The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on March 15, 1982 · Page 7
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The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia · Page 7

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Issue Date:
Monday, March 15, 1982
Page 7
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The Sydney Morning . Herald, Monday, March 15, 1982 Page 7 THE LOWE DYELECTIOtl C2 The switching habit couldn't save the Liberals Loyal State voters launch Maher into Federal politics A LOT of politicians have switched from State to Federal politics, but few have used their State seat as devastat-ingly as Michael Maher did in the Lowe by-election on Saturday. He turned his State seat of Drummoyne into a steamroller which flattened the Liberal Party so effectively that only one voter in three supported the Government in nearly half the electorate. Almost all Maher's State supporters remained loyal on Saturday, enabling him to short-circuit the switching habit voting Labor in a State election and Liberal in a Federal election. The switching habit has saved Lowe for Sir William McMahon in close elections in the past, but nothing could halt the Maher Machine on Saturday. The Member for bus stops was unstoppable. Maher's former seat of Drummoyne falls totally within Lowe and comprises about 40 per cent of the Federal electorate's vote. The five subdivisions of Abbots-ford, Drummoyne, Five . Dock, Haberficld and Mortlake are common to both the Federal and State seat, allowing some interesting comparisons. In the eight years Maher held the State seat he turned a majority of 368 into more than 12,000. In the State poll last September he corralled 67.2 per cent of the vote. According to the Liberal Party, Maher lost 10 per cent of his State support on Saturday but the Labor Party puts the loss no higher than two or three per cent. Maher's majority in the Drummoyne end of Lowe is unlikely to fall below 60 per cent of the vote. Whatever the marginal loss, there's no denying that more than enough Maher supporters stayed with him to turn his old State seat into a spectacular springboard which bounced him into Federal politics. The Federal Government is already trying to write off Lowe to the usual anti-Government swing in a by-election, exaggerated by Maher's strong personal vote. But the depth to wluch the Liberal vote slid below 33 per cent in four of the five subdivisions in the Drummoyne end of the electorate suggests a strong negative factor, the most obvious being dissatisfaction with the Government's handling of the economy. The Government, by accident, ensured that housing interest and pensions became major issues in the campaign. As well as holding his own supporters, Mr Maher ate into the Liberal vote in the Strathfleld end of the electorate, lifting Labor's vote here by eight or nine per cent. Again, the Labor drift in a Liberal stronghold suggests disenchantment has spread to the Government's hitherto most loyal supporters. Inevitably, Saturday's result will be seen in terms of leadership both for Malcolm Fraser and Bill Hay-den. Labor's win orRuably will strengthen Hayden's position against Hawkc more than it will weaken Fraser's position against Peacock, if only because a Prime Minister is much harder to topple than an Opposition Leader. Lowe has not pushed Fraser to the cliff edoe as Bass did to Whit-lam in 1975. The swing in Bass was 14 per cent, at least five per cent more than the likely swing in Lowe, and made anything seem possible for Fraser. In the South Australian election that immediately followed Bass, Dunstan stopped the rot by disowning Whitlam. The post-Lowe question for Lindsay Thompson is: can he stop the rot in Victoria on April 3? The NSW Labor machine needed a big win in Lowe almost as much as Hayden. The NSW party delivered only one seat to Hayden in the 1980 Federal election, narrowly missing in four seats, including Lowe. It has not escaped the Rit'lit-wing State machine that all four seats concerned had Left-wing candidates, Michael Muher, a Catholic and family man, swept to victory in a scat which the Left-wing feminist Jan Btirnswoods could not win in 1980. ' , ' .- ... .-. .... Maher is usually identified with the ALP Centre Unity machine, but his voting record in the parliamentary caucus shows he some- . times can be a maverick, if an ultra-respectuble one. Michael Maher proved on Saturday that candidates that are seen ' as safe by the electorate are much safer bets for Labor. The Left is a luxury Labor can afford only in safe seals. A remarkable underground feature of Saturday's by-election was that the third highest vote after the two major candidates was the "no dams" write-in vote. The voting ticket write-in is a new form of protest in Australia and suggests the damming of the Franklin in Tasmania has become a big national issue. In Peter Bowers's article on the Lowe by-election in the Herald on Saturday it was wrongly reported that Mr Philip Taylor's father had died. Mr Taylor, the Liberal candidate for the by-election, said yesterday his father, Mr Jim Taylor, . was seriously ill and his condition had worsened on Wednesday night. He said the incorrect report was due to a misunderstanding that occurred" during a telephone conversation with a Liberal campaign official. The ambulance anger: old ladies instead of sirens and red lights ONLY a year ago, after nearly a lifetime in the ambulance service, station officer B was thrilled with his work. Today he is a disillusioned mun. "In 30 years I have never fell so despondent or seen the men so demoralised," he said. "We've got no men, no money, and we're going downhill fast." In the past 18 months, the easygoing mood of the ambulance officers has changed and their union, the Health and Research Employees' Association, has received messages from all over the State offering support for any action bringing to the notice of the Minister for Health their conviction that they are being disastrously mismanaged. Says Bill O'Connor, assistant secretary of the association: "When loyal officers who are normally uninterested in union business feel that strongly, then it's time to act." The action began on February 28, with the imposition of work bans as part of a campaign to take the administration of the ambulance service away from the Health Commission. These bans were designed to hit the commission's hip pocket, by making it impossible to send out accounts for services. Bans on all non-urgent cases were to follow on March 7, but were cancelled when the Minister for Health, Mr Brereton, agreed to set up a committee to investigate the management of the ambulance service. To defuse the situation, the Minister undertook not to implement the proposed amalgamation of health regions pending the results of the inquiry. The proposed plan to amalgamate 13 regions into nine caused the dispute. Ambulance officers already concerned at their promotion prospects saw the opportunities shrinking further once amalgamation made some superintendents redundant. Mr O'Connor says the main problem in the ambulance service is confusion surrounding its administration. "We want to revert to the old system where each regional superintendent was directly responsible to the State superintendent." It rankles Ihe ambulance men that their State superintendent, who is responsible to the Minister, is actually subordinate to regional directors, who are public servants. They want a system of promotion through the ranks and direct iic- By DIANE ARMSTRONG countability to the minister, like the police. There is some dissent, however, between the ambulance officers and their representatives about the best way to achieve it. Mr O'Connor does not believe that breaking away from the Health Commission completely would be in the best interest of the service. He feels this would be a financial mistake. The ambulance officers disagree. "We're being ordered about by a lot of public service clerks," said Richard, a paramedic. "We're the worst staffed, worst equipped and worst paid members of any of the essential services." Mr O'Connor is optimistic about the outcome of the inquiry. He says he is certain that it will boost morale. Many of NSWs 1,940 ambulance officers are disillusioned about their work, frustrated by their inability to perform what they were trained to do and resentful of the higher status of paramedics. Jerry joined the ambulance service a year ago. Out of the 10 cases that he averages during one shift, possibly, only two are medical emergencies. "When you join up," he said, "you think it's all going to be sirens and red lights. You don't realise that most of the time you'll be transporting old ladies to physiotherapy or rehabilitation. "As this fact is not explained to the new recruits and as their training emphasises the casualty aspect of their work, nothing really prepares them for the reality of their job. which is that 85 per cent of their work is routine transportation of patients." Because the ambulance service has borne the brunt of the current trend to discharge patients from hospital earlier, ambulance officers spend most of their time doing what they consider is unglamorous and second-rate work. They maintain they are being used as taxis by people, many of whom seem to be capable of getting themselves around to and from oilier places by oilier means of transport. Three ambulance officers ctiolcd instances of overuse of ambulances: the patient who goes home in an ambulance while his relatives drive behind all I lie w ay: the old ladies who catch buses into town for their hairdrcssing appointments but must have an ambulance to go to the physiotherapist; and the patients who tell them on the way home that they are planning to go to the club that night. The officers believe that the general public as well as medical practitioners need educating in the proper uses of ambulance vehicles. "We are being over-utilised by at least 30 per cent of patients simply because they belong to the Ambulance Fund," said the paramedic. "What they don't realise is that over-usage only raises costs and that while we're engaged in unnecessary transports we can't get to the emergencies as quickly." Many regular chores of the ambulance service are seen as a waste and an abuse. F.very day at 5 am two officers with an ambulance are on standby at Randwick racecourse. They are supposed to be relieved at 8 am. but they often remain on duty until 9 and sometimes as late as 10.15. "If there was a serious accident at that time," says Jerry, "we couldn't get to it because we have to watch the backsides of horses." During these hours every day, according to a station officer, virtually the whole of the eastern suburbs, from Maroubra to Watsons Bay, is covered by only two ambulances, one at Bondi and the other at Randwick, At trotting meets, clog races and all large sporting fixtures, two ambulances arc on duty. "It's a terrible waste because we are hardly ever needed," said the station officer. Ambulance officers also feel they have been downgraded by the creation of the paramedics in 1976. Paramedics, who arc selected ambulance officers wilh a minimum of two years' experience, undergo an intensive training program in emergency resuscitation procedures which few doctors can match outside intensive care units. Using specially equipped intensive care ambulances, which cost about SI million to run each year, paramedics are able to treat critically ill and injured patients according to strict, detailed protocols. As a result of their expertise, paramedics arc called to critically ill patients and the general ambu lance officer gets to do very little real emergency work. Yet in many cases it is the general ambulance officer who gets to the scene of the emergency first and needs to administer first aid or initiate resuscitation. "The trouble is that you can easily forget what you've learnt." said Paul, "because you use your learning so infrequently." Ambulance officers complain that hospital staff tend to ignore the treatment they have given. Wilh little encouragement and no feedback about the effectiveness of their treatment, many ambulance officers are beginning to feel inadequate. Richard, who became a paramedic five years ago, feels that it is essential for general officers to get more experience and more exposure to pressure. "The gap is widening between them and us," he said, "yet it's from their ranks that paramedics have to come." Some officers criticise the way some station officers are more concerned about accounting details than the standard of treatment patients receive. Said Mike: "The paramedics are supervised in their work, but station officers worry more about why we're not wearing our hats or why our tyres aren't black than about why we didn't use a splint on a patient." Frustration, disenchantment and hard physical work have combined to produce a high rate of changeover in ambulance staff. In the Sydney metropolitan area, out of over 800 ambulance officers, the majority have had less than three years' experience. '"The attrition rate among us is horrendous," the station officer said, "and the fact that staff are not being replaced only increases the workload on the rest." Mike, who joined the ambulance service just before the Health Commission took over Ihe Ambulance Board in 1976. recalls the early days of the integration: "At first it was like a honeymoon there was plenty of everything. Then came Ihe cooling olT period, when everything came only after a fair bit of clforl. Now I reckon we've reached Ihe seven-year itch." On June 30. when the committee will complete its investigation. Ihe ambulance service will know whether the result is a reconciliation or divorce. "Roses arc red. Violets arc blue. Most poems rhyme. But this one don't." GLEN'S teasing was directed at the sombre poems of his 16-ycar-old friend, which arc stuck on Ihe dining room walls of the Young People's Refuge in White Street, Lilyfield. But Kristin's poems rhyme in the approved fashion, and names like Runaway and Back Home hint at personal experience. "My mother made me leave home when I was 14." she said simply. "I've been in and out of refuges for two years." Kristin has been at the refuge for three weeks. Glen is 17 and arrived there after walking nearly all the way from Melbourne. Both are unemployed and estranged from their families. Both had "nowhere else to go." Last week they bought coffee mugs, an ashtray, some glasses and salt and pepper shakers as the first step towards moving out together and sharing a flat. Both are looking for work to save up for a bond. "Glen and Kristin are typical of our older residents." said Karen McGlinchey, a youth worker at the refuge. There nre 23 Government-funded youth refuges in NSW. all but six of them in Sydney. Between July, 1980, and September, 1981, they received 5,942 requests for help. This week i Youth Refuge Week, which is being held for the first linn In NSW In Increase public iiwmvnck of refuge and lo highlight III fad llliil the Nderitl Cinv-piiiim'HI lm mil iihiiimpik'uiI Hhv-lliei it Mill I'liiillinm liindiiiH ii'luuei nnilm llir ViHilli HurvlVfi rklii'inr I hit Ihii'i' H'iM nihil nimiMiii fini.lnl niu.ilh by lliii tylnit' 'Mid nl,Ml I iuw nilm ill. Ii ilnt' In viiu mm Inim III 1'inln llir t'liiii il' (llHHIIUItlll H'lllllllllllt M Hllllllll I.J1.I I Mill II. 'I H I'll ll Klllill IIIIIIHi III llf Mill lll,HNIlMl lll IIIUli lltll lt' llllll Mill iul tin nli.i tliiiiii mm J HHlll .lllltllliMII 23 places for the young who have nowhere else to go By JENNY TABAKOFF Many of the refuges will be open to the public or are holding special events this week to publicise the need for continued funding and to encourage the public to do volunteer work in refuges or to make donations. According to the Department of Youth and Community Services, 70 per cent of all requests for refuge come from people under 18. Of these. 40 per cent are aged 16 or 17. About 45 per cent of them are unemployed and 85 per cent have an income of less than $60 a week. Glen, good-looking and intelligent, is hoping lo break into male modelling and has applied for several other jobs. Originally from Tasmania, he lived with his mother in Melbourne after his parents separated, lint didn't gel on wilh his stepfather, After several lights, he ran away to Sydney, walking most nf Ihe wiiv anil gelling a lifl fur llir hikl nuiirlcr of llir journey, Ahiiiil half lhoo in minium linvr tnuiii nl lei ii family limikilnwn. "Mml nl ihcin would lime sprnl ,i I'Jel, mi Ihe klitvlk nl vmliilik muck in thru Ihe " "in! K.iihii Midlni'lii'! ' Mnl iiimlil Iw iihlr in lue mi Ihe ne.'U k'llri Hmm Hi' miiiI'I Iiii , while S In! ill lliilll , , ll i if In It Willi IllMllll liil'lill ,iml ,MI all ill llll'lll ll'Hl llllll.ll I'llll'llllO Villi! iiit iiiiiliiiniilll'llid ill linn H'hi lllillilvilli. Illi.lilli till HHi'iljiiii) l'Hlillll 'I'l Ii.lij Vlllliy lill'l Ullil HlillllUI ihlMlll III When the Herald visited the Lilyfield refuge last week, eight people were slaying there its full capacity. Four of them were at school. "We have a ninth bed, but we save that for absolute emergencies," said Karen. "If someone rings up in the middle of the night, which often happens, we can tell them to come along." Mostlv it is not the young people themselves who ring. Many have rung organisations like Lifeline and been referred to the refuge. Others are referred by the Department of Youth and Community Services, school counsellors, community health centres, hospitals or other refuges, which might not be suitable for the child's age. (Lilyfield, for example, gels many younger children.) A few have been in Ihe refuge before and walk in off Ihe street. The two collages in Ihe Lilyfield refuge iilmi contain Hie office ol hTrctch-ii-l'iimlly. Many of llmx aged under 16 nl Hie refuge me liolureil mil lo piiviiK luiinch iimlei Ihik mIiciiiu, mii ilk ilneciui, e Inn all eie. hliDlclM I iiuilK limit'k Inner Imiiniii, viililltuU ihe l.iimli ami lliii tllllil mill in I. iiui in llu ill in liietl II, iHt'i mid i uieci mii hiiii n.iiiii'k inn li,ii) mill ill,' iiiIiiiii'Hikiii llir iniiiiu I'l l urn "ll' III,' I.iiiiiIi jlt'linl'ill ll"il' mI'I iil'mii 111 I M Iu'll'l i I'll! il I mill timp vi til in. 1 1 li ! Ii D I -null! , lii- parenls are not limited In married couples. "We foster with single people and dc facto couples as well." said Deborah. "Some of Ihe kids prefer not to live in a family because thev have had such problems wilh their own tamilics. They prefer to live wilh a single parent because they don' I 'associate that wilh being in a proper family." A large shed at the back of the refuge is being converted lo become the offices of the Transition Education Program, which will help young people find work by increasing their skills, teaching them how to use their leisure constructively and building confidence. Three months is the official limit for a stay at the refuge, but this is often extended, particularly for those taking part m Stretch-a-Family. Where do the others go after leaving the refuge? Karen McGlinchey said a sizable proportion decide to return to their families. Others, like Glen and Kristin, use the refuge as a stepping stone to an independent life. The Test may go to a family group home (long-term accommodation with small groups of young people supervised by two house parents) or decide to go into Government institutions. "It's very sad," said Karen McGlinchey. "It's particularly the ones who have lived in institutions nil their lives who generally want lo go hack to one, because that's all Ihey know." No one denies Ihe worth of the Yiiinh Service program. Mm Marie ( olnnini, Ihe director nf Iho Office nl Child ( tire in Ihe Ocnininicnl nf .Social divinity, lliiinigh which the s. Ileum mmiiilo, kiild Ihe l ed-vial Onmi mucin viuwvil Ihe M'tirnm .l .1 klkVCkk. 'Ihe It'll i, il I nucinineiii h,ik 'It ii tniiiiiiilimiu in luiniilt IiiiiiIiiiu lliniuiili Hit llimiijcn I'.i mii SMl,llltf Ul .llhl i nin ultima in i J 1 1 ni! ihe ) muli ii-ni.i.' h'lifilit ill Hie iiiniiitiil Jlii w uuiliiltiil Hit aiii.-,'I lui hii I'll l)VIHH) h. n ihil I Iwu, l Klllllil )( ,lll! Ill IIMlV ,111 "lll!ll. I III, ,l l'!lli I Ill l Japan's Lomigest-estalbflislhied Trastt BaniEt Comes to Sydney. 1 1 '2SSS5J 11 ' ' r-AY-i- 7 - HUNTER STREET The Mitsui Trust & Banking Co., Ltd. is pleased to announce the opening of its Sydney Representative Office on March 15,1982. Mitsui Trust's Sydney Representative Office will be a proud addition to our international network of offices. We are happy to be able to contribute to the future development of the economy and business of Australia. Address: 16th Level C.BA. Centre 60 Margaret Street Sydney N.S.W. 2000 Telephone: 235-1139 Telex: 73067 MTBSYD AA Chief Representative: Toshiyuki Fujita Representative: Toshiyuki Okamoto ) MITSUI TRUST 2 THE MITSUI TRUST It IANKINO CO.,lTD. HMd Olnc; l-l, Ninnnhhi Miiioinni:lii ?.chume, thiio-ku, Tokyo, Japan Tel: 0a27n-t)lill felo J?63t)7 CdDle Addrt: TRUBTMff TOKVQ Nw Vork Brwchi Onu Wmld luidn C.intui, SiiiIb ?36b, Now Void, N V IOOitB,lBA fill ?frQW4IM lnln ?40IMBCOOR t:l)lii niiiiiuMi IHIJbfMIT Nf WYOHK l-inilon flianch: HH lliHlioiim.ilu, Ionium I ( I'M JXO UK lul (H, In 0841 fnlnt HHItlil) MIHIIH1 ii Qilllu AHilim,!. THUHTMIT lONDQN fW 8iil(jWi Bimicli; luwiii IM),'J, )li:i liiiiUlniu t m Way. iini(,iinia llltlh tiiiiu,iiiHii lul A'lltlhti l IhImi Jub MHUIfH Hf) i iiliiii Aililli'kk MlHIIIIIUIil liilHiAI'Mlll I HI Augnlim fluilidkiiiiliiliyB DtliK i l'i,i,i ili,Miini, :,mh: nii hit Wiiiil hiiiii iiliiiiii I A i iiuluiin.i lit) A lul i?l l IdlF li'li'i iill;l,'l,'llll Mill (I Uf, i line Aih , IHwMUil I A hil I'rtlllp RIHklllilllyi Dllli A,i 'Ml 1 1 lui, ,l,, l,'i I iiln , A .ilu Ami i'i 'H 'I'l -i.i" I i'H" ;l' lli'i'i Ii ' rDVlDI) li-li , H.I'HiH) AliAII IIII MiUlll lllkl hlliHHH IMlilig h'lllMI I liniluil liilh I inui l,ii i! 1 ,iu.iii M'""ti "J n lii' .mini HimiI ii nihil llnlii Nmi 1 1" H'l-'l liiei l, I I Mllllll- l' I ,iMi . ft. .ii 01, Mll!,ll- MlUul llllll Htllt II IIHIMH M I'll imi. I inn' K ,'U I J 1 1 I, iiii.ii Mmh it il nl- lui U, lihl Ml . Ivii uiljl) M''Mh It I il"i H'lH . MIIIUM Hft,

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