Living in a bubble of unreality

Reading today’s editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald, Rudderless leader? creates the feeling that there must be another world out there inhabited by a collection of journalists whose perception of reality is in sharp contrast to that of the man in the street.

After publishing the essay by Kevin Rudd at the weekend and having been accused of giving him a free kick, is this the SMH’s way of evening the score, kicking Rudd where they think it might hurt? More...

The great heath care awakening

Those involved in primary health care will smile wryly as they read the Final Report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission of June 2009 - A Healthier Future For All Australians released yesterday and peruse the proposed elements for redesigning the health system.  The first element is ‘to embed prevention and early intervention into every aspect of our health system and our lives’. 

This is exactly what has been advocated by family physicians for over 40 years.  When the principle of prevention and early detection of illness was advanced in the seventies as the most effective approach to improving health and lightening the burden on hospitals, it was not taken seriously until a minister in the Whitlam Government accepted that thesis and continued the funding of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ training programme for family doctors.  Despite that display of support for this principle, the pre-eminence of the specialities at the time curbed its widespread acceptance by the medical profession.  All that has now changed as even the narrowest of specialties recognizes that preventing illness and detecting it early is not only better for the patient, but far less costly than having to undertake complex management of advanced disease undetected until in its late stages. More...

Is the CPRS really a dog?

How many, other than those steeped in environmental science, have a clear idea about what is entailed in the Government’s CPRS?  Ordinary people could be forgiven for feeling that they are flying through thick climate change fog in an ill-defined direction towards an uncertain destination, with the flight crew being harangued by reluctant passengers, some wanting to turn back because they never wanted to embark in the first place, with others wanting to continue but in a different albeit hazy direction.

The CPRS to be presented to the Senate on 13 August has been described as a dog, a deeply flawed scheme, a pointless exercise that will make a negligible difference to environmental pollution.  Such generic descriptors do nothing to clarify what has always been, and increasingly is confusing to the average citizen.  Words like ‘deeply flawed’ or the canine metaphor are singularly unhelpful. More...

The Garrett enigma

It’s happened before, but criticism of Peter Garrett, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts has been re-kindled following his approval of mining at the Four Mile uranium mine in South Australia.  In accepting the conclusions of two independent reviews of the likely environmental impact of the proposed mine that it posed no credible risk to the environment. Garrett, having satisfied himself that specified environmental standards would be met, was bound to give his approval.  He was never in a position to allow any personal feelings he might have had about uranium mining to influence his decision. More...