Monthly Archives: May 2019

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Unapologetic Trump digs in on immigration

President Donald Trump says the US will not become a ‘migrant camp’ as he defends his policy.US President Donald Trump has defended his administration’s border-protection policies in the face of rising national outrage over the forced separation of migrant children from their parents.

Calling for tough action against illegal immigration, Trump declared the US “will not be a migrant camp” on his watch.

Images of children held in fenced cages fuelled a growing chorus of condemnation from both political parties, four former first ladies and national evangelical leaders.

The children are being held separately from parents who are being prosecuted under the administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy for illegal border crossings.

Trump on Monday falsely blamed Democrats – the minority party in Washington – for obstructing legislation to fix the situation. In fact, it was Trump’s administration that broke with longstanding practice of processing migrant families in civil, rather than criminal, proceedings that allow families to be held together.

“I say it’s very strongly the Democrats’ fault,” Trump said Monday as his administration rejected criticism that the policy has resulted in inhuman and immoral conditions.

Nearly 2000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May after Attorney-General Jeff Sessions announced the new “zero-tolerance” policy that refers all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution.

Prior procedure had limited prosecution for many family entrants, in part because regulations prohibit detaining children with their parents since the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.

The policy change was meant to deter unlawful crossings – and Sessions issued a warning last month to those entering the US illegally that their children “inevitably for a period of time might be in different conditions.”

Audio of sobbing children calling out for their parents dominated the discussion Monday. “Papa! Papa!” one child is heard weeping in an audio file that was first reported by the nonprofit ProPublica and later provided to The Associated Press.

Administration officials said they do not like the family separations either – calling it the result of legal loopholes – but insist migrants who arrive illegally simply won’t be released or loosely kept track of.

“The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility,” Trump declared. “Not on my watch.”

But the White House signalled it would oppose any narrow fix aimed solely at addressing the plight of children separated from their parents under the immigration crackdown. Press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump’s priorities, like funding a border wall and tightening immigration laws, must also be fulfilled as part of any legislation.

“We want to fix the whole thing,” she said. “We don’t want to tinker with just part of it.”

The administration is hoping to force Democrats to vote for the bills or bear some of the political cost in November’s midterm elections.

Trump’s commitment to the current policy showed no sign of faltering as voices of outrage and condemnation grew louder and more diverse.

Australian Associated Press

Thousands honour Eurydice Dixon in vigils across the country

Emotions ran high during a candle-lit march honouring Eurydice Dixon and other victims of violence as hundreds of Ballarat residents took part in one of 20 vigils held simultaneously across the country. Photo: Mark SmithThey came in their thousands to honour 22-year-old Eurydice Dixon, who is alleged to have been murdered.

For Sarah Robinson, 21, the murder of Eurydice Dixon in Carlton’s Princes Park last week hit close to home.

Janet RobinsonBallarat march and vigil to remember Eurydice DixonPost by Ballarat march and vigil to remember Eurydice Dixon.

Bendigo vigil for Eurydice Dixon discusses women’s right to feel safe in public spacesOrganiser of the event in Bendigo, Stacey Dean, said it was important to reclaimthe public space following the alleged rape and murder of 22-year-old Eurydice Dixon in Carlton last week.

“Rosalind Park is a big, beautiful park in the middle of town and a lot of women don’t feel safe walking through here at nightin part because of sexualassaults that have occurred in this park,” she said.

Bendigo’s vigil on Monday night.

Ms Dean said she had never organised a community event like this before.

“Aswomen especially, we have been victims ourselves or know survivors of attacks like what Eurydice went through,” she said.

“The main driver for me was that we need to speak up about itand do things about it to make people aware.

“I thought it might have been me and a few friends. I wasn’t prepared to organise something of this scale but I’m glad people are coming out for it and show their support. It means a lot.”

Read more from Bendigo Bendigo’s vigil on Monday night.

Taking action against violence at Reclaim the Park solidarity vigilSupport, respect and a gentle resistance were felt at the Reclaim the Park solidarity vigil held for Melbourne women Eurydice Dixon following her rape and murder last week.

Alison Butcher organised the event to allow the community to make a stand.

“As a woman, you have a right to walk safely and not worry about, whether you have your car keys in your hand or if you can run in your shoes,” she said.

Read more from Devonport Devonport was one of the many vigils held across Australia to show solidarity against violence to women. Picture: Rebecca Morris

Silent vigil held in Launceston for Eurydice DixonOne week ago thename Eurydice Dixon would not likely have meant much to Tasmanians.

But on Monday night, thousands around the nation came together to celebrate her life after the comedian was killed in inner-city Melbournewhile walking home from a gig last week.

More than 100 people attended a candlelit vigil in Prince’s Square in Launceston. The vigil was organised by three local 18-year-olds and a 25-year-old formerly from Melbourne.

Read more from LauncestonWarrnambool pays tribute to Melbourne comedian Eurydice and Sydney woman Qi YuWarrnambool woman Esmae Gray joined a crowd of more than 50 paying tribute to Eurydice and Qi Yu on Monday night.

The former Melbourne woman wrapped in winter clothing, lita candle and left a hand-written note for herchildhood friend.

Ms Graysaid hearing the news of Ms Dixon’s murder had taken days for her to mentally process and she was horrified it had takenplace in such familiar territory.

“Rydi was my friend’s baby sister and we allwent to the same school,” she said.“I have walked that same park so many times myself.”

The silentvigil held at the city’s Civic Green was one ofdozens held across Australia.

Read more from WarrnamboolEurydice Dixon remembered at Wodonga reclaim the park eventReclaiming public spaces is about breakingthe public and internalised idea that a woman’s behaviour contributes to a murder, rape or assault, one survivor of rape told those gathered at Monday night’sReclaim the Park event in Wodonga.

Hundreds gathered for a candlelit vigil simultaneously held across the state in memory of Eurydice Dixon and in protest of victim-blaming culture.

The Wodonga event. Photo: Mark Jesser

Eurydicewas raped and murdered in Melbourne’s Princes Park on her way home last Monday.

Erin McCallum, 26, said rape and murder can happen at anytime of the day, with the majority of rapes and murders committednot by strangers in the dark, but by someone known.

She hoped people gainedunderstanding about the impact of victim-blaming through her speech.

“It happened to me in the day, in the middle of Wodonga, not at night in a dark creepy alley,” she said.

“Victim-blaming makes you become your own worst enemy, your inner dialogue is saying ‘you could have done this or that’

“But it wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t Eurydice’s fault. No one this hashappened to has it been their fault, we need to hold people accountable for their actions, not blame women.”

Read more from Albury-Wodonga The Wodonga event. Photo: Mark Jesser

Philippines overturns Aust nun expulsion

The Philippines has overturned an order for the deportation of Australian nun Patricia Fox.The Philippines justice department has overturned an order for the deportation of Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox.

Justice Department Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday determined the cancellation of her missionary visa was without legal basis.

Fox, 71, from the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, was arrested on April 16 and detained for 22 hours for purportedly being involved in partisan political protests.

She was subsequently ordered to leave the Philippines by May 25, but Guevarra announced a reprieve on the day of the deadline pending a review of her case.

Her deportation was put on hold until Monday.

Sr Fox had claimed a lack of due process and denied that her involvement in human rights campaigns breached the terms of her missionary visa.

“What the Bureau of Immigration did in this case is beyond what the law provides, that is why it has to be struck down,” Guevarra said.

The Australian nun, who grew up in Melbourne and obtained a law degree at the University of NSW in Sydney, has been a missionary in the Philippines since 1990.

The deportation bid against Sr Fox came amid a wider clampdown on critics of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte.

A spokeswoman for Sr Fox said there was still a case to be pursued against the deportation order even though the revoking of her missionary visa had been cancelled.

“But for now, Sister Fox can stay in the Philippines,” she said.

Sr Fox welcomed Monday’s decision.

“I will continue to fight the deportation case,” she said.

“I want to stay here to work for the poor.”

Australian Associated Press

Newcastle child sexual assault case:’Naming and shaming’ on social media can affect how a matter proceeds in court

THE sexual assault of a child is confronting and sickening to any person who recognises the specialvulnerability of children, and their lack of defences when adults abuse their power.

It is why the Australian public so strongly supported establishment of theRoyal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2012. As a community we said yes to a five-year inquiry that was, at its heart, about the rights of the child to remain innocent,safe,loved and respected.

It is also why there is a lot of emotion about court cases involving the sexual assault of children, particularly now that the royal commission has laid bare the potential lifelong impacts of such crimes.

RELATED: Naming and shaming could complicate a trial and land you in legal trouble

The Australian community was shocked last week at reports an 11-year-old girl was abducted at Adamstown Heights on her way to school and sexually assaulted over a number of hours. The police response was immediate and comprehensive. The community responded well by providing police with a lot of information.

Aman was charged over the weekend and will appear in court on Wednesday.

On social media sites the accusedman has been named, photos of him have been posted, and he’s been declaredguilty by some members of the public. People have made extreme suggestions about what should happen to him.

On social media sites a man has been named, photos of him have been posted, and he’s been declared guilty. People have made extreme suggestions about what should happen to him. Picture: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

In some posts people have acknowledged that identifying the accused man on social media might prejudice thetrial. But they have justified their posts on “naming and shaming” grounds, or as a show of support for the child and her family.

There is no indication any of the comments have been made by people who know the family, or have any direct knowledge of the incident.

In court on Sunday a registrar agreed to a defence lawyer’s request to place a non-publicationorder over the charged man’s identity, based on an argument he could be at risk while in custody.

The prosecution opposed the suppression order but the registrar agreed with the defence.

The problem here is that people on social media who “nameand shame” individuals in these kinds of cases are in breach of the non-publication order and handdefence lawyersarguments on a plate. And in my experience these suppression order requests are becoming more common.

But I also strongly urge people not to take matters into their own hands. “Naming and shaming”, while it might provide some emotional release, really can affect how a matter proceeds in court. It really can prove a problem.

The mob rule approach can also get things terribly wrong. There have been appalling cases where social media posters have named completely innocent people, with tragicresults.

I’m not arguing that the criminal justice system has provided justice to all child sexual abuse victims in the past. The royal commission made clear just how many obstacles there were to overcome. It also provided 85 recommendations for change to address those obstacles, and the states appear to be responding well to those recommendations.

What I am arguing is that the rule of law matters, and the right to a fair trial based on the fundamental principle of a person being presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The abduction of a child is a shocking thing. But it is worth remembering that only a small minority of child sexual assaults involve people not known to the child.

The vast majority involve a parent, relative, family friend, acquaintance or neighbour.

At a media conference last week Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urged Australians to “speak up” if they have suspicions aboutchildren being abused. In that situation we are protecting children. We are being members of the village raising the child.

But the “speaking up” was about alerting authorities like police. It was about being alert to warning signs and not looking the other way. It was not about taking matters into our own hands.

Social media posting might allow people to let off steam, but it is inherently dangerous.

The young girl and her family are entitled to our strong community support,and our restraint, during what is already a very difficult time.

Newcastle Herald

Robin went into Bomaderry aged care for two weeks. She didn’t make it out alive

Arthur Kirby wants to know why his wife’s pneumonia wasn’t detected until the day she died. A day never goes by when Arthur Kirby doesn’t regret the decision to place his wife Robin into respite care at Opal Aged Care in Bomaderry.

He’d cared for his wife of 56 years for the past eight years as Pick’s disease, an aggressive form of dementia, took hold.

In December 2017, she developed a urinary tract infection and Arthur decided a two-week stay at the aged care facility would see her course of antibiotics administered and would give him a break from the exertions of being Robin’s primary carer.

Robin Kirby, photographed in 2008.

She was admitted on December 19. The summary of care from Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital described her as “very comfortable at rest withnormal vital signs. Chest was clear and abdomen soft with some tenderness in the suprapubic region.”

Seven weeks later, on February 5, 2018, Robin was dead, struck down by hypostatic pneumonia, a disease associated with invalid and bedridden patients.

Stunned by her sudden death, and determined to get to the bottom of it, Arthurbegan a lengthy battle with Opal Aged Care to have her care notes released to him.

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The corporation initially told him the notes were its property and would only be released by way of a court subpoena. For weeks, he went from agency to agency, trying to force the hand of Opal.

“All I wanted was truth and justice,” he says, stifling sobs.He is man who was clearly devoted to his wife.

Only after the intercession of the South Coast Register, Opal changed its tune and said its legal counsel had instructed the records should be made available to the executor of Robin’s will. The executor was Arthur.

The unnecessary fight for the records simply lumped one trauma on top of another for the 82-year-old.

“What I went through just to get Robin’s records was horrendous. To be asked for subpoena, I should never have been put through that,” he says.

Those records raise serious questions about the care Robin received when she was in the care of Opal.

On the day of her death, at 7.47am, the doctor’s note says: “RLL chest infection, possiblypneumonia.” There is a prescription for Zinnat and Rulide followed by “D/W [discuss with] spouse re advance directive and decision to transfer to SDMH [Shoalhaven Hospital]for CXR [chest X-ray].”

At 6.33pm, just 11 hours later, another doctor’s note says “End stage hypostatic pneumonia. D/W spouse palliation with Morphine, Midazolam and Buscopan as charted.”

Then, at 9.33pm:“Ceased breathing @ 9pm”. And: “Hypostatic pneumonia 1 week.”

There is no mention of pneumonia anywhere else in Robin’s records.

“In a matter of 13 and a half hours Robin went from possibly having pneumonia to dying from hypostatic pneumonia which she’d had for a week,” Arthur says.

“The first I knew about pneumonia was when I saw it written on her death certificate.

“I want the truth. Why wasn’t Robbie in hospital to save her life? It’s unforgivable.”

The decision to send her to the nursing home will haunt Arthurfor the rest of his days.

“We’d made a pact that as long as I was alive she’d never be put into a nursing home,” he said.

“She was only meant to go in for two weeks but ended up staying for seven.”

Arthur suspects his wife’s decline from December to February was becauseofthe regime of care to which she was subjected.

On the first morning he visited, he was horrified to find his wife confined to a “tub” or “comfort” chair, a device for the immobile.

“It was the start of the nightmare,” he says.

“I made it clear from the start that I didn’t want her in one of those horrible contraptions.

“They never took my concerns into consideration.”

The physiotherapist notefrom December 20 reads: “Robin is to be transferred with full body lifter yellow medium arjo toilet sling to comfort chair, so she can be supervised. May go for short walks with Ax 2 physio staff and pelican belt.”

Arthur cannot understand this assessment. He had managed on his own to ensure Robin was walked daily. The slings and lifters would have terrified his wife, he says.

“I never had the opportunity to tell the physio staff about how best to manage Robbie’s care,” he says.

“They wouldn’t even let me show them how I got her out of bed every day. If they had, she would not have had her stay prolonged.”

Before she was admitted into Opal, Arthur cared for Robin in a two-storey home in Callala Beach.

Every day, he managed to have her walk at least 25 metres before settling her in a lounge chair.

“Pick’s disease is a terrible thing. It takes things away from you, simple things like being able to cough. Robbie had no short term memory, she couldn’t blow her nose –she forgot how to.

“She never lost her ability to read, nor did she lose her ability to understand. She losther ability to talk. Our communication was by eye contact, a look, a smile.

“These people didn’t understand that because I never got the opportunity to tell them.”

Every morning Arthur would manage, with gentle reassurance, to coax Robin up out of bed. He’d clear her upper respiratory system of mucus by gently patting her back and chest. He’d wash and dress her unassisted.

He says he knew better than anyone the best way to care for his wife but insists no one at the nursing home would listen.

“They used the tub chair simply because they didn’t know a better way to manage Robbie because they didn’t discuss it with me.”

Arthur suspects the care given to his wife contributed to her growing immobility, prolonged stay and ultimate death.

A physiotherapist’s note on January 10 says: “Unable to walk Robin in pm [afternoon] as resistive and wanted to sit down as soon as we stood her up. Knees bent so sat back down in comfort chair and positioned for comfort.”

Arthur maintains he kept telling the physiotherapist that he could coax Robin to walk but was not allowed to show her how.

“She just needed coaxing and reassurance being in a strange place.”

There are other serious questions Arthur wants answered from his reading of his wife’s care records.

He wants to know why on February 3 the doctor’s note states, in part: “no effect from Sinemet Rx cease Sinemet trial”.

Sinemet is a drug prescribed for the treatment of symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, includingmuscle stiffness,tremors, spasms, and poor muscle control.

Arthur says he was never advised she was being given the drug.

“Why was this done without my knowledge or approval?I was Robbie’s husband, guardian and carer.”

He wants to know why he managed to ensure Robin got more exercise when under his care at home than she did at an aged care facility.

He wants to know why the first he heard about pneumonia was on the day Robin died.

Why was the disease not picked up beforehandand treated?

“I was Robbie’s primary carer for eight years but I was never consulted about how she should be cared for.

“I managed for eight years to look after her. She would still be alive if she had been properly cared for in that place,” he says.

Shortly after being approached by Fairfax Media, we put a long list of questions to Opal Aged Care.

Those questions were sidelined by the discussionofwho had rights to Robin’s care records and remain unanswered.This is despite an assurance on May 17 that the answers to our questions would be forthcoming.

Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis took the issue to Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt.

Meanwhile, Arthur Kirby has lodged complaints with the Aged Care Complaints Commission and the Health Care Complaints Commission.

South Coast Register