Occident Prone

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Posts Tagged ‘McGinty’

Pork barrelling on press freedom

Posted by occidentprone on July 7, 2008

What’s the best way to kick off an election campaign? Sweeten up the journalists covering it. 

The government of Alan Carpenter, former reporter and telly host, is raising the promise of shield laws for the media if the government is re-elected, says The Australian.

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance claims to have a commitment from state Attorney-General Jim McGinty that laws to protect ethical journalists will be introduced in the first term of parliament if Labor is returned at the next election.

MEAA state secretary Michael Sinclair-Jones said protection for journalists and their sources was paramount.

“This is something that has to be addressed immediately,” he said. “It’s something totally unacceptable that journalists should be hauled off to secret inquiries and threatened with three years’ jail and $60,000 fines for doing their job properly.”

In Western Australia, journalists and others can be compelled by the Corruption and Crime Commission to attend secret hearings.

They are forbidden from telling anyone, including their employer or families, and face three years’ jail and a $60,000 fine if they do so.

The CCC also has the power to force a journalist to reveal their sources or face contempt charges.

Mr Sinclair-Jones said the push for the shield laws was because of the CCC’s activities. “It’s absolutely unprecedented,” he said.

Early yesterday, Mr McGinty said he supported the shield laws but would not be drawn on a timeline.

Note the key word “ethical” as in “laws to protect ethical journalists”. Who is judge and jury on this ethical business? The government? The CCC?

And why should press freedom be an election campaign issue instead of a basic rights issue in a modern western democracy? Like sports stadium funding and tax promises?

Posted in Media, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Oh super, a super hospital

Posted by occidentprone on July 5, 2008

The state government is about to announce its plans for Perth hospitals. PerthNow reports that Health Minister Jim McGinty is about to dish the details. (If an election campaign were a race, that would be the “On your marks …”)

Princess Margaret and King Edward Memorial hospitals will be bulldozed and new facilities built alongside Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, creating a “super hospital” in Nedlands.

But construction of the new children’s hospital won’t start until about 2013, and will take three years to build. 

Completing the Labor Government’s hospital plans — which are in addition to the construction of the Fiona Stanley Hospital in Murdoch — will be a new women’s hospital. 

This will follow the development of the children’s hospital. 

The article doesn’t say when King Eddies and PMH will be demolished. And this isn’t all new news. It’s just being reheated for the one-runner election race (to mix metaphors).

PerthNow says the new super hospital will have room for more than 1150 beds. Whoopdy-do – according to the Sunday Times graphic (not posted on the PerthNow website) SCGH, King Eddies and PMH have 1130 beds between them now. And no one is saying we are oversupplied with beds so what will the situation be in 2016 when the project is finished? Especially considering we are getting 950 coming to WA a week. Talk about on the ball.

The most modern major tertiary hospital infrustructure is Royal Perth Hospital’s north block – which is about to be decommissioned as a tertiary hospital and RPH will be moved to Murdoch but the Health Department’s website says the Fiona Stanley hospital is still in the planning stage. Not a sod turned.

The super hospital is super news for Charlies staff who can’t get parking at the SCGH/QEII behemoth now. And it’s a super laugh for Nedlands residents who don’t want the super building or the masses it attracts milling among their greenery.

At the last election Labor fed off community concern and made health a priority but since then they seemed to have limped from disaster to disaster. The F-word – Fong – sums it up. The highest paid public servant in the country eventually left the job after being tainted by brushes with Brian Burke and what had he done? What has the government done for health? Emergency doctors are back on the job after a strike was averted and McGinty’s stoush with the flying doctors was a serious miscalculation.

So if Carpenter wants to make health a touchstone for this election, then super duper. Let’s have it all out.

Posted in Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »