical infrastructure is acquiescing to demands of a foreign country. What would Telstra have done if it was China asking?”

The contract was prompted by Telstra’s undersea telecommunications joint venture called Reach. When it sought a cable licence from the US Federal Communications Commission, the DoJ and the FBI insisted on a binding security agreement.

The contract does not authorise Telstra or law enforcement agencies to undertake surveillance. But under the deed, Telstra must preserve and ”have the ability to provide” wire and electronic communications involving any customers who make any form of communication with a point of contact in the US, as well as ”transactional data” and ”call associated data” relating to such communications.

The US facility had to be staffed by US citizens ”eligible for appropriate US security clearances” who ”shall be available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and shall be responsible for accepting service and maintaining the security of classified information”.

The document was signed by Douglas Gration, a barrister who was then Telstra’s company secretary and official liaison for law enforcement and national security agencies.

He told the Herald he could not remember much about the agreement. ”Every country has a regime for that lawful interception,” he said. ”And Australia has got it as well.”

In 2011, Reach was restructured, giving Telstra control of most of the undersea cables. Telstra notified the DoJ and the FBI of the detail of the restructure.

Telstra spokesman Scott Whiffin said the agreement was required under US domestic law. ”It relates to a Telstra joint venture company’s operating obligations in the United States under their domestic law. We understand similar agreements would be in place for all network infrastructure in the US … Here or overseas, carriers are legally required to provide various forms of assistance to government agencies.”

Optus spokesman Joshua Drayton would say only: ”Optus handles all of its customer information strictly in accordance with its legal obligations under Australian law.”

[email protected]上海夜生活m.au

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

Going Home: the great Aboriginal dream

Cletus Nemarluk takes a dip in the Moyle River on the way to Perrederr. Photo: Justin McManus The Perrederr homeland. Photo: Justin McManus
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Guardian Jules Dumoo at the Yenmilli sacred rock art caves. Photo: Justin McManus

The Kuy Homeland. Photo: Justin McManus

On the road to Perrederr. Photo: Justin McManus

A family gathers around a campfire outside their house in Wadeye. Photo: Justin McManus

A boy bathes in a sink in Wadeye. Photo: Justin McManus

We reach the rock art caves and everyone falls silent. Later that night, the giant Northern Territory moon up and the mosquitoes and flies of all worlds swarming through the dark camp, the boys and the young men will talk of magic from up this hill and along the ridge where the rock art is. Kidney Fat Man and the Black Bushmen. Spirits that come to some but not others and come for both purposes: good and evil.

But for now we are up there, on the ridge, a drive and a hard walk from the camp through remote Northern Territory gums and pandanas, beneath squadrons of whistling kites, the scrubby ground crackling in the heat of the dry season. When we reach Yenmilli, the sacred rock art site, the boys and young men are suddenly still. They can talk all day and all night for hours on end in two languages and perhaps more, but not for now.

The sacred caves are small and under the crook of the ridge. The art is dots and hands, ancient and largely intact. Only one white person has seen it before, according to the family. Everyone sits. Black hands start tracing the white outlines on the cave walls and then black hands are placed over the drawn hands and most are an exact fit, like slipping into a glove.

Jules Dumoo, the eldest of the nine Aboriginal men here, a father to some of them and also a brother and uncle and guardian, sits in the dirt of the first cave where kangaroos now live but where his ancestors did also. He’s only about 45 years old but his own uncles and his father are now gone.

In his own language, Marritjevin, he says: ”Back in the old days, old people put their hand on the rock … they chew the clay then put their hand on the rock and spray it around the hands.”

In English he then says: ”I feel like they are sitting here with us and we are sitting here together telling stories. Teaching the old stories. It makes me proud and happy. We gotta keep this thing alive. Our spirit is alive up here. It’s important for us – very, very important. Hopefully if we keep it up things will change.”

This is what the family calls ”bush holiday” but it is way more serious than that. The homeland movement has been recognised by governments in the Northern Territory since the land rights uprising in the 1970s; now both federal and territory money is being used to facilitate Aboriginal people, usually displaced, going back to their traditional land.

The Northern Territory government has recently introduced a new homelands policy which gives $200 million over 10 years – with a large proportion of federal ALP money – to eligible homelands to improve infrastructure and services. The territory has also this year pledged $16 million over four years for grants for specific repair and maintenance work.

George Timson, the director of homelands, outstations and town camps for the territory government, says it is to ”preserve Aboriginal people’s culture and connections to the land”. He says about 10,000 people live on 500 designated homelands across the territory.

The Dumoos desperately want to make it happen. But it isn’t easy. They have not received any funding and like many do not know how to access the money. The aim is repatriation and in many cases it is a quest against the odds. It can be about trying to find hope in the face of hopelessness.

The extended family lives in Wadeye, a troubled Northern Territory town six hours south-west of Darwin. They have bought us here to a place called Perrederr where they are traditional owners yet don’t have the means to live. It is their homeland, the site of their Dreaming and the location and starting point for all their totems, spirits and old-time beliefs. It is where their ancestors come from and where their ancestors, long gone, still reside.

”We want to keep our culture going,” says Jules Dumoo. ”We don’t want to lose it. This is good wildlife country here, it’s a beautiful place. Sacred sites to look after. As long as people respect us and respect what we want.”

Since the death of his last remaining uncle recently, Dumoo has pledged to return his family here, on the harsh plains in the shadow of this extraordinary rock art, to live more traditionally. He hopes by doing this, and with a particular view to the vulnerable young men of the mob, to live with more peace, health and happiness.

The alternative and the default setting for many displaced Aboriginal families on the western side of the Northern Territory is Wadeye, the former Catholic mission also known as Port Keats, an isolated and dysfunctional town of 2500, a ghetto, where 22 disparate clan groups live.

Inter-clan violence and organised gang violence has been ruinous in Wadeye’s recent past. One member of the Dumoo immediate family, Lenny, 35, is in prison in Darwin for killing a member of a rival family, the Jongmins, last year. His lawyer pleaded self-defence but he was convicted. After the incident he fled to Perrederr as if it could be some kind of sanctuary from his wrongdoing. But he was found there, and arrested.

Jules Dumoo’s quest to return his family to Perrederr each dry season – in the monsoonal wet the roads are impassable – is an increasingly common aim all across the Top End. It is six years since the Howard government’s intervention, which was prompted by conditions at Wadeye and also trialled there, and the homeland movement is undergoing a resurgence because traditional spirits and magic and totems do not move, even if humans do. Data shows that while 75 per cent of NT Aborigines know where their homeland is, only 35 per cent live on it.

Country to Aboriginal people is everything. The Australian anthropologist William Stanner worked a lot around Wadeye and Perrederr in the 1950s and ’60s and said the word ”land” was a white construct, yet when we took it from Aboriginal clan groups we took the source of life for the humans and the spirits.

A different tradition, he wrote, leaves us ”tongueless and earless towards this other world of meaning and significance”.

Perrederr has been returned under a Northern Territory indigenous land deal. To Dumoo and his people it is not a sanctuary to evade the law or somewhere to ”get away” – as the Western sensibility would dictate – but a place to try to get inside, where the Dreaming is nearer and where old lore is closer.

But it is hard for the Dumoos, as it can be for so many like them. The bulk of the land at Perrederr is harsh. The outstation buildings – from the 1980s, a small clutch of about a dozen – are derelict. There is no power and limited water and the roads are rugged. They have had no indication it will ever be fixed up by government or government agencies.

The closest town with any infrastructure or services is Peppimenarti, population 185, an hour or two away, sung into folklore by Slim Dusty in his Plains of Peppimenarti: ”The kangaroo still bounds on that rough and rugged ground, the ant hills and the old pandanas grow …”

The coastal mangroves are about the same distance in the other direction. With factors such as worn-out vehicles, family business, money, food and the wavering will of the young men around Dumoo playing into the equation, it can be hard and sometimes impossible to get to Perrederr at all. Abandoned cars line the way in.

In East Arnhem Land, 1000 kilometres away, the homeland movement is a more established phenomenon. Near Darwin, though, it is more elusive, as elusive as the spirits and the deities and the spooked magic the Dumoo men tell us about while we are guests, sleeping rough on their country at Perrederr.

We have fires burning, one tent, swags, blankets, canned food and damper and rice. Tomorrow someone will kill a wallaby to eat, we will find bushes bearing the red lily, a strawberry-like edible flower.

”The small men live up there,” says Willy Dumoo, Jules’ brother. Willy is 20, his language name is Dirrinin and unlike some of his peers and family he is very engaged with his culture.

”Up the hill, the small men,” he continues. ”They can drag you away. The black bushmen, you can’t see them but they can see you and they sing you and after you gone to bed, you gone. Kidney Fat Man cut you open but don’t talk about it, don’t think about it or he touch your shoulder.”

The Dreaming here is the red kangaroo, the cheeky yam (a pumpkin-sized vegetable that grows underground) and the headache-Dreaming ritual, or pumut, in which one male’s sweat is used on another to ward off illness or vulnerability.

The pumut place, says Willy that night, the Dreaming, is right over there. He points through the woodsmoke. ”Look. Beside the water tank. Near that tree there. See?”

Wadeye can get pretty wild. Ion Idriess, the author of a 1941 geographic study, called it the ”Wild Lands”; by 1963, another surveyor, Sidney Downer, settled on ”The Badlands”.

It was first mapped by white explorers in 1819 and evidence of Aboriginal life goes back at least 6000 years. Now it is the largest indigenous community in the Northern Territory and will be the fourth largest town in the territory within a decade.

The gang culture is dormant for now but is still plainly visible, with graffiti about the two warring gangs – Judas Priest and Evil Warriors – adorning many walls and fences.

At night, heavy metal or pounding techno blares from houses that all have stoves no one uses: food is cooked on fires outside. Feral dogs roam around, increasing in aggression as the hour gets later. Nothing much happens before 10am.

There’s a supermarket, a bank, a police station, a school, a busy Catholic Church and convent, Centrelink, a health centre, two football ovals, a butcher and a takeaway. Many refer to their town as ”Big W” because it has everything they perceive they need. Recently there was a festival in Wadeye promoting kidney health and trying to get parents to give their kids water rather than soft drinks.

The problems are as they always have been here – the primary problem is conflict between clan, language and family groups forced to live together. There are an estimated 22 different clan groups at Wadeye, which leads to deep-seated disagreements over culture, territory, relationships and ceremonies. The average number of people living in each house is 17. Almost half the population is under 15. Government and territory spending is low, unemployment is almost total, health is poor, death rates are high.

The school is poorly attended (only about a third of the children go; the high school finished with only two last year). The supermarket is limited and expensive. Centrelink distributes welfare and land rights royalty money but most Aboriginal residents (about 95 per cent of the population) live a listless existence reliant on handouts – ”learned helplessness”, as one of the school teachers describes it to me.

All is not lost, far from it. Ten years ago local Aboriginal people decided to resurrect the term ”Thamarrurr” to describe indigenous governance; today that name is also used for the region and the region’s council. Gas has been discovered offshore; mineral exploration leases allow mining companies to look for base metals and also diamonds.

Aboriginal leaders are at least ”apparent and operational”, says local consultant and academic Bill Ivory. But it is a deeply troubled place.

Jules Dumoo was born in Darwin but raised in Wadeye. The situation with his jailed relative Lenny Dumoo and the family his mob are warring with makes a difficult situation significantly worse.

”We are guests,” he says. ”It is not our place. Family groups here from outside, we are outsiders, doing work, doing this and that, supporting my family. In Port Keats there is trouble and the boys and the young women end up making trouble. There is pressure with the gangs. So much pressure. That’s how the problems start.”

When you boil it down, Jules has a dream, and that is to escape to Perrederr to insulate his family from Wadeye and all it brings. In Wadeye itself, many families settle for what they have been given. They like the shop and the amenities, however basic. ”These fellas are conditioned by now to be incapable,” says one of the town’s long-time white workers. ”This dream of going back to the bush is just that – a dream.”

Yet it is possible. Closer to Wadeye than Perrederr and in much more forgiving country is the beachside homeland of Kuy, traditional country for about five families from the same clan. The man who runs things is another Jules. His surname in the Western sense is Nadjulu and he is married with kids. He was raised here with his grandmother, Mona, and his late grandfather. His own parents prefer Wadeye, evidence of how perceptions of traditional ownership can shift quickly between generations. Jules Nadjulu is 21.

”When I was a little boy my grandfather and grandmother were showing me where all the totem are, the country, the crab, that’s my totem. We have goose, butterfly, goose egg and dingo. I learnt the stories from my grandpa, he showed me the story, I show my son. My children. Living in this homeland, I can show my kids the totems and where the totems stay.”

Kuy has a school. Jules’ wife is the teacher. ”They learning their language and your language,” he says, ”two languages. If you go to Kuy school and look all them books it is our language. School is also fishing and crabbing and weaving. Then they go back to school and write that story in English and their language.”

It is his grandfather’s country, and so it is now his because he has consciously chosen it to be his. The system is patrilineal. His grandmother, Mona, her country is at Wadeye but after she met her late husband they came to live under the tamarind trees at Kuy. Now it is a model village, a paradise, almost – six or so houses, peach-mango trees, a verdant coastline – for those who can access it and also have the will to access it.

Perrederr, for the Dumoos, is different. Their will can falter, their vehicles can stop running. In many ways, they have more troubles and less ability to escape them.

Jules Dumoo’s father, Johnny, and his uncles were the ones who initially got this land unofficially back for the family after it had fallen into the hands of an outstation caretaker. Now it’s about trying to get there, trying to get the right people there, trying to survive once there, then trying to get back again another time to continue the learning.

On our visit, as soon as we arrive, the young men run into the grasslands and start burning it up, reading the wind and the land. Burning tells the ancestors and the neighbours they are there. Burning cleans the ground so more may grow and hunting and bush tucker collection is easier. Whistling kites swoop on the fires, picking up burning sticks to carry ahead and make new fire fronts to smoke out bugs. The fires burn for days.

”We still fighting for housing and roads and that is still the same,” says Dumoo, ”but it’s good country for us and people from outside can talk about this country, but when you come you see we are struggling. This place doesn’t look really comfortable, it could be more better, we are struggling. This is how we live and how we struggle. We are still here fighting.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

Scorn from lawyers on reforms to planning

New planning laws that would limit community rights to fight unwanted development in the the courts could spark a constitutional challenge, the Law Society of NSW says.
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The representative body for the state’s solicitors also warns the government’s overhaul of the 30-year-old planning system could remove major ministerial decisions from legal scrutiny and is destined for failure if it disempowers the community.

The proposed changes to ”decision review rights” is one of several issues the society has raised in its formal response to the draft laws, which closed to submissions last month.

The society told the government it has ”serious concerns” about a provision in the draft legislation, which it said ”significantly restricts the ability of the community to challenge plans and some decisions even in the case of legal error”.

It said this goes against the stated intention of the accompanying white paper, as one of several points of ”disconnect” between the two documents.

Pauline Wright, chairman of the society’s environmental planning and development committee, said that under this provision in the draft bill, a major infrastructure declaration by the minister could not be contested in the courts.

”If a minister were to make a decision that allowed a friend or associate extensive rights to develop land in the Hunter Valley … and declared it to be a public priority infrastructure project, then that wouldn’t be subject to appeal,” she said. ”I would have thought that’s the very sort of thing we wanted to be the subject of public scrutiny, including scrutiny by the courts.” Former mining minister Ian Macdonald was investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption this year for granting mining rights to associates.

Ms Wright said the provision would be open to a constitutional challenge because it was a ”fundamental right” in a democracy that an executive decision should be open to challenge.

”At least on the basis that it was not a reasonable decision to have been made on the basis of all the information available to the decision maker,” she said.

The draft legislation, unveiled by Premier Barry O’Farrell and Planning Minister Brad Hazzard in April, seeks to replace the community’s right to object to individual development applications with greater input into strategic planning. But the society said the value of the ”centrepiece” of the new reforms – the community participation charter that enshrines the public’s role in the legislation – ”is greatly diminished by lack of detail on implementation and enforceability”.

”When you have laws that make communities feel disempowered and disenfranchised, that’s going to fail in the long term,” Ms Wright said.

Marcus Ray, general counsel and executive director for the Department of Planning and Infrastructure, said it would be looking at the society’s submission ”very, very closely”.

‘From time to time there are laws out there that spark constitutional challenges, and that’s often after the fact,” he said.

”This is the whole point of putting 200 pages of legislation out there.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Hazzard said the government was ”taking on board” all submissions. She said that the government ”has kept its commitment to hand back planning powers to councils and communities, starting with the scrapping of the Part 3A laws favoured by the previous Labor government”.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

The race to drive cholesterol to new lows

Lifeline: The race is on to produce a drug that prevents heart attacks. Photo: Michel OSullivanShe was a 32-year-old aerobics instructor from Dallas – healthy, college educated, with two young children. Nothing out of the ordinary, except one thing.
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Her cholesterol was astoundingly low. Her low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the form that promotes heart disease, was 0.36, a level unheard of in healthy adults, whose usual LDL level is more than 2.9.

The reason was a rare gene mutation she had inherited from both her parents. Only one other person, a young, healthy Zimbabwean woman whose LDL cholesterol was 0.39, has ever been found with the same double dose of the mutation.

The discovery of the mutation and of the two women has set off one of the greatest medical chases ever. It is a race between three pharmaceutical companies, Amgen, Pfizer and Sanofi, to test and win approval for a drug that mimics the effects of the mutation, drives LDL levels to new lows and prevents heart attacks. All three companies have drugs in clinical trials and report that their results, so far, are exciting.

“This is our top priority,” said Dr Andrew Plump, the head of translational medicine at Sanofi. “Nothing else we are doing has the same public health impact.”

Dr Gary Gibbons, the director of the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, estimates that even if the drugs were expensive and could only be injected as many as 2 million Americans might be candidates.

But if they could eventually be made affordable and in the form of a pill – two very big ifs – they might be used by one in four adults, he said.

Despite major gains over the past half-century, heart disease remains a major killer. Statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs that went on the market in 1987, were a huge breakthrough, but far from a panacea.

The companies and many heart researchers hope they are closing in on a blockbuster, buoyed by success with preliminary studies. But Gibbons cautioned that critical large-scale studies that would tell whether the drugs actually prevent heart attacks and deaths are only starting.

“That will show if they are a game-changer,” he said.

So far, people with stubbornly high cholesterol levels who are taking the drugs in preliminary studies have seen their LDL levels plunging from levels well over 2.9 to 1.3, or even lower. Like insulin for diabetes, the drugs are injected, but they are taken once or twice a month.

Dr Barry Gumbiner, who is directing Pfizer’s studies, said the company had to decide whether to set a floor for patients’ LDL levels. Pfizer is interrupting treatment when levels reach 0.65 or lower. The people seemed fine, but the company got nervous.

“There is not a lot of experience treating people to LDL levels this low,” Gumbiner said.

Cost is another concern. Each company’s drug is a biologic, a so-called monoclonal antibody made in living cells at an enormous expense, like some new cancer drugs that are already straining the medical system. Amgen plans to make tonnes of its drug, much more, the company says, than any other biologic. The number of people who might benefit from these cholesterol drugs dwarfs those helped by the biologic cancer drugs.

If the drugs come into use, researchers are asking, can cholesterol go too low?

The results point to increasing benefits with lower and lower LDL levels, said Dr Daniel Rader, a cholesterol researcher at the University of Pennsylvania and a consultant for Sanofi on its drug. “If I had coronary disease, I would definitely try to drive my LDL to well below 1.30.”

But with LDL levels falling so low in studies, Gibbons said, “We are in uncharted territory.”

The story of how these drugs came about begins a decade ago. French researchers published a short note in the journal Nature Genetics reporting on three generations of a family with astonishingly high LDL levels – up to 12.07 – and a strong history of heart disease. Cholesterol, a yellow waxy substance that accumulates in clogged arteries, had piled up in their bodies. Some had cholesterol-laden nodules in their tendons that looked like bumps under the skin. The result was heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease at an early age.

The cause of the family’s misfortune turned out to be a mutation in a gene called PCSK9, whose function was unknown.

Soon, researchers discovered that the gene slowed the body’s ability to rid itself of LDL. In the family studied by the French researchers, the mutated gene no longer worked and led to soaring cholesterol levels.

That gave Dr Jonathan Cohen and Dr Helen Hobbs of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre in Dallas an idea. If a mutation in PCSK9 leads to high LDL levels, perhaps there were defects that did the opposite – led to low levels of LDL and protected against heart disease.

They found what they were looking for in data from a federal study. About 2.5 per cent of black people – but not whites – in the study had a single mutated PCSK9 gene that no longer functioned. About 3.2 per cent of whites had a less powerful mutation that hampered the gene but did not destroy it.

Since people have two copies of every gene, one inherited from each parent, those with the newly discovered mutations did not have two mutated genes like the aerobics instructor, but instead had one fully functioning PCSK9 gene and one that was disabled. Still, the impact was clear. Blacks ended up with LDL levels that were 28 per cent lower than normal, averaging 2.5 instead of 3.58. Whites with the less powerful mutation had LDL levels that were about 15 per cent lower.

Significantly, people with one copy of a disabled gene had lower than normal LDL levels for their entire lives. That is very different from what happens when people start taking drugs to reduce their LDL levels in middle age, after heart disease has had decades to develop.

Studies of people who start taking cholesterol-lowering drugs in middle age found that for every percentage point drop in LDL, heart disease risk drops by the same percentage point.

What happens to heart disease risk in people with lifelong lower levels of LDL?

Hobbs and Cohen delved into data from a study that followed blacks aged 45 to 64, for 15 years, to see if they developed symptoms of heart disease. Those who had even a single mutated gene seemed almost immune to heart disease, even though many had risk factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking.

Whites who had the less powerful mutation had a 46 per cent reduction in heart disease.

This led scientists to search for people who had a mutated gene from both parents. Cohen and Hobbs searched their data for a mother and father who both carried a mutation. They found one such couple and tested their daughter in 2006. She was the aerobics instructor with the rare double inheritance. The investigators say she remains healthy, but she declined to be interviewed.

Around the same time, South African researchers began their own search for those who have two copies of the gene and found a healthy young woman at a maternity clinic in Zimbabwe. The investigators no longer know her whereabouts.

But those two young women showed that people could be healthy and thrive with very low LDL cholesterol levels.

Then came the hard part: making a drug to mimic the effects of the mutations. The drug companies were transfixed by the idea, and each wanted to be the first to market it.

The prospect “was so hot it sizzled,” said Dr Steven Nissen, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, and leader of an Amgen trial.

Amgen has readied three factories, in Colorado, Puerto Rico and Rhode Island, to make its drug. It is anticipating production on a scale never attempted before with a monoclonal antibody, a costly wager for a drug still being tested and probably years from approval.

The $70 million, four-storey factory in Rhode Island, is like something out of Brobdingnag in Gulliver’s Travels, a land populated by giants. At every stage of production, familiar science equipment has been blown up to a huge scale. Antibody-producing cells that would be housed in a flask in a research laboratory are grown in a stainless steel tank nearly the size of a fuel tank on a semi truck.

The companies want to be ready with large quantities of their versions of the drug if they are approved.

“The race is on to see who can do it,” said Dr Joseph Miletich, the head of research and development of translational sciences at Amgen.

As their factories were starting to produce the drugs, the companies began recruiting patients who were worried enough about their LDL levels to inject themselves with an experimental substance.

David Mayse, 60, from Ohio, was 49 when he had his first heart attack while at work. His doctor plied him with four different drugs to lower his cholesterol, to little avail. Then Mayse had another heart attack and bypass surgery. His doctor sent him to a cardiologist who called his cholesterol levels “outrageous” and asked him if he would enter a clinical trial.

“I was willing to try anything at that point,” Mayse said.

In February last year, he saw Evan Stein, who heads the Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Centre in Cincinnati. Mayse’s LDL was 4.15 even though he was taking Vytorin, a combination of a statin and another drug to lower LDL levels.

Mayse enrolled in a study for Amgen’s experimental drug. His LDL fell to 1.09.

Ryan Schmidt, a patient of Rader’s, knew since childhood that he had a problem with cholesterol. So did his father, who had his first heart attack at the age of 37 and died of a second at the age of 59.

Schmidt, a brother and two sisters all inherited a genetic condition that caused extremely high cholesterol levels and a high risk of early death from heart disease. So Schmidt, 35, began taking a cholesterol-lowering medication at the age of eight. Even after statins came on the market, they did not reduce his LDL enough.

His cardiologist referred him to Rader, who specialises in difficult cases. After failing to significantly reduce Schmidt’s LDL levels with three drugs taken simultaneously, Rader suggested the Sanofi trial.

Schmidt and his wife hesitated for months.

“It’s not an FDA-approved drug,” he said. “What if something happened to me?”

He was 17 when his father died and he had to abandon his dream of joining the military and go to work as a carpenter and cabinetmaker to help support his mother.

His father’s death “floats in my head”, Schmidt said. “I could just have a heart attack at any time.”

In March, he joined the study. He does not know if he is getting the drug or a placebo. But once his part in the trial ends, he will be able to take the drug, if he wants it, until the US Food and Drug Administration decides whether to approve it.

In the meantime, his genetic inheritance continues to shape his life. He and his wife would like to have children, but they plan to take in foster children or to adopt.

“I just don’t want to pass on that bad gene,” Schmidt said.

New York Times

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

Changes put glaucoma patients at risk: AMA

People with common eye diseases risk ”devastating consequences” if doctors lose control of treatment and diagnosis, the Australian Medical Association says.
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A decision by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency could allow optometrists – health practitioners who have minimal therapeutic training – to independently diagnose and treat glaucoma without consulting a specialist doctor.

The regulator is facing a backlash over criticism that changes to legislation could allow health professionals, including chiropractors, psychologists and pharmacists, to expand their scope of practice without medical supervision. ”We’ve got psychologists wanting to write prescriptions for antidepressants and pharmacists who want to prescribe,” said AMA president Steve Hambleton.

Last week the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists launched legal action against the regulator amid claims the decision to allow optometrists to manage glaucoma without medical supervision would put patients at risk.

”The legislation enables constituent boards to increase their scope of practice. We are the first group within medicine to feel the effects,” said Brad Horsburgh, a former president of the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists.

Glaucoma, a blinding disease that affects more than 300,000 Australians, is treated by ophthalmologists who spend up to 12 years studying to be specialists. The disease occurs when pressure inside the eye is elevated, causing damage to the optic nerve.

”Glaucoma can be notoriously difficult to diagnose and can be confused with brain tumours and neurological diseases,” said Dr Horsburgh. ”It’s a major public health issue. It enables patients to be diagnosed without oversight of medical specialists.”

The agency refused to comment as the issue is coming before the courts.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

Suffer still the little children

For many, the detail is just too awful to read.
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The torture that Tanilla Opal Warrick-Deaves was forced to endure before she died at the age of two is horrifying.

After years in opposition talking up the need for more transparency, Pru Goward was left grappling to explain lingering failures in the child protection system that she now oversees.

Two years into power, the O’Farrell government’s honeymoon has come to a shattering end when it comes to dealing with the interminable policy nightmare of preventable child deaths, including those that happened under Labor’s watch.

Goward has faced questions about whether the budget bottom line has left her department short of case workers it needs.

Tanilla weighed 14 kilograms when she died in 2007. She lived with her mother Donna Deaves and her mother’s boyfriend of about two months.

According to an agreed statement of facts, the boyfriend has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had been trying to toilet train Tanilla for four weeks before she died.

As punishment for wetting her pants, she was allegedly given a cold shower and dangled upside down by one leg, naked, wet and shivering, over the toilet bowl. On another occasion, she was forced to stay up all evening and to watch the toilet.

As punishment for dropping a heavy toolbox on her tiny hand, which swelled to the size of a man’s, the two-year-old, who had bowed legs, was allegedly made to run laps of the lounge room until she was crying and collapsed to the floor from exhaustion.

After her head was allegedly bashed against the shower screen, she eventually became drowsy, lingered unconscious and was left unattended for two days in a pram as her breathing slowly faded and finally stopped.

While Tanilla’s mother has accepted some responsibility for her child’s death, having pleaded guilty to manslaughter, her relatives are also asking why the Department of Community Services did not act on 33 reports they say they made about Tanilla’s welfare.

But child welfare experts are also asking whether a single agency can prevent a problem that was generations in the making.

Tanilla’s case, which follows that of six-year-old Kiesha Weippart, who was murdered by her mother, provides a confronting example of the complex, but not uncommon, mix of massive social, economic and mental health problems involved in child abuse.

Two high-profile cases – those of the girl known as Ebony, who died of starvation, and Dean Shillingsworth, who was thrown into a pond stuffed inside a suitcase, helped trigger the Wood special commission of inquiry into child protection services in 2009.

Wood found many of the families in contact with the Department of Community Services were on low incomes, unemployed, drug and alcohol abusers, suffering mental health problems, with limited social and housing supports. Often they had been to prison and had themselves been victims of abuse.

Louise Voigt, the chief executive officer and welfare director at Barnardos, says it is a ”a bit of a cop-out for everybody to see child welfare as failing” and to blame government caseworkers for the consequences of disadvantage left unattended by the rest of society.

”It isn’t the business of child welfare to stop alcoholism years before. It’s too facile to say the child welfare department has failed,” she said.

The Wood inquiry found the Department of Community Services was drowning under the weight of too many less serious complaints not requiring its statutory powers, and which were taking its attention and limited resources away from the children at most serious risk of harm. Most of the serious cases were not even seen for an assessment and safety check before they were closed.

The Wood inquiry found 19 per cent of reports of children at risk of harm – the highest proportion in the state – were from the Hunter and central coast, where Tanilla died.

Latest available figures show the region still has the highest proportion shared with Northern NSW, but now at 16.3 per cent. The metropolitan west and far west of the state closely follow at 15.4 and 15.2 per cent.

In response to the findings, the former Labor government introduced the Keep Them Safe initiative which aimed to share responsibility for child protection with the non-government sector and other agencies including the police and the departments of health, education and housing.

”There are some signs that there is more collaboration between government departments, but frankly this isn’t just a state responsibility,” Voigt says. ”There is a group of people who are totally left behind in our society and those are the people where child abuse is occurring.”

While the transfer of less serious cases and out-of-home care to non-government agencies was designed to free up the Department of Community Services caseworkers to see the most serious cases, four years on as many as three out of four children at risk of significant harm are still unlikely to ever see a community services caseworker and undergo a safety check.

Government figures obtained by Fairfax Media under freedom of information laws show 61,308 children and young people were reported as being at risk of significant harm in 2011-12. But only 16,409 were interviewed by a caseworker and given a safety check. The department says this is an 11.8 per cent improvement on 2009-10 in the number of children seen by caseworkers.

In his review of the Keep Them Safe initiative released in August 2011, the NSW Ombudsman said there had been a 33 per cent drop in the number of child protection reports to the Helpline and in the number of child protection reports referred for further investigation. Yet, ”on any measure, it is unacceptable that 25 per cent of all reports assessed by community services as indicating risk of significant harm received no response in the first 12 months of Keep Them Safe. All of these reports were closed on the basis of competing priorities.”

Goward, the Family and Community Services Minister, says reform takes time and the government is on its way to remedying inefficient work practices, reducing red tape and correcting an unwieldy computer program which has been slowing down the reporting of cases and preventing workers from spending enough time with the children who need them.

Despite repeated requests for the number of caseworkers, the government will only say it is “around 2000”. Fairfax Media obtained figures showing the number fell from 2097 in 2011 to 1987 in 2012.

The department abolished 117 full-time caseworker positions when it transferred an early intervention program known as Brighter Futures to the non-government sector.

A community services manager who did not want their name published said the loss of 117 caseworkers has been a ”catastrophe” because the government sector needed them and the non-government sector did not have the resources to cope with the extra workload.

”All of those caseworkers who are no longer with us represented a caseload of 10 to 16 families,” the manager said.

”We are still operating under a staffing freeze. There has been a deliberate decision not to replace staff as they leave. The positions being filled are temporary.”

In recent months, Goward has denied there has ”ever” been a freeze on hiring caseworkers and says vacancies are being filled. She insists there have been no reduction in frontline services, despite having to cut $412 million from her budget over the next four years, including $110 million this financial year.

However, after Fairfax Media published an internal memo showing that there had been a moratorium on hiring new caseworkers last year, Goward admitted there had been a ”temporary stall” when the Brighter Futures program was transferred to the non-government sector. This was to ensure the 299 caseworkers who had worked for the Brighter Futures early intervention program “got first bite at the remaining jobs in the department that were free”.

Voigt says it is still too early to judge the success of the Keep Them Safe reforms, but she believes the transfer of responsibilities for out of home care to the non-government sector is working.

”An inquiry like Wood, the response at the state level will take time to develop. Some parts of it are doing well and some parts aren’t,” she says.

”We are talking about people in gross poverty and housing is getting worse. We are finding families living in cars.

”No wonder they explode into violence.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

First, the bad news

“The health system has no real empathy for anyone” … Kellee Slater. Photo: Naz MullaAlmost every day, I see people on the worst day of their lives. It is my job to tell them how their life will end. People feel utterly helpless and vulnerable at that moment. It is my job to take everything in hand and navigate them through the confusing maze of medical procedures in a difficult health system that has no real empathy for anyone.
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I have seen surgeons take phone calls part way through the death talk and I’ve heard them tell people that they have years to live when they simply do not. But nothing I have seen compares to the night we had worked on a young car accident victim in the operating theatre for an hour or so. His injuries were so bad that we were losing the battle for his life and we reluctantly stopped our attempts to revive him. I followed my boss toward the visitor room, where there were 20 or so family members anxiously waiting.

The surgeon began to tell them about how their boy was terribly injured and that we had attempted multiple procedures and manoeuvres to stabilise him. He went on in an emotionless monotone for about five minutes, regaling them with technical medical jargon: “We packed his liver, resected his spleen, evoked the massive transfusion protocol,” the family leaned closer and closer in hopeful anticipation, obviously concluding from this long dissertation that there was a reasonable chance that everything was all right. Then, out of nowhere, the surgeon ended with “and then he died.”

A look of astonishment crossed the face of everyone. There was exactly five seconds of stunned silence before pandemonium erupted. “We did everything we could,” he said to no one in particular as they huddled together on the floor, rocking and moaning.

I touched him on the arm and said, “I don’t think they are listening to you any more.” We quietly retreated from the room.

The most heart-wrenching patients, of course, are the ones I have previously operated on, intending to cure them. I am happy to see them each visit because it means they are still alive. With each clear scan, they are closer to a cure. Then one time, months and even years later, just when I dare to think they may be in the clear, a scan will reveal that their cancer is back. They feel no pain and are not unwell. The only sign of its existence is a mark on an X-ray. It is just sitting there, silently killing them.

Suddenly, the happy consultation must turn serious as I say, “Your cancer is back and this time I can’t remove it.” I feel like I have failed and it is deeply personal to me because I have got to know the patient so well.

It is so important not to beat around the bush and to say the words as plainly as possible. The word “cancer” has to be used in the first sentence and I am careful to pause to let it all soak in. That person won’t hear another thing I say for a little while. The utter disbelief and distress make it impossible for people to make rational decisions. I send them away for a while so they can come back and we can talk after it has all sunk in a little.

For a few unfortunate souls, their time left on earth can be measured in days or even hours. This is the case for those with hepatocellular cancer, a hideous tumour that grows in the liver.

I told one patient I saw with this tumour that not only did he have this terminal cancer, but the tumour was so advanced that he could die at any moment. All he thought he had was a bad case of indigestion. Go home and wait. What could I possibly say to make him feel better? About an hour after the patient left my office, I got a call from an ambulance officer to say they had him in their van. His heart had stopped.

The most traumatic experience I have ever had when delivering bad news occurred when I was a surgical registrar. I admitted a 19-year-old who was a mother of a small child. She had terrible pain in her stomach. I opened her belly and found hundreds of blobs of fleshy black melanoma studded along her bowel. As I closed her up, I did it slowly, knowing that I would have to walk out soon and tell her father that his daughter would be dead within days. A few hours before this, I had seen a girl of a similar age, also with belly pain. I hadn’t yet worked out what was wrong with her, but it certainly wasn’t cancer.

I walked out to the waiting room to find the father of the girl with the melanoma. I had not met him before his daughter’s operation and I was feeling more than a little emotional. A nurse was waiting there with a man who she pushed forward, telling me that this was the father of “the young girl”. I began to tell him the terrible news and an unusual look came over his face. He was stunned and couldn’t speak. He let me go on for about five minutes, looking weird, but seemed to be accepting what I was saying. I gave him a hug and turned to leave. When I reached the door, something made me turn around and go back.

“You are the dad of Miss X with the melanoma, aren’t you?” I asked him.

“What?” he said. “No, my daughter is Miss Y with the tummy pain.”

I had just told the wrong person that their daughter was dying. I started blubbing and threw myself into the arms of this poor man and this time, I couldn’t let go. I sobbed that his daughter was fine and apologised that I’d made a horrible mistake. The dad of Miss Y was so relieved that his daughter would be okay that he went and bought me a cup of coffee and a lottery ticket. He tried to calm me down. I couldn’t believe he was so understanding. Of course, I then had to face telling the actual father the news all over again.

I am always looking for the silver lining. It gets me through the awful parts of my job. Giving people such terrible news has taught me never to take anything for granted. Life goes by in the blink of an eye, so I try to pack as much into every day as possible. There is joy to find in any situation.

This is an edited extract from How to do a Liver Transplant by Kellee Slater, which is published by NewSouth later this month.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

杭州龙凤 04/12/2018

Naden ‘just a psychopath that got lucky’

The myth that Malcolm Naden is a master bushman, a legendary figure befitting a folk hero, really irks police.
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The reality, according to homicide squad boss Michael Willing, is far less impressive.

”He’s a psychopath,” Detective Superintendent Willing said. ”And he was lucky. He was no master bushman.”

Police have revealed for the first time just how much Naden has talked to them about the seven years he spent on the run after murdering two women in Dubbo in 2005.

Naden’s life sentence last month for the murders of Kristy Scholes and Lateesha Nolan in his home town of Dubbo ended an extraordinary chapter in Australian criminal history.

He was arrested in dense bushland near Nowendoc on March 22 last year, having spent 2466 nights in the wilderness to evade police. As soon as he was arrested, Superintendent Willing ordered no one go near him except two lead homicide detectives, Ricky Hennessy and Paul Mangan. He knew they had to build a rapport; they needed him to confess.

Initially, Superintendent Willing explained, Naden had to get used to using his own voice, having not spoken to anyone for such a long time. But he quickly became open and lucid.

He explained how he ”just thought day-to-day, about surviving”. And he was meticulous about his hygiene. ”He actually brushed his teeth … he knew that a minor ailment could be the end of him,” Superintendent Willing said.

Naden also put to rest a long-held police fear that he was getting help from a community keen to create a myth and outsmart the brass. ”He told us, ‘I couldn’t trust anyone.”’

He said that after the failed heavily-armed police raid on Dubbo’s Western Plains Zoo in 2005, he headed east, traversing almost 350 kilometres of bushland.

”He said he basically walked from Dubbo across to Barrington Tops. He doesn’t know [how long it took], he said he just focused on a landmark and kept walking.”

Naden would not discuss the murders initially, but admitted shooting one of the officers who had found his campsite in December 2011. ”He was really reaching back into his psyche to talk about this stuff,” Superintendent Willing said.

Less than three weeks after his arrest, Naden handed detectives two handwritten pages confessing to his crimes.

In another 25-page explanatory confession, he details his offences in horrific detail. ”The handwriting is very neat, and in it he talks about both murders and he goes into length, three pages, describing what it was like to strangle Lateesha,” Superintendent Willing said. ”Clearly he’s fantasising it as he writes it.”

He even quoted Shakespeare, as well as the famous line from Unforgiven: ”It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man”.

But it is the glorification of a man who devastated a Dubbo family that still jars with Superintendent Willing.

”The whole Ned Kelly, master-bushman thing started from the night we found Kristy’s body, because he had books on that sort of stuff there … I remember he had Sun Su’s The Art of War laying there next to her body.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.