• 'Enough is Enough'….All consumers and psychologists in Australia deserve equal access to Medicare!
    The APS submission (https://www.psychology.org.au/About-Us/What-we-do/advocacy/Submissions/Professional-Practice/2018/APS-Submission-to-the-MBS-Review-Better-Access?) recommends that over two thirds of registered psychologists (many of whom hold higher degrees, specialised training and significant experience in their field) but have not applied for “endorsement” would only be able to provide services to the estimate 10% of clients presenting with mild to moderate disorders. The complicated model states that psychologists may be given an opportunity to “demonstrate equivalent competence” to be able to treat what is, for many, their existing client base. Recognition would almost certainly come at a significant cost. The APS has yet to explain just how this recognition would occur, leaving experienced practitioners at a loss as to how they can protect their livelihood and deliver crucial services to clients. All registered psychologists are currently permitted to practice across all areas of psychology and mental health and can diagnose, assess and treat clients, regardless of whether they are endorsed or not. Ethical guidelines require psychologists to only provide services within their limits of personal competence. Endorsed psychologists primarily operate in urban areas, while the majority of psychologists operating in rural areas are non-endorsed. Data from the Psychology Board of Australia’s ‘Area of practice endorsement data tables: January 2014’, shows that only 23 endorsed psychologists work in remote communities across Australia; 212 in outer regional; while 7 969 work in metropolitan/capital cities. Our rural areas have some of the highest rates of suicide in Australia. If accepted, the APS recommendations will leave rural and regional Australians without access to vital mental health care services. The consequences to Australians in desperate need of mental health care will be disastrous. If accepted, the APS model will result in higher session fees, with clients unable to claim any Medicare rebate unless their preferred practitioner is “endorsed”. Market forces would likely push up out-of-pocket fees to see endorsed psychologists and waiting lists would blow out. By losing a major funding stream, many non-endorsed psychologists would be forced to close their practices, leaving vulnerable clients without access to vital and affordable health services. Many endorsed psychologists do not bulk bill, meaning only those in higher socioeconomic groups would be able to afford treatment for the most debilitating of conditions. There is no evidence to support that better health outcomes are achieved by “endorsed” psychologists. In fact, a significant amount of “endorsed” psychologists achieved this status through historical paid membership to special interest “Colleges”, and not through demonstrated experience or completing a masters/doctorate degree. Some psychologists were granted up to six endorsements via this process. The Australian Clinical Psychology Association stated that ‘More than half of those clinical psychologists currently endorsed by the Psychology Board of Australia do not have qualifications in clinical psychology...’ (source: https://industry.gov.au/Office-of-the-Chief-Economist/SkilledOccupationList/Documents/2015Submissions/ACPA.pdf). Therefore, many endorsed psychologists hold the same level of training and qualifications as non-endorsed psychologists. The APS position is a crushing blow to over two thirds of registered psychologists, many of whom will be unable to continue treating the majority of their clients if the proposal is accepted by the Government. It is clear the APS is not acting in the best interests of its members (who currently pay $640 for annual membership) or their clients, by advocating that the majority of psychologists lose access to the MBS. In fact, if the APS proposal is accepted, 66% of the psychologist board members who are “endorsed”, may personally benefit with increased client referrals, while 64% of registered psychologists will have very limited access to Medicare referrals. Questions must be asked about the ability of the APS Board to represent all psychologists equally, and whether the board members are at risk of breaching their fiduciary duties to the APS with a proposal which effectively destroys the livelihoods of the majority of registered practitioners, for the benefit of a few, including themselves. For over ten years now, clinical psychologist’s services have attracted a $39 higher rebate than non-clinical psychologists. Despite this higher rebate, fewer clinical psychologists fully bulk-bill their clients. Based on the current Medicare arrangements, the proposed changes will represent a significant increase to Medicare, as the cost of providing the same services already being provided by registered psychologists would increase by 47%. A notable research project commissioned by the Australian Government (Pirkis et al, 2011) demonstrated clearly that psychologists treating mental illness across both tiers of Medicare Better Access produced equivalently strong treatment outcomes (as measured by the K-10 and DASS pre-post treatment) for mild, moderate and severe cases of mental illness. This research demonstrates clearly that there is no difference in treatment outcomes when comparing clinical psychologists treating under tier one of Medicare Better Access with the treatment outcomes of all other registered psychologists treating under tier two of Medicare Better Access (Pirkis et al, 2011a). Reference: Pirkis, Ftanou, Williamson, Machlin, Spittal & Bassilios (2011a). Australia's Better Access initiative: An evaluation. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 45:726–739
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  • Save Mount Panorama
    It's important that we let the council know we care about Mt Panorama, the way it is used matters to the people of Bathurst and all the thousands of race goers and visitors that come here every year. It belongs to all people, not just one sporting club, which could easily be located somewhere else.
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  • Stop foreign ownership of the Albany wind farm
    - You have caused the loss of local employment effectively losing 28 years of experience on those very machines. - You have revoked a contract to a West Australian company who currently maintains the wind farm and given it to a multi-national company effectively causing more job loss and local money leaving the state. - Your government promised in the election that you would not sell power assets and now you have broken that promise.
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  • Save Jesmond Bush
    Have you been to George McGregor Park? It’s a verdant refuge for native species nestled amongst the suburbs in Jesmond. The edges of the bush have been slowly encroached upon by suburban development for decades, and what remains is some of Newcastle’s last remaining habitat for impressive and unusual species like the Powerful Owl and the Squirrel Glider, the Black-eyed Susan and Hakea bakerii, all rare and protected. The Jesmond to Rankin Park bypass will be constructed right down the middle of this native habitat by Roads and Maritime Services. The design was recently updated by RMS to better accommodate connectivity for cyclists. What about connectivity for the animals living in Jesmond bush? The current design sees a giant wall of dirt blocking the path and free movement of the fauna in Jesmond bush, impacting their ability to breed, feed and ultimately survive. There are alternatives to the current design that would improve the outlook for wildlife, such as the use of pylons which will in the long run leave less of a clearing footprint and better accommodate the animals inhabiting this beautiful patch of native bush. We the undersigned call on Roads and Maritime Services to improve the design of the Jesmond to Rankin Park bypass to maximise habitat connectivity and ensure local wildlife populations continue to thrive . Sign the petition and let Sonia Hornery, Member for Wallsend know that we value the species living in George McGregor Park and the long-term preservation of local habitat.
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  • Ban NSW buses with automatic access ramps
    The access ramps for these buses never work and are either not serviced or drivers are not trained on how to use them. As a person in a wheelchair that relies on buses for transport, I have often had to wait hours often out in the cold for the next bus in the timetable (sometimes multiple buses) because the ramp doesn’t work.
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  • Save Sydney's Luna Park
    Luna Park is a battle fought and won by the people, almost fifty years ago. The owners of Luna Park have worked hard to make this a viable operation, a venue used for a mixture of events and its bread and butter fun park rides. I grew up with this venue, where a kid from not only, the western suburbs, but visitors from around the world could enjoy our harbour from these rides. The greed of this government and the clandestine nature of its operations makes me think there is a hidden agenda. One which would no doubt include a "sell-off". STOP IT
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  • Protect Families and Children From Gun Violence - Let's give women and children a say!
    Last week two teenagers, Jennifer and Jack Edwards, were shot dead by their father, John Edwards, a 68-year-old Financial Planner. Mr Edwards was able to join St Mary's Indoor Shooting Centre, he then obtained a firearms licence and permit before legally buying two high-powered firearms, which he used to shoot his children. Mr Edwards was estranged from his wife Olga Edwards and custody proceedings had commenced in the Family Court. As the law currently stands, when a person applies for a firearm licence or permit to acquire additional firearms, the spouse of the applicant does not need to be notified or consulted, even when a family law matter has commenced in the courts and there has been previous history of threats and fear. If the law had required police to notify and consult with Olga Edwards before approving Mr Edwards' application for a firearm, then his firearm application could have been denied. Samantha Lee, Director of GCA states, “Current gun laws fail to adequately protect women and children from gun violence because the law requires an AVO to be in place or a charge for a criminal offence before a firearm may be revoked or suspended. By then, it may be too late to save a life.” “What GCA wants to see happen is a more pro-active approach which gives woman and spouses a voice in the gun licence continuation, application or acquisitions process.” Gun Control Australia (GCA) is calling for the implementation of robust new family law firearm safety checks to better protect families from gun violence. The call comes after the recent horrific shooting of two teenagers in West Pennant Hills by their father who legally obtained several firearms including high-powered handguns. Under the current law, police do not have to notify a spouse when their partner or ex-partner applies for a gun licence or a permit to obtain additional firearms. GCA is calling on all State and Territory Attorney General's to support our proposal for family law firearm safety checks.The checks would be compulsory and required to be undertaken once a proceeding has been lodged in the Family Court. The checks would include: (1) Firearm Licence Review, and (2) Spousal notification for all new applications for a firearm licence and permits to acquire a firearm application Firearm Licence Review The Firearm Licence Review (FLR) would require police to check if any party to the family court proceedings has a gun licence and if so, if there is any concern for the safety for the firearm licence holder, their immediate family or the public. The police would have the power to suspend or revoke a licence or not issue a permit. Spousal notification Spousal notification would require police to notify the spouse/ partner who is a party to family law custody proceedings when the other party has a gun licence or has made an application for a firearm licence or an application to obtain a permit to acquire a licence. The notification would then allow the spouse/partner to object to the continuation of the licence or the application on the grounds of concerns for personal safety to himself, herself or others. Full Scale Review We also call for the commonwealth and state parliaments of Australia to initiate a full-scale review of our nation's gun laws, which have been steadily weakened after decades of pressure by an NRA style gun lobby here in Australia. We need your support to change our gun laws to better protect families from gun violence. This petition is endorsed by Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service NSW Inc. Samantha Lee Director Gun Control Australia https://www.guncontrolaustralia.org/
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  • Make big developers compensate small business during construction
    Big developers should be responsible for the community they are moving into and should be made to compensate for the loss of business they cause.
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  • NAB and CEO Andrew Thorburn - Return This Pensioner his Money
    Ordinary Australians deserve to have trust in the banks and their lifelong savings protected. Do the right thing and have a moral conscience National Australia Bank
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  • Simply vote to raise much needed funds for struggling youth charity
    $10 k is a significant amount of money we can use to provide direct support to the young people we work with. THANK YOU for considering
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  • Shutdown neo-Nazi clubhouse at 9/158 Chesterville Road, Cheltenham, Melbourne
    The Lads Society are at Unit 9/158 Chesterville Road, Cheltenham near the Waves leisure centre and their commercial warehouse is leased on their behalf by Mr Thomas Sewell through Nixon Industries. The Lad’s Society is a clubhouse, training facility, recruitment centre and safe space for neo-nazis and others on the far-right. The Lad’s Society poses itself as ‘...an organisation consisting of young, Australian men, committed to restoring the elements of our nation, starting at the individual, and community levels’, and offers a gym, a place to drink and meet people. Concerningly, because of the way they’ve structured themselves as a kind of ‘men’s club’ with a nationalist bent, insecure and otherwise unaligned young men in the neighbourhood could be at particular risk of being radicalised toward Nazi politics in this space. As well, these men operating out of Cheltenham is an immediate danger to the multicultural neighbourhood, due to their violent histories and politics, and the fact they gather on Fridays from 5PM, drink, lift weights and fight each other until late in the evening. To say these men are nazis is not an exaggeration. One of the founders of The Lad’s Society is Blair Cottrell, who has been documented suggesting pictures of Hitler should be hung in every classroom, and Mein Kampf should be handed out to every student every year (evidence of his ideas are readily available by google search). He has also been convicted and served time for stalking and burning down an ex-partner’s house. He is the founder of United Patriots Front, a group he was the chairman of that involved other found members of The Lad’s Society, including Thomas Sewell, pictured below with Blair Cottrell celebrating Hitler’s birthday and flashing the ‘white power’ hand gesture. There are also active associations within The Lad’s Society with an explicitly Nazi group called ‘Antipodean Resistance’, who Stuart Von Moger (pictured above) is affiliated with. This group is known to recruit as a resurgence of Germany’s ‘Hitler Youth’. They’ve attacked international students, jews and the LGBTQIA+ community on university campuses and abroad with extremely racist propaganda and can be seen unfurling banners with swastikas on them from overpasses.
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  • HELP create sustainable care for Veterans and their families
    Research has shown that Military Veterans have more marital problems, family violence, their partners have higher levels of distress and, their children have more behavioural problems than Veterans without PTSD. Figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), between 2001 and 2015, reveal the tragedy of 292 current and ex-defence personnel taking their lives. This highlights the importance of sustainable access to psychological care for this particularly vulnerable group.
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