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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Wednesday Round Up: Storm Victory; Religion & Politics; Massacres; Health Policy

Rescued and refurbished - from the Hard Rubbish
My posting - or lack of it - has got out of hand. It is not because of lack of time management but because I am doing my utmost (but could still do better) to manage my time to be more productive. There is so much to do - mainly because winter is gone and Spring has arrived. You, dear Reader, can see some of what I have been up to at The Trad Pad.

There is gardening - with a sense of urgency now that warmth is coming. Wanting to get everything up and growing - particularly since predictions are for expensive vegetables and fruit in short supply due to the longest and most severed drought since white settlement in 1788.

I am divesting once again with a garage sale planned at the week-end. And in between there is craft and gleaning in opp shops and the hard rubbish (cast offs placed on footpaths). The hard rubbish has turned up some lovely stuff that I have given a coat of paint and some stamping and stencilling, which I love to do, and this will find its way into the garage sale as well. Waste not, want not. Recycle, repair, re-use.

Part of the divesting has been re-organising cupboards and drawers. Armloads of clothes to the opp shop because I have lost a lot of weight. Some good stuff for someone, I'm sure.

Even though I have not been blogging I have been doing my best to keep up with my FeedDemon - and this does take quite a bit of time and constancy.


But there are some things for a Round Up.

Federation Square was the centre of the universe for Melbourne fans.

Above: Fans celebrate on Sunday night after the game - The Age

Yesterday, The Storm met their fans, trophy and all, in Fed Square.

Will this be the last time we see Mat King (tall, curly headed bloke in glasses on left) in a Storm shirt?

The magnificent Melbourne Storm won the NRL Grand Final. The victory was wonderful and, it is hoped, will get greater recognition for Rugby League in the midst of an Aussie Rules culture. And the follow on is great two, as the Storm has significant membership in the team to play New Zealand in the upcoming Australia v NZ tests. Much-rejoicing-in-the-marsh (oops, I mean Melbourne!)
Religion and Politics
A hat tip to Simon Barrow who has drawn attention to this opinion piece by Madeleine Bunting. Australia will go to the polls to vote for a new national government before the end of 2007.

Religion has entered the political debate in a way it has not been present for quite a long time through the strenuous efforts of the Australian Christian Lobby. There is little doubt that the ACL draws a lot of its raison d'etre from the experience of the "religious right" experience in the USA while maintain that it is not taking the path of putting its efforts solely behind the right but wish to use the Christian vote to dialogue with and influence both the left and the right of politics - or should that be the right and the right of Australian politics.

Politicians from both the ALP and the Liberal parties have been seen in mega-churches. It comes as no surprise that politicians will turn up anywhere where there are large groups of people - particularly those who can be manipulated by their leaderships or who can be delivered in voting blocs on election day. But, Miss Eagle thinks, while those pollies might think they are co-opting the Christian vote, something else is really happening.

The Australian Christian Lobby - a decidedly right-wing Christian lobby in spite of protestations to the contrary - is endeavouring to capture Australian politics - or a significant slice of it. The ACL has a definite agenda to push - and it will not always be the agenda of Catholics, Anglicans, or UCA adherents in the pews. So when the hoo-hah has died down post-election, it will be interesting to see how much the ACL and its fellow travellers have influenced the national political agenda. Very little, is Miss E's view.

Let's face it! Australia is a conservative country. It is hardly a hotbed of radical left-wing initiatives. Radical initiatives from either the right or the left are more likely to come from our Kiwi cousins across The Ditch.

The ALP's dominant faction - the Right - is highly conservative. And the Left - well, we have the Left to thank for establishing concentration camps for refugees in the harsh conditions of the Australian outback; we have the Left to thank for the deceptive mechanism to give Aboriginal Australians a voice through ATSIC. Now, Australia has the possibility of adding the conservative Kevin Rudd to the mix should the ALP win government. In a lot of areas, the ACL is merely speaking to the converted - and the converted merely want to grab the pencil marks in the right place on the ballot papers.

Above: Portland Koori Wal Saunders at the Convincing Ground.

Below: Memorial of the Myall Creek Massacre

Massacre Day

Yesterday, 2 October, was Massacre Day in Australia. A day to remember those indigenous people who died in the course of white settlement/invasion. I had meant to post on the day but ran out of time - because I was gathering material for you, dear Reader, so that you could familiarise yourself with some of the tragic history of colonisation in this country. You will find it here. Please email me if there is any difficulty accessing the material. It resides on my Furl site and this is the first time I have presented material on the blog in this way, so I do hope it works for you

Howard, Abbott and Hospitals
Re the Liberals' plans to turn back the clock to the last century and establish individual hospital boards, Howard's comment yesterday displays overwhelming ignorance of public administration in the health sector:
"I believe (in) moving toward a situation where every hospital had a board (and) the board was made up of a cross-section of people, including more clinicians.
"There's a CEO, and he or she is accountable for a budget and the buck would stop with him or her.
"That is how you run a company, it is how you run a club and it ought to be how you run a hospital."

Miss Eagle makes the following comments:

  1. The Royal North Shore in Sydney may be able to scratch up a fair bit of expertise to provide a credible Board - but experience has shown that Hospital Boards have tended to be sinecures rather than hives of active and advanced business management. Some are famed for the quality of the drinks cabinet.
  2. Victoria has hospital boards for local hospitals. Victoria's hospital systems have, historically, been largely private. This has meant expensive health care. Long before Medicare was established Victorians developed the habit, which continues to-day, of going to Queensland [where health care was free and mainly public] in the winter for their health lovely places like Hervey Bay. This is reflected these days in Victoria having the highest Medibank Private fees in Australia.
  3. What's the betting that Howard and Co. have an eye on introducing some form of corporatisation either for the whole hospital operation or just forming a shell company to employ staff so that Work Choices can predominate and wages costs can be cut. Bear in mind, dear Reader, that it is not only doctors who cost heaps. When nursing professionalised through creeping credentialism, it built a highly layered career structure - at a time when modern corporations were demolishing their layers into flattened corporate structures. The taxpayer paid and continues too pay for this.
  4. Howard wants a larger role for clinicians. Interesting - considering that the medical associations are the biggest closed shops in the nation. Remember the Painters and Dockers? These days it's the Painters and Doctors - and they even protect known killers.
  5. Whatever the manner of administration there must be a vastly increased role for consumers and a form of management skewed to wide community consultation. Currently, the health system is heavily geared to suit doctors and nurses and the manner in which THEY want to deliver their particular brand of health services. What THEY want is not the same as what the consumer expects and needs. In fact, what THEY want is often the antithesis of what the consumer wants and what the consumer needs to achieve and maintain good health