Allan West

Fight the Budget

At our May 9 meeting, Enid Hokin moved that the NSW RTA call on the Leader of the Federal Opposition to more effectively oppose the Federal Government’s Budget proposals and concentrate on the real targets of the policies to cut spending on grounds of a phony disastrous Budget deficit.

It really only serves to deflect attention from the real issues — the cuts in welfare payments, changes to pension rights, co-payments for visits to GPs, reducing the minimum wage, raising the pension age, the broken promises on cuts to health and education spending, and delaying the NDIS.

The Deficit Levy will have little effect on the Budget compared with the massive accumulation of government revenue from the huge cuts in benefits and living standards of underprivileged Australians. If the government were genuinely concerned that the well-off carry their share, the Prime Minister and Treasurer would be examining raising revenue by taxing the incomes of the very wealthy.

Prime Minister Abbott should be making it mandatory for wealth acquired in Australia to be taxed in Australia.

Support Mahdi in Bahrain

It was moved by Des Moore that the RTA call for:

  • the release of Mahdi Abu Dheeb, a school teacher and President of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association, arrested in April 2011 for encouraging members of the union to go on strike
  • medical treatment for Mahdi. While in prison, he has sustained serious injuries, including broken ribs; his daughter has reported that the prison authorities have not allowed him adequate medical treatment.
  • a full investigation into his claim that he was tortured in police custody and call for those responsible to be brought to justice.

We want Federation to support this campaign from Amnesty International and LabourStart and endorse the three points above.

Anaesthetic and dementia

It was moved by Patricia Campbell-Hardwick that all surgery patients, their family carers and supporters be informed of the fact that it is believed that general anaesthetics have the potential to trigger dementia or Alzheimer’s disease post-operation, particularly in the age-group over 65, and that the NSW and Federal Health Ministers make sure that current research continues. “Hundreds of thousands of Australians are believed to be suffering memory loss for months after surgery, with fears it could cause dementia in people over 65” as reported by Julia Medew, health editor of the Sydney Morning Herald on May 9.

Shortage of accommodation near hospitals

Shirley Bains moved that the RTA write to the NSW Minister of Health regarding the shortage of affordable and accessible accommodation on or near hospital grounds for people who need to travel to city centres for regular medical treatment. Government decisions to close such accommodation have resulted in patients, particularly those in regional areas, being out of pocket or simply unable to access treatment due to the costs.

Cancel bombers

Enid Hokin moved that the NSW RTA call on the Federal Government to cancel the mooted purchase of 58 fighter jets until such time as the Budget is back in surplus. The cost of purchase and running of these Joint Strike fighters has doubled to $24 billion since the decision was originally made to purchase them. There is no evidence that having such state-of-the-art war machines will contribute to Australia’s defence. If we are fiscally in such dire straits as the government asserts we are in no position to be buying such military hardware.

Re-open local detention centres

Enid Hokin moved that the NSW RTA call on the Federal Government to re-open detention centres in Australia and to close down detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru which currently house refugees seeking asylum in Australia.

People who come to our shores seeking our protection should have access to proper legal procedures and be placed so that Australians, in whose name they are illegally imprisoned, will be able to see and judge the conditions of their detention. They must have their applications processed under UNHCR protocols. Furthermore, this would save millions in the costs involved in offshore detention.

Ever-increasing reports of terrible events in these centres are cause for great alarm.

The government is now conducting closely-guarded negotiations to settle people determined to be refugees in Cambodia, one of the poorest countries in the World, with a notoriously corrupt government, willing to accept the millions of dollars Australia will pay to dump people on them, with no ability to provide health and education or employment. This is people trafficking. Australia is becoming an international pariah, prepared to abdicate its humanitarian responsibilities on poverty-stricken neighbours. The NSW RTA believes Australia can do much better.

Allan West is the Secretary, NSW Retired Teachers Association and can be contacted on (02) 9484 5693. The RTA blogsite is

Social news

For more information, contact Allan West or connect to RTA blog or Federation’s website at
Friday June 27: Exhibition at the State Library and concert at St Stephens UC. Meet 10.15am in foyer of the State Library. Contact Margaret on (02) 9150 4003.
Tuesday July 15: Luncheon at the Bowlers Club, 99 York St, Sydney, at noon.

For more information contact Geoff Amos by phone (02) 6922 5108 or email
Tuesday August 19: Visit to the gas-powered electricity station at Uranquinty.

Next meetings

Friday July 11: 12.15pm lunch; 1pm NSW Council for Civil Liberties President Stephen Blanks will speak on ASIO’s absurd powers; 2pm meeting.

For more information, contact Geoff Amos on (02) 6922 5108 or
Tuesday July 15:
at Riverina Regional Office of NSWTF, Weedon Chambers, Gurwood and Trail Sts, Wagga Wagga, 10.45am. Guest speaker, a driving instructor — on updated rules and regulations.

For more information, contact Anne Parnell