There’s gotta be a better way

How often have you encountered a situation whose events are so ludicrous that you are left simply wondering why someone hasn’t thought of a better way of managing those events?

I had one recently.

I dropped into my chemist and left a prescription for Diabex XR 1000 while I went off on an important shopping mission (cigars, booze).  When returning to collect the script I was dutifully informed they were out of stock. None were available anywhere. Not a problem, I still had enough to last over a week.

Yesterday, with my supply running low I returned with the prescription. Same story. Can’t get any yet as the distributor is out of stock.  Apparently the factory burnt down (wow, that’s original). They suggested I try the 500 milligram dose, as long as I didn’t mind rattling from all those tablets.

“Fine, I’ll take them”.

“Sorry, you’ll need a prescription from your doctor”.

Why mention them in the first place, would have been an obvious response. Instead I humorously snarled: “Great. So I have to make an appointment with my doctor who is usually booked out for a week in advance, leave work early and sit in his waiting room for the customary two hours before parting with $75 for a prescription for medication you know I take”.

It wasn’t as if I was asking for a larger dose for goodness sake.

There’s gotta be a better system than this.  How about those poor buggers who don’t have private transport, or who can’t get away from work so easily?  What a horrible inconvenience!  Worse still, what about the poor soul about to drop dead?

Last year I was in Rome and came down with a severe dose of the very deadly man flu. Noticing a chemist near to hotel I wandered in and after moaning to the poor young lady behind the counter that I had only moments to live I asked if there was possibly a life-saving doctor nearby.

“You don’t need one” she said. “I can sell you the medication you need. You don’t need a prescription”.

Brilliant. I took the drug and was a happy fellow. Until Paris.

In Paris, shock horror, I discovered I hadn’t brought enough of my Diabex with me. Frantic, I tried my luck with a chemist and produced a letter from my doctor in vain hope of having some success.  Note to all: if ever you travel overseas carry with you a letter from your GP listing your medication.

Saints be praised, that’s all I needed in order to obtain medications. Why can’t it be that simple or logical in Australia?  It’s just one of those instances where we can’t do things effectively, efficiently or economically in this country. Can you think of some other examples?

Returning to my saga with the chemist, after candidly demanding some logic they offered to phone my doctor to see if they can supply me with the 500 mg dose of Diabex. They phoned me this morning with the good news he’d given the OK and my script was available for collection.

When I called in after work to collect the script I noticed they had only given me two week’s supply.

“Oh. If you need more you’ll have to get another prescription from your doctor”.


Why can’t we take a leaf out of Europe?  There are some things they just do better than us.


Chemist (Photo credit: rutty)

Both Sides Of The Gun

It was 4am on Saturday21st April. The busy streets of Kings Cross in Sydney were full of the usual crowds out for a good night.

What happened next would be the talk of Sydney for the next week.

I won’t go into all the details, as I’m sure most of you know them already.

The short story is a carload of teenagers in a stolen car were driving down Bayswater Rd, the main street of Kings Cross, however, not only were they driving down the street, but also down the crowded footpath, hitting pedestrians. The end result of this chaos was that the police opened fire on the vehicle, seriously wounding the driver and front seat passenger, almost killing the driver in fact, then dragging the other passengers from the vehicle and arresting them, using what video footage shows to be rather excessive force. Adding to the controversy, the almost fatally wounded driver was 14 years old, and indigenous.

Bullet holes in the stolen cars windscreen

There has been a lot of talk of blame since, which is’ I suppose expected considering the circumstances. However, it is expected that those in positions of authority would not point the finger of blame, police and politicians would wait until investigations were undertaken before laying blame upon someone.

Enter NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell.

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Pedlars of Fear

Tony Abbott’s ‘mandate’ to scare every Australian half to death about the consequences of the ‘carbon tax’, whilst annoyingly desperate and overly passionate, is not unusual behaviour from a Coalition leader.  I have witnessed this code of conduct from Liberal leaders with monotonous regularity over the last couple of decades.

They have generally been powerful enough to win elections for them.

Malcolm Fraser provides an exception.  During the election campaign in 1983 he stridently attacked Labor’s financial integrity suggesting that the banking system would be ruined if the Commie Labor Party was elected and thus peoples’ money would be safer kept under the bed than in a bank.  There was no substance in this claim.  It was a failed attempt to scare the electorate.  In 1983 the electorate wasn’t as ignorant as they would later turn out to be.

Future attempts have been more successful as the average IQ of the electorate plummeted.

Opinion polls in 2001 showed that the Howard Government was facing massive defeat.  The terrorist attacks of September 2001 changed all that, but not enough to Howard’s satisfaction.  He was able to terrorise the gullible electorate into believing that terrorists were hopping onto any rickety old boat heading to Australia and only he could protect us from the murderous intentions of these alleged evildoers.  Abdullah the Butcher and his mates were coming to sacrifice us all.  Oh how different it might have been if an election wasn’t around the corner.  From 1996 to that point of time 221 boatloads of refugees sailed unhindered into Australian waters.  Number 222 – just after the September 2011 attacks –  ran into a bit of trouble and running to its aid was the Norwegian vessel the Tampa.

I’m sure that most readers here will have fresh in their mind the stench surrounding the politicisation of the Tampa incident and how it was the turning point for Howard’s fortunes so I won’t recap it here. Dissecting individual incidents is not the intention of the post but will be welcomed in reader’s comments.

Howard didn’t need any more scare campaigns until 2004, and incidentally, during his calling of an election.  Electing a Labor Government, he warned, would cost you the family home.  Interest rates would go through the roof and as a result his little Aussie battlers would lose the roof over their heads.  He was very affective in pushing this message across, taking aim at Labor’s historic spending patterns and Mark Latham’s record as Mayor of Liverpool, both of which were irrelevant points in this election.  Didn’t he look stupid when he rode us through eleven straight interest rate rises over the next three years?  But it mattered not.  We had been saved from the merciless Abdullah and on that point we needed to be reminded.

Dr Hanif helped him.

Howard had to convince the dumbed down electorate that his unpopular counter terrorism legislation was for the good of the country.  It protected us from the likes of the despicable and ill-intentioned Dr Hanif.  It would protect us from every body and every thing that Howard saw as a threat to his battling Aussies.  We were saved by his fridge magnets.  Terrorist alerts were upgraded every five minutes and I have it on good advice that these always coincided with political maneuvers.  They were not real.  Howard only wanted us to be afraid.  Very afraid.  The only thing he wanted to protect was his job.  The terrorists, to him, were the Labor Party.

So were Aborigines, in particular the Stolen Generation.  Saying sorry to them would send the country broke.  An apology to the Stolen Generations would have legal ramifications and pave the way for huge compensation bills.  And that was the unproven basis of his argument, which was rabidly supported from those loyal battlers who didn’t mind the interest rate rises.  It didn’t matter if you lost the family home, just as long as those Aborigines didn’t get any money.  During Howard’s gloating about the healthy state of the economy he had the complete morons fearful that we couldn’t afford to pay some Aborigines compensation for the mistreatment they had received at the hands of the State.  You can read about his hypocrisy here.

Now we have prophet Abbott as the pedlar fear.  Today it’s the carbon tax, which by the time of the next election may well be proven to not be as damaging as he squawks.  He’ll have to move onto something else.  On the eve of the next election what will it be?  My money’s on boat people.

John Howard

John Howard (Photo credit: Takver)

National Disability Insurance Scheme – Make It Real

Every Australian counts

Fantastic news – we have just received an email from Prime Minister Julia Gillard confirming she will attend one of our Make it Real rally events on Monday, April 30.

The Prime Minister will address the rally in Sydney at the Allphones Arena at Olympic Park.

We want to share the email with you.   It reads:

Dear Friends,

On Monday, thousands of people from around the country will gather in capital cities to show their support for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

I’ll be joining you at the Sydney rally because I want to make the NDIS a reality too.

You and I know the current system is letting people with disability down and it’s time for change. Monday’s rally is going to be an important one.

I’m looking forward to joining you at Sydney Olympic Park.

See you on Monday.


Our nation’s leaders are listening – so don’t miss this chance to have your voice heard.

It’s more important than ever that we hit the streets on Monday and show everyone that we will not stop until the NDIS becomes a reality.

We will see you all on Monday – and don’t forget to wear red!


The Every Australian Counts campaign team

Make it Real
National rallies
April 30, 2012

AllPhones Arena
Olympic Boulevard
Sydney Olympic Park
12 noon

Federation Square
Corner of Flinders and Swanston streets
12 noon

Parliament House lawns
Salamanca Place
12 noon

Hindmarsh Square
Corner of Hindmarsh Square and Pirie Street

11am: Meet at State Library Queensland
29 Stanley St, South Brisbane
12 noon: March to Reddacliff Place
6 Queen St, Brisbane
1pm: Rally at Reddacliff Place

11.40am: Meet in Hay Street Mall (William St End) Perth
12.00pm: March down mall and Barrack St to Stirling Gardens, Council House,
Corner of Barrack St and St Georges Terrace, Perth
12.30pm: Rally at Stirling Gardens, Council House

* All times local times

P.S. If you are on Twitter please tweet on Monday using the hashtag #NDISrally – let’s see if we can get everyone talking about the NDIS!


Anzac Day, is in my mind the most important public holiday of the year on the Australian calendar, for a few good reasons.

It does not involve any sort of religion, it does not involve the birthday of a woman from another country with a crown on her head, and it does not involve the massacre of Indigenous Australians (although many did die in the wars). It does however represent the Australian spirit of mateship, bravery, and our willingness to sacrifice for our country.

However, what puzzles and annoys me is the need to use this day to promote sporting codes.

You can call me a wowser, or a spoilsport, or just a plain dickhead… but I believe a hell of a lot of what I see and hear on the idiot box on Anzac Day is straight out disrespectful.

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That Was My Mistake

Sorry folks, it appears I may have been wrong about something…

Some of you may have read my posts regarding NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s massive unfunded promise of the North West Rail Link. I have had a lot of negative things to say about the decision to put a 4km stretch of this rail link above ground through a residential area. The section of the rail link the Liberal State Government has imaginatively called the SkyTrain.

An Eternal Optimists Impression Of The SkyTrain

My views have apparently been misguided in regards to the “SkyTrain” section of the North West Rail Link. As I will endeavor to explain.

I am however, not alone in my mistaken state, The Hills Shire Councils official position is the same as mine, that the 4km stretch from Bella Vista to Rouse Hill should be underground, as the public were expecting.

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Guest Post: ANZAC Day

Guest Post by JooR

In 1915.. on the 25th of April.. Allied Forces invaded Turkish soil… WE WERE THE INVADERS… and we were defeated in that campaign. But We remember those who served, we commemorate their mateship, their resilience, their determination…AND I WOULD LIKE TO THANK TURKEY.. the land we tried to capture.. for allowing us EVERY YEAR to return to commemorate the landing of the ANZAC…..

In these times of ugly bigoted racism rising it should be reminded to some, that Turkey is an Islamic Nation and they have paid us a great honour in allowing and joining with us in our commemorations.

ANZAC Day is the day on our Calender that has always meant the most to me..have never been a Big Australia day person.. and I worry that ANZAC Day will become a day that is abused by the dumbfuck racist bogan, another day to drape the flag around one’s shoulders and allow it to drag along the ground…

Another day to cry AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE OI OI OI (which in itself is disrespectful because without the Kiwis it would only be AAC DAY).

Another day to abuse the *Mozzies* and the *towel heads* and cry STOP THE BOATS…………..

And .. that is ALL NOT what ANZAC DAY IS ABOUT….

ANZAC Day is to remember those that fell and those that fought and it is NEVER about the glorification of war, although .. SOME try and make it so……

It is about the bloke beside you and watching out for him and hope he is watching out for you.. It is about thinking of the people left at home.

It is about WHAT was important to Australians at one time, but has seem to be going the way of the ANZACS themselves.. lost to time..

Even realising that the bloke on the other side of the trenches, though with a different faith, a different language and a different look were really not that unlike ourselves… They had family, they had mates, they had their fears and their nightmares….The bled when they were wounded and died when their wounds were too great.

In No-man’s land the men of both sides came together to bury their dead before returning to the trenches and adding more numbers of those that they just buried..

ANZAC Day reminds me that War is a bloody awful thing.. but amazing stories , strangely stories of hope, can come from war time.. and maybe NOW we need to be reminded of that..

We need to be reminded that although we were the invader.. that Turkey has forgiven and had forgave decades and almost a century ago and that they lost Thousands at Gallipoli themselves.. AND YET… THEY have the Dignity .. to allow us to return every year.

Would we have the dignity ????


Tomorrow is ANZAC Day. This day is probably the only truly unique national day for Australia.

I recall being a somewhat cynical teenager in the ’70s watching our Vietnam soldiers parade thinking that they had fought for a lost war, yet something said to me that the valour was to be honoured. I think that there is something very special about the Australian way of thinking, that we honour defeat even more than we honour victory. The thought of killing more of our enemy than they have killed us does not bring with it pride, not for we Australians.

It is perhaps having persisted in a harsh environment that we consider all life to be honoured, not to be wasted.

On this day I also give honour to our original Australians who fought, the Aboriginal volunteers who fought in all wars from the Boer War onward. Historian David Huggonson, spent 20 years researching the Aboriginal contribution to Australia’s military campaigns and discovered the names of 428 Aboriginal soldiers who served in WWI. This is from a population of 80,000 persons.

There is another way which I believe that we Australians are different; that is with a certain scepticism, we do not believe in the rallying cries but rather join in the fight when we believe that there is a job to be done. We are foremost practical nation of people.

I will use this as an opportunity to tell you about my father. Dad was a factory hand who had no schooling after age 12, he lost a finger in an industrial accident when he was 18yrs old. Dad didn’t believe in war as being a solution to any problem, plus being a passionate nationalist Dad did not believe that we should be fighting England’s wars. However my father then found himself a conscript, and was sent to Milne Bay. According to my father his entire time was spent on midnight raids to the US forces camp so that they could steal coffee and chocolate. The US forces were well rationed.

I very much doubt that this was all that Milne Bay entailed, but that was the way that my father liked to describe it.

My father was repat’d out of Milne Bay with acute malaria and spent another 6 months in a psych ward. I have his medals with my name roughly scribbled on the box. I took them for show and tell when I was 4 years old.

My father never attended an ANZAC Day service, and never marched.

I read an article which said:

Prime Minister John Howard was using the same technique the same day at Gallipoli, telling the crowds that the “valour and the sacrifice” of the ANZACs lived on in the Iraq deployment. By using the language of government rhetoric in the context of a commemorative speech, both men attempted to render current government goals indistinguishable from the goals of Australia’s war dead. If the dead are sacred, and their goals are likewise, then a government professing to have the same goals can shelter behind that sanctity, laying claim to it for their own ends.

Stereotypes of Australian servicemen are used to construct concepts like ‘Anzac spirit’, which are also open to political exploitation. The mythological digger is a brave tough idealist, a laid-back larrikin and an all-round good guy. His image is co-opted to define what is truly Australian, and what is the converse.

To tell you truth, I do not give a damn. Today is the day that I think of my father and his sacrifice. I can see my father in my mind’s eye, neither glorifying the ANZAC sacrifice nor being cynical that this did entail sacrifice. One can intellectualise, but I cannot walk in the shoes of the ANZACs. I would not presume to know the thoughts which they thought.

Therefore, here’s to our ANZACs.

Everyday Formula

It was clear well before the weekend began that the Formula 1 event held in Bahrain on the weekend, was going to be no ordinary race meet.

I should start out by saying that I am a Formula 1 junkie, a hopeless one….

However this weekend was different, and I have to say that I watched the qualifying, and the race with a sense of guilt.

I am no expert on the goings on in Bahrain, so I won’t pretend to know even half of the troubled countries woes. What I do know however, is that the Formula 1 event due to be held in Bahrain last year was cancelled, for the same reasons this years event had question marks over it.

It is not the safety of the drivers I have concern with, these guys risk their lives every time they squeeze into the cockpit, I think their veins are full of adrenalin rather than blood. Also with the amount of money involved I am quite sure the teams can hire a militia as a security detail.

My question is what message does holding the event at all send, and what is the reason for a different message to last year?

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The End Of The Age Of Enlightenment

My thanks to Alan Moir for permission to use his eloquent cartoon, which appeared so promptly in the Sydney Morning Herald after Joe Hockey’s ‘entitlement’ speech. Thanks too to Miglo and Min for their encouragement in offering this a wider reading after its first posting at

Friday, April 20, 2012.

Joe Hockey travelled to London,
To make his declaration
That it was time to turn the page,
And bring to an end the age
Of what he called Entitlement.

You may well ask why didn’t he
Announce it in North Sydney
That we’re citizens of Asia,
Neighbours of Malaysia
And the Indian subcontinent.

There, he said, they are satisfied
With what their families provide
To support them when they’re old.
Now Oz could save amounts untold,
With something the equivalent.

When asked to whom the scheme applied
He hesitated and then replied,
“Oh, we’d have to have a means test
Which would eliminate the rest……..
…….Of us who prove ourselves non-indigent.”

NOTES: Joe Hockey, the Shadow Treasurer, made a speech in London on the other side of the world from here a few days ago  which included an unambiguous statement about the age of unlimited and unfunded entitlement to government services and income support being over in the Western world.   He then made the mistake of appearing on Lateline that same evening and answering very pointed questions from Tony Jones about exactly what that might mean under a Coalition government.

He repeated again his statement that “with an ageing population and an entitlement system that has seen extraordinary largesse built up over the last 50 years, Western communities, Western societies are going to have to make some very hard and unpopular decisions to wind back the involvement of the state in people’s lives.”   At the same time he talked about Australians riding on the back of significant growth in Asia and the Government,  if serious about their much vaunted “Asian Century,  should start comparing us with our Asian neighbours when it comes to understandable levels of economic growth,  inflation, employment and so on, rather than comparing us to countries in Europe and North America.”   He then agreed with Tony Jones this included “entitlements……….a significant issue.”

Having got this beautiful “Gotcha!” out of him, Jones did his best to tie Hockey down as to exactly which benefits he had in mind but got a lot of squirming and waffling in reply about it all depending and case by case issues!  It’s worth watching!  I won’t link you to the stories about it which appeared in the MSM next day but if you google ‘the age of entitlement’ you’ll be reading for hours.   He wouldn’t be pinned down as to exactly which Asian countries he’d compare us with on social benefit entitlements, but he mentioned statistics for Hong Kong, Korea and Japan.  You’ll have to forgive my poetic license in using India and Malaysia for rhyming reasons. After all,  they are our neighbours in Asia and millions of people in all of those countries and elsewhere in Asia are currently living in abject poverty.

I was appalled to hear Joe Hockey talk about how we should look to our region for a model on welfare spending!  Not so!  We need to maintain and improve our mutual support standards here so that we can be a beacon to other countries around us!  We are an example of what they can strive for!  I can’t imagine living in a modern state which hasn’t found a way to look after its weaker and poorer members.  Medical, educational and other social benefits should be fairly available to all regardless of economic status, and yes all need to make a fair contribution to their cost where they can.

Listening to the man who could be our next Treasurer I feared for our future more than ever before.   He was talking as if he had no real understanding or appreciation of the enlightened society most of us are beginning to enjoy only now after centuries of struggle from the earliest days of organised labor in Western Europe.  Almost a thousand years ago journeymen and their craftsmen employers were striving for improvement in their lives through the Guilds.    In the 18th century ‘Scottish Enlightenment’ economist, Adam Smith noted the imbalance in the rights of workers in regards to owners or ‘masters’ in The Wealth of Nations.

Today more than ever in Australia working people at all wage and salary levels need to join together in their unions and professional organisations to work with and within all political parties.  They must make sure that the well-being of our society,  its economy and its environment,  is such that the fair entitlements of all its citizens are protected.  This Coalition team led by the likes of Tony Abbott,  Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb must not come to power.