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Why PM Julia Gillard Must Go: 66,000 Preventable Australian Deaths Annually

By Dr Gideon Polya

21 February, 2012
Countercurrents.org

The bottom line consideration in relation to the success or otherwise of any administration is preventable death. If a Federal Australian Administration presides over an unacceptable level of preventable Australian deaths then  that Administration should be urgently replaced. Catalogued below are documented details of 66,000 preventable Australian deaths occurring each year in one of the World's richest countries under the Gillard Labor Government – from which it follows that Julia Gillard should be urgently replaced as PM of Australia.

It should be noted that there is overlap in some of the categories (e.g. road deaths and alcohol-related deaths) and in some cases major efforts are being made to reduce the carnage (e.g. road deaths, hospital risk management).  In some major categories rapid, requisite  reaction would only bring long-term benefit (e.g. in relation to smoking, alcohol and obesity) but Federal Administrations have had over 110 years to take effective action. In all cases listed below effective actions are required but are not being taken.

 A useful comparison can be made between 66,000 preventable deaths annually in Australia versus the 4 terrorism-related deaths of Australians within Australia over the last 40 years (1 committed by an anti-abortion fanatic and the remaining  3 occurred in the 1978 Hilton Bombing that much evidence suggests may have been  due to Australian Intelligence itself; see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Hilton_bombing ). Yet since the 9-11 atrocity that killed 3,000 people but which many experts believe involved the US Government itself (see “Experts: US did 9-11”: https://sites.google.com/site/expertsusdid911/home ),   Australia has spent $27 billion on ostensible anti-terrorism measures (see Tom Hyland, “Australia's bill: $27b and counting”, Sydney Morning Herald, 11 September 2011: http://www.smh.com.au/national/australias-bill-27b-and-counting-20110910-1k32c.html  ). However this has been associated with 2.7 million Iraqi deaths, 5.6 million Afghan deaths(see “Muslim Holocaust, Muslim Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/muslimholocaustmuslimgenocide/ ),  32 Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan  (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coalition_casualties_in_Afghanistan )  and, as detailed below, 3,700 Australian opiate drug-related deaths (and 1.4 million deaths world-wide) linked to the US Alliance restoration of the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry.

Estimates of annual Australian preventable deaths under the Gillard Labor Government.  

1. 18,000 annual Australian deaths from adverse hospital events.

According to the Australian Nurses Federation (see: Australian Nurses Federation “Safe staffing saves lives”, May 2006: http://www.anf.org.au/html/professional/news_prof_0605.html ) “ In Australia it is estimated that deaths from adverse events in the nation's hospitals are around 18,000 deaths per year. ”

Clearly better risk management and staffing would reduce this huge loss of life.

2. 15,500 smoking-related Australian deaths annually.

Annual smoking-related deaths in Australia totalled  15,511 in 2003 (see: Cancer Council NSW, “Smoking in Australia – Statistics”: http://svc013.wic047p.server-web.com/editorial.asp?pageid=371  ).

Smoking should ideally be banned nationwide. 20% of Indigenous Australians have  diabetes and 50% of Indigenous adults smoke, this being a deadly combination. If smoking cannot be banned nation-wide it should be certainly be banned in areas of high Indigenous population (the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia , northern South Australia and northern Queensland ).

3. 10,000 carbon burning pollution-derived Australian deaths annually.

From Canadian and New Zealand epidemiological  data one  can estimate that currently Australian deaths from pollutants from the burning  of carbonaceous materials currently total 9,646 or about 10,000 annually, the breakdown being 4,600 (coal–fired power stations), 2,200 (vehicle particulate emissions) and 2,800 (particulates from other burning) (see: 2011. Australian carbon burning-related  deaths and carbon burning subsidies =>  minimum Carbon Price of  A$554 per tonne carbon”, Yarra Valley Climate Action Group, 2011: https://sites.google.com/site/yarravalleyclimateactiongroup/2011-carbon-burning ;  G.W. Fisher et al., “Health effects due to moor vehicle pollution in New Zealand”, Report to NZ Government, 20 January 2002: http://www.transport.govt.nz/research/Documents/health-effects-of-vehicle-emissions.pdf and Paul Gipe, “Ontario study identifies social costs of coal-fired power plants”, EV World, : http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=8836 ).

One of the first acts of Julia Gillard as PM in 2010 was to approve huge exports of dried brown coal from Victoria and one of her most recent acts has been to approve continuation of a $100 million Federal subsidy for HRL's  proposed  dirty coal-based power station in Victpria. The Carbon Tax-Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) of the pro-coal, pro-gas Gillard Labor Government is an environmental  disaster. Apart from the fact that it violated a clear election promise, the Carbon Tax-ETS is a massive deception. Treasury modelling in its 2011 "Strong Growth, Low Pollution" Report estimated that under the Carbon Tax-ETS Australia's Domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution would rise  from 578 million tonnes CO2-e in 2010 to 621 million tonnes CO2-e in 2020. Indeed Australia's Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution in  millions of tonnes of CO2-e will rise under the Carbon Tax-ETS from 1,077 in 2000 to 1,799 in 2020 (a 1.7-fold increase over that in 2000) and to 4,490 in 2050 (a 4.2-fold increase over that in 2000) (see "2011 Climate Change Course": https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/2011-climate-change-course ). Tackling climate change means decreasing not increasing GHG pollution but. the pro-coal, pro-gas, carbon burning-subsidizing  Gillard Labor Government is deceiving the public yet again - it has every intention of increasing Australia's already huge greenhouse gas pollution. Current Australian subsidies for fossil fuel burning total $12 billion annually (see Australian Conservation Foundation, “ Australia spends $11 billion more encouraging pollution than cleaning it up”, 1 March 2011: http://acfonline.org.au/articles/news.asp?news_id=3308 ) .

In 2009, the WBGU which advises the German Government on climate change estimated that for a 75% chance of avoiding a 2C temperature rise (EU policy) the World can emit no more than 600 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) between 2010 and zero emissions in 2050. Australia 's share of  this terminal GHG pollution budget is 600,000  million tonnes CO2  x 22 million/7,000 million = 1,885 million tonnes  CO2.  At Australia's current rate of Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution of 1,415 million tonnes of CO2-e (2010; see "2011 Climate Change Course"), Australia had 1,885/1,415 = 1.3 years to achieve zero emissions i.e. Australia had used up its fair share of the terminal pollution budget by about mid-2011 and is now stealing the entitlement of impoverished countries such as Bangladesh and Somalia (see "Shocking analysis by country of years left to zero emissions", Green Blog, 1 August 2011: http://www.green-blog.org/2011/08/01/shocking-analysis-by-country-of-years-left-to-zero-emissions/ ). Unaddressed man-made climate change is predicted to kill about 10 billion people this century (see “Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ ).

4. 9.000 avoidable Indigenous Australian deaths annually.

The avoidable death rate of Indigenous Australians is 1.8% which means that each year 9,000 Indigenous Australians die avoidably out of an Indigenous  population of 0.5 million (see “Aboriginal Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/aboriginalgenocide/ and Thomson, N., Burns, J., Burrow, S & Kirov, E. (2004), Overview of indigenous health 2004.   http://archive.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/html/html_bulletin/bull_44/reviews/thomson/reviews_thomson_1.htm ) . The “annual death rate” (2003 figures) is 2.2% (for Aboriginal Australians) and 2.4% (for Aboriginal Australians in the Northern Territory ) – as compared to 2.5% (for pre-drought sheep in paddocks of Australian sheep farms), 1.7% (for non-Arab Africa )  and 0.7% (for White Australians) (see “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com.au/ ). This is happening in one of the richest countries of the world because of deliberate neglect – Australian Aboriginal health services are funded at 30-50% of what they should be; many Australian Aborigines live in Third World conditions; the “annual under-5 infant death rate” is over 3 times higher for Aborigines than that for White Australians; 1 in 5 Australian Aborigines have diabetes (mostly type 2 diabetes) which has huge attendant problems such as cardiovascular complications, kidney problems and blindness;  and the Australian Aboriginal life expectancy is about 17 years less than that for White Australians.

Australian Aborigines suffered Genocide at the hands of the European invaders in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Indigenous population dropped from about 1 million to 0.1 million in the first century after the invasion in 1788, mainly through violence, dispossession, deprivation and introduced disease. The last massacres of Aborigines occurred in the 1920s. Throughout much of the 20th century there was a policy of forcibly removing Aboriginal children from their mothers, a systematic genocidal policy involving the removal of perhaps 0.1 million children. This practice ended in the 1970s. However the continued deliberate deprivation of Aboriginal Australians amounts to a White Australian policy of passive Aboriginal genocide. Indeed Monash University diabetologist Professor  Paul Zimmet stated recently in relation to the world-wide diabetes epidemic "If we don't do something, there is a real chance that Australia 's indigenous community will be wiped out by the end of the century. The world needs to act now if we're to deal with this problem, which threatens to consume world economies and bankrupt health systems. We are dealing with the biggest epidemic in world history" (see Jill Stark, “Diabetes “threatens to wipe out Aborigines”, The Age, 13 November 2006: http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/diabetes-could-wipe-out-aborigines/2006/11/12/1163266413553.html ).

Indigenous Health is funded per capita at about the same as for White Australians (US$3,282 per capita per year ) but is 2- to 3-fold underfunded because of much greater Indigenous health needs expenses i.e. the current annual funding of about $1.5 billion needs to increase by about $2 billion to $4.5 billion.

5. 6,000 obesity-related Australian deaths annually.

Obesity-related annual Australian deaths total about 6,000 (see “ Australia 's future fat bomb”, Baker Heart Research  Institute, 2008:  http://www.bakeridi.edu.au/Assets/Files/fatBomb_report.pdf .

Health experts have recommended a variety of initiatives to deal with the problem including education, better nutrition, encouragement of sport and walking (e.g. to school) (see “Obesity-related deaths rising”, The Age, 17 May 2004: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/05/17/1084646129916.html ).

6. 3,000 Australians die alcohol-related deaths annually.

There are 3,000 alcohol-related deaths annually in Australia (2005 data) (Department of Health and Ageing, Australian Government: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/drinkingnightmare/publishing.nsf/Content/about-the-campaign ).

It would be unrealistic to propose banning of alcohol nationwide. However in view of devastating Aboriginal health problems it should be certainly be banned in areas of high Indigenous population (the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia , northern South Australia and northern Queensland with special exemptions for defined tourist enterprises.

7. 2,100 Australian suicides annually.

There are 2,130 suicides annually in Australia (see Australian Bureau of Statistics, Causes of death Australia 2009: http://abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/B6940E9BF2695EE1CA25788400127B0A?opendocument ).

Mental health in Australia is grossly underfunded. In the US (population 314 million), of 30,000 suicides annually about 6,000 are of US veterans. Australia should cease participation in racist and genocidal   US wars. Thus post-1950 US Asian wars, in all of which Australia has participated, have so far been associated with violent deaths and avoidable deaths from war-imposed deprivation totalling 36 million (see Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com.au/ and Gideon Polya, “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History”: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com.au/ ).

8. 1,400 Australian road deaths annually

Australian road deaths in 2009  involving vehicle drivers, vehicle passengers, pedestrians, motor bikes and bicycles totalled 1,417 (2009) (see: “Road deaths Australia, 2008 Statistical summary”, Australian Government, 2009: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety/publications/2009/pdf/rsr_04.pdf ; Australian Bureau of Statistics, Causes of death Australia 2009: http://abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/B6940E9BF2695EE1CA25788400127B0A?opendocument ).

Global warming as well as pollution and road safety considerations dictate a rapid shift to sensible and sophisticated public transport powered by renewable energy, with the phasing out of the private vehicle. Note that annual Australian deaths from vehicle exhaust pollutants total about 2,2 00 annually (see section #3 above), much greater than the death toll from vehicle accidents.

9. 360 Australian opiate drug-related deaths annually due to US restoration of the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry.

The US Alliance restored the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry from about 6% of world market share in 2001 to 93% in 2007 (see UNODC World Drug Report 2007: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/WDR-2007.html and World Drug Report 2009: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/WDR-2009.html   and World Drug Report , Opium/heroin market, 2009: http://www.unodc.org/documents/wdr/WDR_2009/WDR2009_Opium_Heroin_Market.pdf ). According to the WHO (WHO, “Global health risks: mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks”, 2009: http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/GlobalHealthRisks_report_full.pdf  and UNODC, “Overview of global and regional drugs trends and patterns”, 2011: http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/WDR2011/Global_and_regional_overview.pdf ) there were 245,000 deaths attributed to illicit drug use world-wide in 2004, which includes deaths related to heroin, and cocaine use , and deaths from HIV-1/AIDS, hepatitis B and C resulting from illicit drug use. If 60% of these deaths are opiate drug-related then such deaths total 147,000 annually.  This corresponds to 147,000 x 0.9 x 10.3 = 1.4 million opiate drug deaths world-wide due to   US Alliance -restored and US Alliance-protected Afghan opium industry. It can be estimated that there are about 398 opiate-related deaths annually in Australia (see NSW Health, “Deaths from opiates, psychostimulants and benzodiazepines”: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/publichealth/chorep/beh/beh_illidth.asp ), of which about 90% (359) are due to the US-responsible Occupied Afghan contribution to the world heroin market i.e. 359 x 10.3 years = 3,698 opiate-related deaths in the 10.3 years since the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001. The Australian Government has fatuously obfuscated this in detailed communication to me by saying that technically most of Australia 's heroin actually comes from places other than Afghanistan ).

Australia should leave Afghanistan immediately. Australia under PM Kevin Rudd urged US Alliance destruction of Afghan opium poppy crops but this was rejected by the US and other countries of the US-NATO Alliance.

10. 300 Australian homicides annually.

The current Australian annual homicide rate is 1.3  homicides per 100.000 of population (2008) this meaning   13 per million x 22.8 million  = 296 homicides annually (see  “Homicide in Australia: 2007-08 national homicide monitoring  program annual report”, Australian Institute of Criminology: http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/mr/1-20/13.aspx ) . However it should be noted that items 1 to 9 above can be seen to involve a huge number of Australian deaths annually through reckless disregard of Australian lives by Liberal–National Party and Labor (i.e. Lib-Lab) governments. Australia 's homicide rate of about 13 per million per year is very low in comparison  with that of other countries (e.g. 473 homicides per million of population in Detroit , Michigan , USA ). However if the definition of homicide is expanded to include deaths through war and imposed deprivation then consider the following: t he actual number of Israelis killed by Gaza rockets and mortars since the start of the Second Intifada is about  twenty eight (28), this corresponding to an “annual homicide rate” in units of “persons killed  per million per year” of 0.5 (Israelis killed by Gaza missiles) as compared to 0.25 (Western civilians assertedly killed by Muslim-origin non-state terrorists), 0.5 (rapist Australian husbands murdered by raped wives), 1.0 (Australian violent husbands murdered by battered wives), 14 (Australians dying from opiates linked to US Alliance restoration of the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry), 15 (Israelis murdered by Israelis), 43 (female Australian suicide),  48 (Americans murdered by Americans), 80 (Australian road fatalities), 100 (Americans killed by guns), 164 (Palestinians killed violently by Israelis), 164 (Australian male suicides), 172 (Australian alcohol-related deaths), 200 (African-Americans murdered), 473 (citizens of Detroit, Michigan, USA), 233 (Australians from coal burning-based power pollutants), 257 (Australians from fossil fuel-based power pollutants), 790 (Australian smoking-related deaths), 902 per million per year  (annual Palestinian non-violent deaths through war criminal, Geneva Convention-violating, Israeli-imposed deprivation), 2,600 (mainly non-European World excess deaths i.e. avoidable deaths, these being overwhelmingly from deprivation), 4,000 (Occupied Iraq excess deaths), 15,000 (Occupied Afghanistan excess deaths), 18,000 (Indigenous Australian excess deaths), 20,000 (Indigenous Australian excess deaths in the Northern Territory), 22,000 (Indigenous Australian deaths) and 24,000 (Indigenous Australian deaths in the Northern Territory).

There   must be major action on domestic violence including sexual abuse of children. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology: “In general, most homicide incidents in 2007–08 were domestic homicides involving one or more victims who shared a family or domestic relationship with the offender. Intimate partner homicides comprised the largest proportion of domestic homicides (60%). A large proportion  homicides involve perpetrators and victims who are acquaintances and family members” (see  “Homicide in Australia : 2007-08 national homicide monitoring  program annual report”, Australian Institute of Criminology: http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/mr/1-20/13.aspx ) . Domestic violence occurs at a very high level  in Australia – thus in an Australian  survey , 23% of  women who had ever been married or had been in a de facto in a relationship had experienced violence by a partner and 42% of women who had been in a previous relationship reported violence by a previous partner (see Jane Mulroney, “Australian statistics on domestic violence”: http://www.adfvc.unsw.edu.au/PDF%20files/Statistics_final.pdf ). The Australian “Little Children are Sacred” Report into abuses in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory states that “it is not possible to accurately estimate the extent of child sexual abuse in the Northern Territory” and the only quantitative  estimate offered in the Report is that “70% of all female Aboriginal prisoners in New South Wales jails had suffered sexual abuse as Children” (Report, p5). Importantly, the Report refers to studies in America indicating that 25% of females and 10% of males experience childhood sexual abuse (Finkelhor, D.  (1994), Current information on the scope and nature of child sexual abuse”, Future of Children, 4(2), pp31-53) and in Australia indicating that 34% of females and 16% of males experienced non-penetrative abuse with 12% females and 4% of males reporting penetrative child sexual abuse (Dunne, M.P., Purdie, D.M., Cook, M.D., Boyle, F.M. & Najman, J.M.(2003), Is child sexual abuse declining? Evidence from a population-based survey of men and women in Australia , Child Abuse & Neglect, vol. 27 (2), pp141-152) (see “ Aboriginal genocide. Racist White Australian Child Abuse & Passive Mass Murder ”: https://sites.google.com/site/aboriginalgenocide/aboriginal-genocide ). .

Comparisons and conclusions.

Australia has been a slavish lackey of the US under successive Lib-Lab Governments but, Indigenous Australians aside,  is a more equitable and less violent society than the US . The US is among the richest countries on earth but an estimated 1 million Americans die preventable deaths each year due to gross fiscal perversion whereby trillions of dollars are spent on the military, wars and killing people abroad rather than on keeping Americans alive at home (see Gideon Polya "One Million Americans Die Preventably Annually In USA", Countercurrents, 18 February 2012: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya180212.htm ). The neocon- and Zionist-dominated US  Establishment 1% responsible for this passive mass murder of 1 million Americans each year should be  exposed and sidelined  by the long-suffering 99% of ordinary Americans. For those who love ordinary Americans and have been inspired by great American humanitarians, here are  some truly shocking figures of annual preventable deaths in the US (there are some overlaps and tackling obesity, alcohol and smoking has long-term benefits - but successive capitalist administrations have ignored the problems for a century): 31,000 (gun deaths), 21,000 (infant deaths), 45,000 (deaths from lack of health cover), 21,000 (opiate deaths due to US restoration of the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry), 33,000 (vehicle deaths),  70,000 (air pollution deaths), 75,000 (alcohol-related deaths), 443,000 (smoking-related deaths, 49,000 from passive smoking), 30,000 (suicides, 6,000 being US veterans), 300,000 (obesity-related deaths), and 15,000 (homicides). Compare this annual carnage of 1 million dead Americans in neocon- and Zionist-run, neo-fascist,  corporatist America  with the 3,000 dead in the 9-11 atrocity that almost certainly involved the US with likely Apartheid Israeli complicity (see  "Experts: US did 9-11": https://sites.google.com/site/expertsusdid911/home ) and 9 million Muslims killed post-9-11 in the US Alliance War on Terror (see "Muslim Holocaust , Muslim Genocide": https://sites.google.com/site/muslimholocaustmuslimgenocide/ ).

Pro-war, pro-coal, pro-gas, pro-US imperialism, pro-Zionist Julia Gillard is the PM of an Australia in which, as catalogued above, 66,000 Australians die preventably each year. Due to a catastrophic decline in electoral support for Labor (now only about 30%) there is currently great speculation about a possible comeback of former Labor PM Kevin Rudd who was removed in favour of Julia Gillard in a US-backed, Zionist-backed, foreign mining company-backed and pro-Zionist-led Coup in June 2010. A fundamental  consideration in relation to the success or otherwise of any government  is preventable death. If a Federal Australian Administration presides over an unacceptable level of preventable Australian deaths then that Administration should be urgently replaced. Catalogued  above  are documented details of 66,000 preventable Australian deaths occurring each year under the Gillard Labor Government in Australia , one of the World's richest countries.. It follows that PM Julia Gillard has failed and should be urgently replaced as PM of Australia .

Dr Gideon Polya has been teaching science students at a major Australian university for 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ); see also his contributions “Australian complicity in Iraq mass mortality” in “Lies, Deep Fries & Statistics” (edited by Robyn Williams, ABC Books, Sydney, 2007): http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/stories/s1445960.htm ) and “Ongoing Palestinian Genocide” in “The Plight of the Palestinians (edited by William Cook, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2010: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/4047-the-plight-of-the-palestinians.html ). He has published a revised and updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (see: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ ) as biofuel-, globalization- and climate-driven global food price increases threaten a greater famine catastrophe than the man-made famine in British-ruled India that killed 6-7 million Indians in the “forgotten” World War 2 Bengal Famine (see recent BBC broadcast involving Dr Polya, Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen and others: http://www.open2.net/thingsweforgot/ bengalfamine_programme.html ). When words fail one can say it in pictures - for images of Gideon Polya's huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideonpolya/ .

 



 


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