Monthly Archives: June 2019

Whistleblowers at CSIRO forced out and ‘bullying rife’

Gone … Maarten Stapper.TWO of three CSIRO employees who blew the whistle on alleged ”criminal or civil breaches of the law” by the scientific organisation were later made redundant, it has been revealed.
Nanjing Night Net

But those officials who were the subject of the complaints remain employed, the CSIRO has confirmed.

The details have emerged after a group of former CSIRO employees began a campaign for a change in culture at the science agency, alleging mismanagement and bullying are rife.

Last Thursday, a parliamentary inquiry examining workplace bullying in Commonwealth agencies published the group’s submission. It claims the group is aware of 60 cases involving top-flight scientists and other officials who were bullied or otherwise forced out of the organisation.

This list has names on it such as Maarten Stapper, a soil scientist allegedly pushed out because of his criticism of genetically modified crops, globally recognised oceanographer Trevor McDougall, and award-winning entomologist Sylwester Chyb, who has begun litigation against the CSIRO for misleading conduct and unlawful termination.

The CSIRO has declined to respond to the allegations, but the group says some of those forced out had tried to report misconduct or maladministration. Among the group’s recommendations is improved protection for whistleblowers.

”Current whistleblower legislation does not adequately protect from persecution those making public interest declarations,” the document says. ”This is particularly true in circumstances in which it is hard to identify a direct link between a whistleblower complaint and subsequent, seemingly unrelated adverse action against the employee in his or her workplace.”

The organisation is also grappling with a spike in the damages it has had to pay as a result of occupational health and safety claims made to the Commonwealth OH&S regulator and insurer, Comcare. The increased costs of the claims has meant that the premiums Comcare charges the CSIRO have nearly tripled from $1.9 million in 2011-12 to $4.9 million this financial year.

”The CSIRO has consistently achieved lower than average claim frequency and claim cost but has had an upward trend in the average cost of its claims,” a Comcare spokesman, Russ Street, said.

At a budget estimates hearing in May, the Tasmanian senator David Bushby asked the CSIRO about its handling of whistleblower complaints and those who made them. In answers provided last month, the organisation confirmed two complaints were lodged in 2010 and one in 2008, all of which made serious allegations about unlawful activity.

But while the CSIRO did not retrench any of those against whom allegations were made, it did retrench the complainants.

”One CSIRO employee, who had lodged a whistleblower complaint on March 10, 2008, was made redundant on August 23, 2010, as there was an insufficient volume of current and projected work to sustain the position,” the CSIRO said.

”A second employee, who lodged a whistleblower complaint on February 23, 2010, was made redundant on September 4, 2011 as CSIRO no longer required the job be performed by anyone because of changes in the operational requirements of CSIRO’s enterprise.”

A CSIRO spokesman, Huw Morgan, declined to describe the nature of the allegations made by the whistleblowers, saying it could help reveal their identities.

Do you know more?

[email protected]南京夜网.au

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Older mothers take a bow: study finds your children get better start

Helen Perks with four-year-old Eva and her seven-year-old Max.HELEN PERKS has heard all the negatives about being an older mother. But she isn’t buying them.
Nanjing Night Net

”Some people say you’re going to be old and exhausted, but it works in the opposite way,” said Ms Perks, a web designer who had her first child, Max, when she was 40, and her second, Eva, when she was 43.

”In fact, it encourages you. You think, ”Well, I’m going to be older when I have my kids, so I have to keep myself healthy’.”

According to a major study, the children of older mothers are getting a better start in life in a variety of ways.

The British study said children born to women over 40 benefited from improved health and language development up to the age of five. It also found increasing maternal age was associated with children having fewer hospital admissions and accidents, a higher likelihood of having their immunisations by the time they were nine months old and fewer social and emotional difficulties.

Older mothers tend to be more educated, have higher incomes and be married – all factors associated with greater child wellbeing, said the study from University College London’s Institute of Child Health, which looked at data covering more than 78,000 children, and was published in the British Medical Journal.

In Australia, 4 per cent of the almost 300,000 women who gave birth in 2009 were aged 40-plus. Gino Pecoraro, a spokesman for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said older mothers tended to be more established, educated, mature and financially settled, helping with language development and the potentially improved supervision of children.

”At least, for a change, the headlines are pointing out something good about being older as it is usually all so dismal,” said Hannah Dahlen, the associate professor of midwifery at the University of Western Sydney and national spokeswoman for the Australian College of Midwives.

Ms Dahlen gave birth to her daughter a few weeks before her 40th birthday.

”It is well known that this phenomenon exists with children born to older mothers but most of the association is due to higher education and social advantage,” she said.

”The higher educated a mother in particular is the more financially stable she is and the more likely you will see children with better linguistic skills.”

Ms Perks said she was a more grounded person in her 40s than earlier in her life.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Turnover, new leaves

Cuts the mustard … Tony Mann nurtures rare herbs at Petite Bouche in Ingleside.To everything there is a season. When June Henman sold the Salad Farm in 2010, her abundant crop of leaves entered its winter. It had been a thriving supplier of rare and decorative leaf varieties to some of the best restaurants in Sydney, but under the new owners, the property fell into disrepair. The plants died.
Nanjing Night Net

Then, in September last year, Tony Mann, a Flemington Markets salad agent, bought the Ingleside farm, near Mona Vale, and renamed it Petite Bouche. Now, in spring, a lush carpet of herbs thrives beneath the greenhouse canopy, Henman has come back as an adviser and chefs are once more clamouring for produce.

”I wanted to create something different,” Mann says. ”A lot of the chefs are going to the market now a lot more than they used to. It’s about producing something new.”

Petite Bouche is a dedicated herb farm, with exotic seeds imported from around the world. Many of them are not grown anywhere else in Australia, and they are treated delicately, grown hydroponically using recycled rainwater and harvested with hairdresser scissors. Wandering down the rows on a sunny morning, Mann and Henman fall upon each of their treasures with naked pleasure.

”This is my baby,” Mann says, pointing to an ice plant, which is named for the illusion of frost on its succulent leaves. ”We didn’t know if we could do it, we didn’t know if it would germinate. We put some samples into the market and the chefs are like, ‘Oh my god, this is something else.”’

Stridolo, also known as ”the forager’s herb”, is a wild Italian herb with a flavour as meaty as mushrooms. ”It’s just completely alien, isn’t it?” Mann says.

Land seaweed, or okahijiki, grows in Japanese marshlands and looks like skinny worms. The texture is crunchy.

Borage – ”the herb of gladness” – dates from the 1400s and was used to flavour ales. Henman likens the flavour to oysters.

Mustard plants grow in England and France, and to eat them is to experience the odd sensation of munching a table condiment. ”There are just so many different types of mustard, and we’re the only ones doing it,” Mann says.

The prize for the herb least likely goes to the sweet cicely, known more exotically as myrrh, which grows wild in England. With growing conditions at odds to its natural environment, Mann and Henman had no idea whether it would germinate on Sydney’s northern beaches, but they decided to try.

Their success rate for germinating untried herbs is about 70 per cent, but they start with low expectations. ”We kind of, like, don’t expect it to happen,” Mann says. ”It’s very much pot luck.”

Once the sweet cicely seeds arrived, Mann and Henmann planted them in soil and put them in a freezer set at minus 6 degrees. After a few weeks, they brought the temperature up to zero , then plunged it back to minus 6, then finally brought it up to 4 degrees.

To their surprise, the seeds started to shoot. ”When we saw the sweet cicely come up, we were blown away,” Mann says.

O Bar and Dining (formerly the Summit), Est, Quay and Oscillate Wildly are among the restaurants that use herbs from Petite Bouche.

While most of his customers are providores, Mann has noticed more chefs at the markets and buying direct, possibly as a result of difficult economic conditions.

He alerts them to the latest produce via Twitter. A recent post reads: ”Chinese flowering greens, tiny yellow flowers, sweet choy sum flavour, available at the market tomorrow.”

Mann and Henman bring complementary skill sets to the business. Henman is the green thumb. She reads seed catalogues like novels and is emotionally invested in the farm. When she saw its state of disrepair before Mann bought it, she nearly cried.

When the sweet cicely germinated, they cracked open the chardonnay. Mann is a former chef, and spends months putting together salad mixes.

The owner and chef of O Bar and Dining, Michael Moore, is often asked where he sources his herbs, particularly after using them on television shows.

Petite Bouche has been a boon to chefs looking for unique herbs of a consistently good quality, he says.

”They’re gorgeous, they look fantastic and it really adds to that element of freshness.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Greedy for the truth

Miraculous … Carluccio recommends toast with anchovies in green sauce to sate a salty craving.In Antonio Carluccio’s memoir you can hear the gruff voice of that larger-than-life quintessential Italian you’ll know from television. But you’ll also discover a lifetime of recurring depression and attempts at suicide. This is a man for whom outward bonhomie has hidden a terrible underlying despair.
Nanjing Night Net

In conversation with Carluccio, he lets that low voice run on, answering questions as directly and fully as you could hope, so you get a sense of the man who loves people and communication. He says he has come to terms with the difficult parts of his life. So much so he has finally come clean on a crisis that made newspaper headlines four years ago when an injury to his chest (he stabbed himself with scissors) was announced as a kitchen accident. It was, in fact, one of at least four suicide attempts he recounts, since he took an overdose of sleeping pills as his first marriage fell apart in the mid-1970s.

Yes, Carluccio agrees, it takes courage to lay bare this part of his life, but he feels settled enough now to say it happened. The crisis with the scissors, he says, was ”the result of the moment”, the break-up of a relationship sparking a whisky-fuelled moment of madness.

As we speak, Carluccio is in the garden of his cul-de-sac home in London, where he says the day is a bit murky, but the garden is quiet and he is battling with squirrels for peaches. ”I try to defend the peaches with all my guts but I lose the battle,” he says. ”I know the right one is to share with nature but I am fed up with it.”

Writing his memoir has helped him understand his life, he says. And it’s all there for the reading – well, most of it. ”Absolutely what I wanted to achieve was to write the real thing, and there are some few bits and pieces that I didn’t enlarge or go in deep, for example, my relationship with the Conran family [Carluccio married Priscilla Conran, sister of Terence Conran, a big name in design and architecture]. Anyway, I did another version.” This second version is an oral history, where Carluccio recorded hours of interviews, now in the British Library with a stipulation they not be made available for 20 years. ”If somebody wants to know more of the nitty-gritty they can know it, but in 20 years’ time,” he says with a small chuckle.

One of the striking things about Carluccio’s memoir (among many, including the number of women in his life, the ease with which he fell in love and the inevitable collapse of the relationships, although eventually he settled into a 28-year marriage to Priscilla, from whom he split in 2008) is the circuitous route he took to a career in food.

After moving to London in 1975, he had to find work (he got a job selling Tuscan wine) and learn a difficult language, and he attributes a heart attack at 38 to the stress of it. By this time also, Carluccio had had his first depressive crisis in which he took an overdose of sleeping pills.

”My sadness has often played out in self-destructive ways as it’s not in my nature to inflict how I am feeling on others,” he writes. ”Indeed, I would go to great lengths, often at my most distressed, to keep how I was feeling from those around me, telling jokes and playing the convivial host when I felt quite desperate inside.”

He traces this sadness partly to the death of his younger brother in 1960. He was closest to his brother Enrico, whom he looked after.

”Of all my siblings, I found him the most similar in temperament to myself. He was a little quieter than the others … but with a strong imagination and sense of adventure, an urge to fly away and discover new places.”

When Enrico drowned while swimming at age 13, Carluccio says his heart was ”cauterised with grief”. Enrico’s death isolated members of the family. His mother seemed to ”collapse in on herself as if her life, too, were over”, and soon after, she turned to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, as did his sister, a conversion that apparently still rankles with Carluccio.

The day after his brother’s death, Carluccio bought a bunch of parsley and a kilogram of salted anchovies and set about the methodical task of rinsing and filleting the anchovies for bagna cauda, or salsa verde. He describes this as ”perhaps the first time I remember actively turning to the preparation of food in an effort to create some sort of meaning and purpose in my life when otherwise there was none”.

In London, Carluccio moved in restaurant circles, through his work selling wine and collecting mushrooms, and through brother-in-law Terence Conran, who owned the Neal Street Restaurant. He was encouraged to enter a newspaper cooking competition, and made it to the final. Conran asked him to manage the Neal Street Restaurant in 1981, and ”everything came together, and my professional career started 25 years ago”, Carluccio, now 75, says.

He eventually bought the restaurant, taking on Gennaro Contaldo, who became a lifelong friend and his offsider on BBC TV’s Two Greedy Italians, and also, briefly, Jamie Oliver as a pastry chef. Carluccio started a string of eponymous delicatessens then cafes in the 1990s, with phenomenal success (he no longer owns the chain). With television shows and books, his success in the food world was complete, but he was not happy. He felt his life was spiralling out of control and he had lost his name to a brand. In 2007, the Neal Street Restaurant was forced to close and Carluccio took to gambling – ”sheer, expensive escapism” – but, after an ultimatum from his wife, booked into an addiction centre. But 2008 was to bring another crisis, when his marriage to Priscilla finally ended and depression took hold again, along with gambling and whisky. ”It was an instinctive reaction to the intolerable pressure under which I found myself,” Carluccio says of the moment when he locked himself in the bathroom and used his body weight to shove scissors into his chest, penetrating the pleural cavity in his lungs.

During his recovery, Carluccio says, ”I don’t think I have ever felt more abandoned or alone or angry”.

At least he had something to look forward to that year, he writes – of all things, an invitation to Tasting Australia in Adelaide, ”which went some way to restoring my enthusiasm for life”.

Carluccio loves the simplicity and authenticity he finds in Australia’s food, in line with his philosophy: ”Minimum of fuss and maximum of flavour”, a line he truncates to ”mof mof”.

When Carluccio arrived in Britain in 1975, he confronted the era of freeze-dried mashed potato and instant puddings, but also the beginnings of an interest in Italian food. Carluccio describes what developed as ”Britalian” food: dishes such as spag bol, made with minced beef, rather than tagliatelle al ragu bolognese, which he says should be made with minced veal and pork.

Now, in Italy there’s a return to some of the traditional food, but he also points disapprovingly to the introduction of ingredients from other countries – oysters with chocolate! Carluccio is down on fusion in any guise, not just in Italy. He wants British cuisine to be true to its roots and he clearly likes food to be recognisable and simple. He’s not a fan of dishes that describe a long series of ingredients, many of which appear only fleetingly on the plate. Nor is he a fan of the style epitomised by Heston Blumenthal, whose food he doesn’t believe will stand the test of time. For Carluccio, food is not something ”banal to play with”.

He regrets not having children, but he has a girlfriend now, and he’s happy with his lot. Why wouldn’t he be, he asks, listing the good things in his life: a lovely garden and house, the ability to travel and meet people as he wants. Writing a memoir, he says, ”you see the life running just like a film”, which helps you discover the things that make you happy and the things that make you unhappy – and you learn that while you might wish for things to be different, you can’t change them.

”I was able to forge a life that was true to me,” he writes. ”And with my hand on my heart I can say, this is my story and I am happy with it.”Anchovies in green sauce

Various salsa verde or green sauces have been developed over the years by non-Italian chefs, which may be delicious, but which do not always correspond to the Italian taste. We normally use parsley, basil or rocket as the green base, and this one is made with parsley. When you come home and feel a little peckish for something salty, these anchovies on toasted bread are miraculous. Naturally the dish can be served as part of an antipasto.

300g perfect anchovy fillets in oil (Italian or Spanish are the best)

Salsa verde

1 fresh white bread roll

About 2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 big bunch flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped, without the stalks

1 small medium-hot chilli, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled and pureed

10 little cornichons (mini gherkins), very finely chopped

15 salted capers, soaked, drained and very finely chopped

Extra-virgin olive oil, as required

Drain the anchovies and put a layer of them in the bottom of a narrow ceramic container. You want to have several layers of anchovies, so don’t use too large a dish. To start the salsa, cut off the crust from the roll, and soak the inner crumbs in a little vinegar for a few minutes. Squeeze as dry as possible, then finely chop. Put into a bowl with the parsley, chilli, garlic, cornichons and capers and mix well, adding enough olive oil to achieve a sauce consistency. Cover the anchovies with a layer of green sauce, then top with another layer of anchovies. Repeat this until all the anchovies are covered with sauce. Add enough olive oil to cover everything and keep refrigerated for a day, after which you can start to use them. Keep refrigerated for up to a week. Serve with cold meats or as a dip with other canape-type dishes.

Makes a 300g batch

From Antonio Carluccio: A Recipe for Life.

Antonio Carluccio: A Recipe for Life (Hardie Grant, $39.95) and a new recipe collection, Antonio Carluccio: The Collection (Quadrille, $49.95), are published on October 1.Meet the man

Antonio Carluccio appears at the World Chef Showcase at the Crave Sydney International Food Festival in Sydney on October 6, see cravesydney南京夜网

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Pods of plenty

Green jewels … broad beans and mushroom with yoghurt dressing and parsley.WAYS WITH BROAD BEANS
Nanjing Night Net

Serve a simple starter of blanched, peeled broad beans drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt flakes, a few slices of prosciutto and salami and chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano with crusty bread.

Puree cooked broad beans with garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Lightly brush salmon pieces with olive oil and cook in a grill pan until just tender. Serve the salmon on a bed of rocket leaves drizzled with olive oil and top with the broad bean puree.

Cook macaroni in lightly salted boiling water until al dente then drain, reserving a few tablespoons of cooking water. Toss pasta with cooked broad beans and peas, crumbled ricotta, grated lemon zest, halved baby artichokes (preserved in olive oil) and a splash of the cooking water. Serve topped with torn basil leaves.Broad beans and mushrooms with yoghurt dressing and parsley

300g button mushrooms 1 tbsp lemon juice 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper 800g broad beans, podded 60g toasted pecans 1/4 tsp ground cumin 1/3 cup Greek yoghurt 1 tbsp tahini paste 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

Slice mushrooms and place in a bowl. Mix lemon juice with two tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl, add to mushrooms and toss gently to combine. Set aside. Cook broad beans in boiling water for two minutes then drain and rinse under cold water. Slip each bean out of its skin and add to mushrooms with pecans. Stir well.

Combine cumin, yoghurt, tahini paste and remaining olive oil in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper and stir well. Serve vegetables topped with a dollop of yoghurt dressing and finish with parsley leaves.

Serves 4 as a side dish.Follow Cuisine on Twitter

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.