Decision Maker

Simon Birmingham

  • Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

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Petitioning Senator Penny Wong, Malcolm Turnbull, Jay Weatherill, Nick Xenophon, Steven Marshall MP, Hon Tony Piccolo, Hon Jack Snelling MP, Hon John Darley, Hon Robert Brokenshire, Hon John Rau MP, Hon Kate E...

Government funding for epilepsy

South Australia and the Northern Territory are the only states in Australia that do not receive Government funding to support children and families living with epilepsy. 63,000 people live with epilepsy in South Australia and 8,000 in the Northern Territory. The Epilepsy Centre continues to provide support and services to those affected funded solely by private donations. Epilepsy can be a devastating condition to manage and the support The Epilepsy Centre provides to the community is an absolute necessity. The suicide rate among youth living with epilepsy is 25% higher than the general population, due to difficulties in securing employment, maintaining friendships and holding a driver’s license. It is a life of uncertainty, confusion, isolation and embarrassment which no one should have to endure. Epilepsy can affect anyone at any age. Epilepsy is not just falling to the ground and shaking. A seizure can kill. The Epilepsy Centre is a professional organisation committed to providing quality services to people living with epilepsy and improving community awareness and attitudes throughout South Australia and the Northern Territory. The team at The Epilepsy Centre have been helping people since for over 40 years and we work continuously to raise awareness of epilepsy in the community to reduce stigma and create a more welcoming and inclusive society. Our key services include: Counselling Advocacy Epilepsy Management Support Care Plan Development NDIS Support Home and Residential Care Visits Employment Support Resources Workshops Clinics Epilepsy Training for Families, Schools and Workplace In hospital Support Collaboration and networking with other agencies Risk Assessments Epilepsy First Aid Training Emergency Medication Training Annual Camps Epilepsy Education for - Schools, Workplaces, Sports Groups, Disability and Support Workers, Community Organisations, Family and Friends The cost of service delivery is incredibly high yet we strive to go above and beyond to supply children and families with necessary medical equipment designed to protect people from their seizures. For over two years The Epilepsy Centre has donated almost 60 Seizure Monitors to children in need. These monitors are placed on the child's bed and can detect movements similar to seizures, which then sounds a loud alarm to alert loved ones. Each seizure monitor costs $1000, which most families can not afford. We have also donated equipment such as Oximeters, life jackets, ice vests, helmets and specially designed wheel chairs. Our mission and vision is to improve in all respects the welfare of people with epilepsy and their families in South Australia and The Northern Territory. We aim to: Educate the public to accept persons with epilepsy as equal citizens and encourage greater public understanding Remove any discrimination from persons with epilepsy and/or their families Advise and help persons with epilepsy, and their families Represent persons with epilepsy in being accepted with education authorities and all employer organisations Promote and provide information on epilepsy by way of pamphlets, advertising, films, articles, discussion and lectures to public and professional groups and the community Support research programmes and seminars into medical and social aspects of epilepsy Government funding would enable us to employ additional full-time nurses, social workers and counsellors to manage the enormous workload. These workers would help reduce hospital admissions, give families and individuals much needed support, train schools and workplaces and help improve community understanding - effectively ending the appalling stigma associated with seizures. It's time to recognise that epilepsy is indeed a Chronic Health Condition and to provide much-needed funding for The Epilepsy Centre. For more information please visit: www.epilepsycentre.org.au or Or like us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/theepilepsycentre/ 

The Epilepsy Centre
11,568 supporters
Petitioning Simon Birmingham

No taxpayer funded $700M religious National School Chaplaincy Programme beyond 2018

Note: The movie above contains an example of a student being water baptised by a Commonwealth funded chaplain, having been been recruited for conversion via a chaplain organised church 'self esteem' programme at a public school. As plaintiff in Williams v Commonwealth I & II, I direct this petition to Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham on behalf of Australian parents, caregivers, and concerned citizens who believe that the nation’s public schools should be completely secular. Furthermore, we consider the presence in public schools of the exclusively religious Commonwealth-funded National School Chaplaincy Programme to be extremely inappropriate, and a blatant breach of the separation of church and state. Although Commonwealth funding for the controversial National School Chaplaincy Programme will cease at the close of 2018, Fairfax reported in March 2018 that Liberal MPs had petitioned Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham to extend the National School Chaplaincy Programme permanently beyond 2018 at an increased cost of $75 million per year. Mr Birmingham, we strongly suggest that more funding be directed toward states and territories to provide an urgently needed boost to the number of professional education department employed social workers, school counsellors, school psychologists, and student guidance staff working tirelessly in our public schools. Since its introduction by John Howard in 2006, the National School Chaplaincy Programme has cost Australian taxpayers almost $700 million. John Howard: $160M, Kevin Rudd: $50M, Julia Gillard: $222M, and Tony Abbott: $244M. The National School Chaplaincy Programme has never demonstrated, or ever been required to demonstrate any measurable outcomes whatsoever. The June 2014 High Court decision in my favour ruled that: “Providing at a school the services of a chaplain or welfare worker for the objective described in the FMA Regulations is not a provision of "benefits to students" within the meaning of s 51(xxiiiA) of the Constitution.” This ruling prohibited direct payment by the commonwealth to religious chaplain employers including Scripture Union, Access ministries, and Generate ministries. However, not to be outdone, In August 2014 the Abbott government announced that the High Court’s June section 51 ruling would be circumvented by laundering prohibited direct commonwealth payments to the church ministry employers of chaplains via individual states and territories. This would be the same constitutionally “of no benefit to students" chaplain programme as before, except for two disturbing points. Commencing in 2015, employment of non-religious secular youth workers would cease. The commonwealth would completely abandon all previous responsibility for administration and oversight of the National School Chaplaincy Program. Consequently, since January 2015, at a cost of $60M per year, the federally funded National School Chaplaincy Program has exclusively employed religious chaplains and can regularly be observed operating as a fully functional evangelical ministry within Australian public schools. The programme has been allowed to operate completely unfettered by state or federal legislation, without any enforceable constraints, disciplinary procedures, or any form of central guidelines, code of conduct, or complaints process. All responsibility for the administration and oversight of this federally funded and conceived religious programme, has been left to Australia’s individual states and territories, each with their own, often ambiguous policies. And here is the problem. Under the post 2014 arrangement, where individual state and territory chaplain complaint processes exist, schools are encouraged to resolve all grievances at school level, suggesting that resolution be sought between the principal and the school’s chaplaincy employer such as Scripture Union or Access ministries. It is almost impossible for complaints to go beyond this closed loop. This was confirmed in April 2018, when the Guardian reported that since the commonwealth abandoned, apart from funding it, all responsibility for the National School Chaplaincy Programme in 2015: No state has kept records of chaplaincy complaints. No state records the faith or denomination of the thousands of federally funded religious chaplains across Australia. Describing how the current National School Chaplaincy Programme would operate, then Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne said on ABC JJJ: “Well, the chaplaincy programme was established under the Howard government as a chaplaincy programme, and Julia Gillard changed it to chaplaincy and social workers or school counsellors. Our view is that school counsellors or social workers should be provided by state and territory governments should they choose to do so, but we want to return the chaplaincy programme to its original intention, which is one that involves a religious element. We think that school counsellors and social workers are properly the responsibility of state governments, and our chaplaincy programme should be exactly what it was supposed to be, which is a chaplaincy programme.” Therefore, if the roles of ‘school counsellor’ and ‘social worker’ are not duties of federally funded religious chaplains, the majority of whom are provided by evangelical church ministry organisations, it could reasonably be concluded that their sole purpose is to be messengers of their faith. Mr Birmingham, as stated above, we strongly suggest that more funding be directed toward states and territories to provide an urgently needed boost to the number of professional *education department-employed social workers, school counsellors, school psychologists, and student guidance staff working tirelessly in our public schools. Surely our children deserve no less.     *Typical mandatory requirements for professional education department employed social workers, school counsellors, psychologists, and student guidance staff: Current full registration or current provisional registration with eligibility for full registration, as a teacher in Queensland.  Information on registration requirements is available at qct.ed.au  A minimum of two (2) years full-time, supervised experience working with children and young people in an education, child protection or counselling environment; AND one of the following: One year (minimum) full-time (or part-time equivalent) coursework Masters, majoring in guidance and counselling. OR Full registration as a psychologist through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) Psychology Board or a fourth year qualification in psychology that will enable general registration as a psychologist through the AHPRA Psychology Board following completion of the board approved internship or accredited sequence of study. 

Ron Williams
7,492 supporters
Petitioning Greg Hunt MP, Simon Birmingham MP, Malcolm Turnbull

Make Scoliosis screening compulsory in all Australian schools

Please join me in encouraging the Health and Education Ministers in introducing mandatory scoliosis screening in schools. My name is Leilah, I am 22 and I suffer from scoliosis. Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine, and has various degrees of severity. It’s a condition that affects approximately 4% of the population, or 1 in every 25 people. Some people can lead normal lives with scoliosis, but others require alternative treatments like bracing, monitoring and in severe cases - surgery (spinal fusion). This condition particularly develops between the ages of 9 and 16, and females are 10 times more likely to develop the condition. School screening should be made mandatory because early detection has been shown to increase the effectiveness of treatment. This would incur only a small cost to train a staff member at each school to be able to carry out the basic "Forward Bend" test. This condition has affected my life significantly. I feel pain and discomfort every day, and I know many others who have pain associated with the condition. I believe that early intervention would have improved my quality of life. I created this petition to raise awareness and ensure that students are educated about this in the early stages. Having mandatory screening in schools is the perfect solution to target scoliosis at a point in time where treatment is most effective. Currently, there is nothing in place that will educate young people about the signs of scoliosis and what to look out for. This is troublesome because if the condition goes undetected, early treatments, such as back bracing, can be deemed ineffective. Once a young person reaches around 15/16 years of age their spine is often judged to have matured too much for bracing. This happened to me. By the time I was aware of the condition and went to see a specialist, I was told that I brace would not help me as I was too old. This highlights why detecting the condition early is so important. Early detection allows the condition to be properly monitored, and for action to be taken fast if the curve is progressing. Severe curve progression can cause lung and heart damage, as the rib cage is displaced. Surgery is more effective in adolescents as the healing time is reduced, alleviating problems they may face later in life. Please join me in encouraging the Health and Education Ministers in introducing mandatory scoliosis screening in schools.

Leilah Daniel
5,143 supporters
Petitioning Scott Morrison, Simon Birmingham, Andrew Colvin.

Keep him locked up

  We need to keep him locked up this is awful news for family  friends and all that helped on the night in 2002  A spiritual leader involved with the terrorist group who orchestrated the 2002 Bali bombings will be released from jail after only serving part of his 15-year jail sentence. Cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has served nine years of a 15-year jail sentence after he was convicted of setting up a paramilitary training camp that had ties to those responsible for the devastating attack on the Sari Nightclub, in the tourist district of Kuta, on October 12, 2002. The three simultaneous bombings killed 202 people, including 88 Australians We haven't had the exact date of his release, but because Bashir badly needs serious health care the release will be carried out no later than next week," he said. Mahendradatta said he wanted Bashir's release to be without any conditions, enabling him to meet supporters and give sermons. However, another Bashir lawyer who is also an adviser to Widodo, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, told Indonesian TV that the cleric accepted conditions and would do nothing except rest and be close to his family. Widodo said Mahendra was among the legal experts he sought advice from. Indonesian authorities identified terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah as the ones responsible for the attack and a number of people including Bashir, who was accused of being the mastermind, were jailed. However, the 80-year-old only spent two years behind bars after his conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2006. In 2011, the spiritual leader was again jailed after it was proven that he was behind the facility those responsible trained at. While in jail, Bashir pledged allegiance to Islamic State as a number of the other behind the attack were executed. In 2018, former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that Australia expected justice to be served to “the full extent of Indonesian law”. “Abu Bakar Bashir should never be allowed to incite others to carry out future attacks against innocent civilians,” it also said. Bashir is expected to be released in the coming days. "Stunned that he is about to be released," said Jan Laczynski, an Australian who lost five friends in the bombing of the Sari Club in Bali and narrowly avoided being at the venue himself. "Truly devastating news as effectively he gets on with his life whilst everyone else suffers from seeing him walk out of jail," he said. © Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019

kerry ould
2,586 supporters
Petitioning Simon Birmingham, Attorney General, Chief Minister Andrew Barr

Stop teachers bullying students and child abuse

My Autistic son was emotionally and physically abused by a NSW special needs teacher. Ending in a visit to the emergency room. Like so many other families. Education department refuse to intervene. In fact she now has permanant job there. My son hasn't attended school since August 11 2016. I found stories of children locked in cages, physically abused, emotionally abused, left outside outside in isolation.  I kept complaining after my Autistic son had to be taken to hospital. Police refused to listen they refuse believe teacher capable of abuse. Instead after I again complained she applied intervention order. My beautiful boy was locked up and now faces charges. At court she asked Avo be varied to he can't attend school, his not to go within 20 metres of her. He won't even leave our house or go outside. You can sign my other petition calling attorney general to drop charges here  https://www.change.org/p/my-child-abuser-had-my-son-charged-help-me-help-my-son-with-his-injustice I am calling for harsher penalties for child abusers.  More powers for human rights commission to investigate and punish those doing the wrong thing. At the moment they are powerless to intervene.  Education department stop transferring these abusers around the state. And remove them from having any contact with children.  I am calling for chief minister Andrew Barr to hold up his promise to stop cover up of child abuse.  Please sign and show our government we do not support child abuse in any form 

Autism parents against abuse
1,265 supporters
Petitioning Fijian Government, Avikaar Kumar, Department of Enviorment Fiji Islands, Frank Bainimarama, Jioji Konrote, Mahendra Reddy, Scott Morrison, Simon Birmingham, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade ...

Stop Destroying Fiji

HELP STOP FREESOUL REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT FROM DESTROYING THE FIJIAN REEF READ THE ARTICLE BELOW >>ARTICLE LINK<< Fiji is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Holding 330+ Islands, I’m actually very upset! I’m not only upset because Fiji is my home, but for the people living in the area! By not even getting legal approval from the Fijian government. Obviously without consent, a Chinese real estate company decides to remove  and rip out a parts of the Fijian Reef disturbing traditional fishes and disturbing land owners. To briefly explain this petition. My goal is to get as many names as possible on here to stop Freesoul Real Estate Development from destroying anymore of the Fijian Barrier and Reef. So far they have destroy almost above 5000 Sqm of dredging and and smashing of the Fijian Reef located in Malolo Island in Western Fiji. to build a boat channel of the beach and reef the Chinese development company Freesoul didn't have rights over. illegal reclamation of foreshore and beach access, destabilization of hillsides after stripping of vegetation, subsequent illegal dumping of dead reef on protected sea grass and so much more has been done without LEGAL APPROVAL. No lease. NOTHING.  Being born and raised in Fiji till the age of 9 before moving to Australia. I spent 9 massive and important years of my life growing up in Fiji. Fiji is the most beautiful place in this entire world, from its people, to its environment, to its food and water. Fiji is known worldwide because its one of the top leading tourism places and holiday destinations because its so raw and original compared to other destinations of its time. Now I do understand the needs and wants about having amazing hotels. But when it is done unethically without going through the right channels and gaining the right approvals. Its a massive NO from me. i know I'm not a massive politician or anything like that. I'm just a 20 year old boy who is seeing his home being destroyed just for the sake of building "Fiji's largest hotel and first ever casino". There is no need to destroy the barrier and reef of Fiji which holds vital traditional sea and land wildlife, vegetation that cannot be found anywhere else and most important the people of Fiji. The Fijian's who live in the area are disturbed by this and are against this. Fiji doesn't need to be uprooted and smashed or even shanked to build something like this. This is why I'm here making this petition. From the bottom of my heart, I am asking for everyones help. Please help. You name on this petition can make a massive difference.  

Avikaar Kumar
307 supporters