Monthly Archives: April 2019

New WA doctor school bad medicine: AMA

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s funding of a new medical school in Western Australia has sparked a stoush with the AMA, which says it won’t help the state’s doctor shortage.


The Curtin Medical School in Midland, about 20km northeast of Perth, will cater for 60 students by 2017 and 110 a year by 2022.

AMA President Brian Owler raised the federal government’s ire by calling it “a calamitous captain’s call by Captain Chaos” because it failed to address the existing training bottleneck.

Treasurer Joe Hockey fired back, labelling Dr Owler’s comments extreme, out of order, and “certainly not fitting for someone representing a great profession”.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen quickly called on Mr Hockey to apologise for his “extraordinary” personal attack on one of Australia’s most respected neurosurgeons.

The remarks proved the treasurer had a glass jaw and was incapable of taking criticism, Mr Bowen said.

Dr Owler admits he had used “colourful language” but said the focus should be on policy.

“If he (Mr Hockey) wants to make that personal, well then that’s too bad,” he said.

The issue was not the number of medical students but the bottleneck caused by a lack of trainee positions in WA, with a shortfall of 84 GP training places last year, he said.

“(We) need to make sure we train those medical graduates to become the GPs and specialists that this country needs.”

Dr Owler also pointed to “a siege mentality here where people are accused of being members of the opposition political party any time they disagree with the government.”

AMA WA President Michael Gannon said graduates were already having difficulty getting jobs.

“This was a closed, back room decision done without any consultation with people who know what this means,” he said.

Mr Abbott defended the medical school that will cost the government $20 million once fully operational, saying it will help to address WA’s shortage of about 1,000 doctors compared to other states.

“Western Australia needs more local doctors,” he told reporters on Sunday.

Premier Colin Barnett said the school would bring prestige to the eastern suburbs, which had felt a “little bit left behind”.

“It’s long, long overdue that the eastern suburbs had tertiary education available,” Mr Barnett said.

The Curtin Medical School will open in 2017 and offer a five-year undergraduate medical degree.

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SBS Radio celebrating 40 years on air: Greek Program

Efthymios Kallos, or Themi as he is known to his listeners on the Greek program, has been with SBS Radio for over 25 years.



“It’s amazing, the wealth of experiences, emotions and stories this community, the migrant community that we constantly cover, has to offer… They have amazing stories to tell,” Mr Kallos said.

“And just putting them on radio, on the microphone, and then giving them to the wider audience, that in itself is an experience that you never get bored.”

Despite being born and growing up in Greece, SBS Greek language broadcaster Kyriakos Gold says he always felt a connection to Australia.

Holding Australian citizenship, he decided to come to Australia as a teenager 20 years ago, a move that led him to his career as a journalist at SBS Radio.

“Dad is Greek-Australian, and Mum is Greek, so we were born and raised in Greece, always feeling Australian. Kind of the opposite of what you have with Greek kids growing up in Australia,” Mr Gold said.

“So coming back here was like getting to my own truth, finding the other half of my identity, which sounds strange to many ethnic Australians, but that’s what it feels like being an Australian born overseas.”


Listen to SBS Reporter Peggy Giakoumelos go behind-the-scenes with Greek Radio:

SBS Radio’s role of keeping the community informed about Australian life continues today as a new wave of Greek people come to Australia due to the country’s economic crisis.

Most were born in Australia or to Australian parents, so, technically, they are not migrants, despite having lived most of their lives in Greece.

The Australian Greek Welfare Society says around 6,000 people have arrived from Greece and Cyprus over the past five years in Victoria alone.

Professor Karalis says an increase in the number of Australian passports being issued through the Australian embassy in Greece confirms the exodus.

“Most of these people studied in Greece — they were born here, but they studied in Greece. Greece invested a lot of money in them, and then it’s a haemorrhage of social, political and cultural capital coming to the country,” Professor Karalis says.

“So if some of them have the opportunity, they can return later on when the situation improves in the country, or their children could follow the same wave of repatriation that we have seen with the parents. But, unfortunately, as we all know, it all depends on how the situation will improve and if the situation will improve. I tend to be optimistic.”

Prof. Kallos says that group of Greek-Australians has created a need for new information to be available to the community.

One recent arrival is Sophie Gabriel. While born in Adelaide, she moved to Greece with her parents when she was four and returned to Australia only three years ago.

She was looking for study and work opportunities not available to her in Greece.

A listener of SBS Radio’s Greek program, she says Greek-language media play an important role in keeping people like her informed about life in Australia.

“Well, it’s keeping in touch with our culture and, you know, feeling like you’re Greek, although you’re not in Greece. I think language is the first and foremost thing that we need as a culture. If you forget how to speak Greek, then you lose your … your identity,” Ms Gabriel says.

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Steel deny Central Pulse again

Southern Steel denied Central Pulse a trans-Tasman netball league win for the second time in two weeks, stealing a last-gasp 55-55 draw in Palmerston North.


A fortnight after they pipped the Pulse 50-49 in Dunedin, the Steel forced a draw from a game at Arena Manawatu that the Pulse should have won.

The Steel’s ability to score quickly with the long bomb into Jhaniele Fowler-Reid proved vital as the towering Jamaican international sunk the crucial goal with time up on the clock.

For the Pulse, Silver Ferns Ameliaranne Wells and Jodi Brown impressed with a fluid combination, both in the shooting circle and outside.

Brown’s work up-court and vision in the goal third was outstanding, and her accuracy on goal meant she missed only two of her 22 attempts.

Brown and Wells constructed an unpredictable, mobile shooting circle while the Steel relied on their unerringly accurate long-range game to find Fowler-Reid under the post.

Leading 15-14 at the first break, the Pulse through-court defence fell off in the second spell and the Steel began to find Fowler-Reid with increasing ease.

The visitors opened out a five-goal lead, wing attack Gina Crampton in particular showing fine timing and excellent variation with her feed into Fowler-Reid.

But the Pulse dug in, finishing the quarter with a four-goal burst to go into halftime trailing 28-29.

They kept the pressure up right through the third quarter, the introduction of Ama Agbeze at goal keep for Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit proving key.

The English international’s quick hands and feet kept Fowler-Reid under pressure, freeing up goal defence Katrina Grant to go hunting for intercepts further up the court.

The Pulse finished the third quarter strongly, sinking three goals on end to lead 43-41 going into the last 15 minutes.

They extended that margin five minutes into the final quarter to lead 46-41, but paid the price for a series of soft turnovers which Fowler-Reid and substitute goal attack Brooke Leaver ruthlessly converted.

The draw means the Steel keep their third place on the New Zealand conference ladder with only two games remaining until the playoffs.

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Mohammed Morsi sentenced to death by Egyptian court

Morsi and his fellow defendants, including top Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, were convicted for killing and kidnapping policemen, attacking police facilities and breaking out of jail during the uprising against Hosni Mubarak.



The court’s request drew condemnations from Amnesty International and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.


The final ruling is expected to be made on June 2. The court sought capital punishment in a separate case for Brotherhood leader Khairat el-Shater and 15 others for conspiring with foreign militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah against Egypt.


The rulings, like all capital sentences, will be referred to Egypt’s top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for a non-binding opinion.


Egypt’s state information service said criticism of the ruling “reflects ignorance and lack of accuracy” and is an infringement on judicial independence.


Morsi can appeal the verdict. He has said the court is not legitimate, describing legal proceedings against him as part of a coup by former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2013.


Many other defendants are on the run.       

The Brotherhood, an Islamist movement, propelled Morsi to election victory in 2012 following Mubarak’s ouster but was driven underground after the army ouster a year later following protests against his rule.


Morsi stood defiant in a court cage wearing a blue prison outfit. He smiled and pumped his fists in the air as the judge read the sentences.


Other defendants, held in a courtroom cage separate from Morsi, flashed a four-finger salute symbolising resistance to the state’s anti-Islamist crackdown. From behind soundproof glass, they shouted: “Down with military rule!”

Wearing white, red and blue prison jumpsuits – identifying them respectively as awaiting sentencing, condemned to death, and sentenced to a lesser penalty – they seemed to form a choir momentarily, with one prisoner leading others in protest chants.


Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, the influential Qatar-based Muslim cleric, was among those sentenced to death.


He condemned the rulings in a televised statement: “They cannot be implemented because they are against the laws of God, against the people’s laws. I know the people and their morals. Nobody will accept it.”


Muslim Brotherhood official Amr Darrag also condemned the decision.


“This is a political verdict and represents a murder crime that is about to be committed, and it should be stopped by the international community,” Darrag, co-founder of the dissolved Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood’s political wing, told Reuters in Istanbul.


The party said the ruling “opened all options to rid the country of this gang which seized power by force”. It did not elaborate.

Amnesty International called the court decision “a charade based on null and void procedures”.


Erdogan criticised Egypt and accused its Western allies of hypocrisy, the state-run Anatolian news agency reported. “While the West is abolishing the death penalty, they are just watching the continuation of death sentences in Egypt. They don’t do anything about it,” it quoted him as saying.


Relations between the two Sunni Muslim states have deteriorated after Turkey emerged as one of the fiercest international critics of Morsi’s removal. The Brotherhood has close ties with Erdogan’s AK Party. 

Western diplomats say Egyptian officials have acknowledged it could be political suicide to execute Morsi and risk turning him into a martyr. The Brotherhood, the Middle East’s oldest Islamist group, has survived decades of repression, maintaining popular support through its charities.       

Prosecutors say the Brotherhood planned to send “elements” to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip for military training by Lebanon’s Hezbollah group and Iranian Revolutionary Guards.


Upon their return, they would join forces with militant groups in the Sinai Peninsula, the Egyptian territory that borders Israel, prosecutors alleged.


The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful organisation with no links to violence.


Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum condemned the ruling, which included dozens of Palestinians, calling it “a crime against the Palestinian people”. Hamas is an offshoot of the international Brotherhood movement.


Islamic militant groups stepped up bombing and shooting attacks on security forces after Morsi’s fall, killing hundreds.


On Saturday, four people, including three judges, were killed in the North Sinai city of al-Arish when militants shot at their vehicle, security sources said.


The interior ministry said a policeman was also killed by gunmen near Cairo. 


Security forces have killed about 1,000 Brotherhood supporters on the streets and jailed thousands of others, according to rights groups.


Some Egyptians accused Morsi of abusing power, which the Brotherhood denies, while rumours he intended to hand over part or all of the Sinai to Hamas compounded suspicions about him.


At a Cairo coffee shop, some Egyptians showed signs of political apathy after years of turbulence.


“Morsi deserves the death sentence 20 times over. He was going to give away the Sinai,” said cafe employee Mahmoud Osman.


Customer Ali Hussein was ambivalent, saying Morsi deserved the sentence because he escaped from prison while also questioning Egypt’s political transition.


“I don’t trust the judges frankly. We used to have democracy but we don’t anymore,” said the accountant.


In a separate case that risks sparking anti-government backlash, a court outlawed soccer fan clubs known as “Ultras” which participated in political demonstrations and violence since the 2011 uprising.  

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Knights snap five-game losing streak

Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor can’t believe it, but practising scrums will go straight to the top of the to-do list at training this week after their 22-12 defeat to the Knights in the NRL on Sunday evening.


Down by four with only minutes remaining, the Tigers looked to steal victory when halfback Luke Brooks fed a scrum in front of the Newcastle uprights.

However the Knights won the ball against the feed and eventually closed the game out to finally snap a run of five straight defeats and climb back into the top eight.

“The most disappointing part of us losing that scrum when it was our feed, was the way we reacted to that,” Taylor said.

“We really dropped our heads, which I suppose is understandable.

“But the game was still there. It’s not good enough to lose that scrum.

“That was in our control and we lost it.

“I can’t believe in (2015) that we’re going to need to practice putting the ball into the scrum at training but it seems like we will.”

The Knights led 12-6 at the break after opening the game on a clinical set piece finished off by James McManus.

The visitors responded on Brooks’ set up for Dene Halatau, before David Fa’alogo put the hosts back in front when he pounced on a loose ball.

The two sides traded tries early in the second half and then Newcastle debutant Chad Redman sealed the win from close range in the closing stages.

“Chaddy’s been in our system at the Knights since he was 15 so he’s a guy who has turned up every year, every pre-season, trained hard, trained well and been a real toiler since he’s been a kid,” skipper Kurt Gidley said after the game.

“So he’s been waiting for this chance the past couple of years.

“I know he’s trialled in first-grade for the past two-three years and he’s kept working at his game and we’re all really proud and happy for him.

“To score one at the end was great for him and it’s a great start to his career.”

The loss drops the Tigers to 12th spot.

There was a scare for NSW second-rower Beau Scott when he copped a hit to his neck in the first half but he recovered to finish the game.

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