ALMOST every week there is a story about our health services and your article, ("Grim prognosis: our doc exodus", Newcastle Herald 25/6), points out the reality of the suffering of those of us who happen to live in the regions with no plan to deal with our hardships.
As our taxes pay the bulk of the costs of training doctors and other health professionals and though Medicare our taxes again pay most of their fees, I believe our government should have control over the allocation of Medicare practice numbers, without which it is near impossible for a doctor to practice.
In the 1960s when my late brother graduated, before Medicare, to get started he and most of his fellow graduates went bush as you had to be invited into a practice or buy into one. He went to Trundle for many years and saved enough to finance his specialist training in England.
Now if the Medicare practice numbers were allocated to areas where there was a serious shortage with restrictions that the number could not be moved for five years then those taxpayers in deprived areas like we have in the Hunter would have a chance to introduce these doctors to the benefit of our communities.
Without some radical action as proposed we, residents in the region, will have to move to the city or die without care when the inevitable comes.
DR David Durrheim points out that public policy no longer accords with reality, re COVID-19 ("Perfect storm' of winter viruses", Herald, 24/6).
It is a popular and convenient belief that the more times you are infected with COVID the better protected you are, and that subsequent infections will be less severe, and that further vaccination doesn't help that much.
How easy it is to believe this, especially in the light of people's behaviour, anti vaxxer disinformation and public policy. Maybe this was true for many previous viruses, but not for COVID. In fact, the opposite is true, according to Burnet Institute's Professor of microbiology Brendan Crabb, and Professor of Epidemiology, Michael Toole.
COVID continues to mutate rapidly, so that it becomes more infectious. The greater number of times you are infected with COVID, the more severe and debilitating are the bouts. Total deaths are dramatically increasing. Then there is long COVID. How will this affect people long term?
So, why is there no public campaign to observe social distancing, encourage mask-wearing and requiring vaccination? Why is the government relaxing these requirements? Surely, the population should be warned, or does government policy simply reflect that people are largely tired, don't want to know, and just want the pandemic to end? Maybe some people are tired of living as well.
SO the leader of the Greens, Adam Bandt, removes the Australian flag at a press conference because it "represents dispossession" of Aboriginal ownership.
I wonder what would the Aboriginal soldiers who fought bravely in past wars think of that. It seems to me they obviously had no problem with the flag.
This delusional self-appointed spokesperson joins moral crusaders preaching apologetic indemnification for what they see as past injustices, many of which are indeed undeniable, but does little to aid Aboriginal advancement.
In fact, in my opinion the overall generalisation antagonises, even angers people, resulting in a kick back negative response.
Then we have the Australian Rugby Union dropping the Cook Cup trophy because the reference to Cook is hurtful to Indigenous people, replacing him with the name of an Indigenous player. So, for clarity, James Cook the great navigator/explorer is disrespected and gets blamed for the "invasion", in which he had no say, that took place some nine years after his death.
All countries have been invaded, some many times, often with brutality. We battled to stop the 1942 Japanese invasion (with the help of Aboriginal soldiers). Had the Japanese succeeded, given the treatment that was handed out to native races on their way south, Aboriginal people would undoubtedly have suffered extensively under the yoke of the invaders.
I believe that attempts to hide history, and incorporate the American Black Lives Matter into the campaign, only serve to create racial divisions in situations where they may not have previously existed.
Adam Bandt and the ARU are just compounding and contributing to the problem.
IN a rare departure from lame lampooning, Steve Barnett gets deadly serious about an issue clearly close to his heart - the flag (Short Takes, 27/6). Joining forces with the right wing media outrage brigade, Mr Barnett splutters how "despicable" it is that Adam Bandt would choose not to stand in front of one. And there I was thinking we were all a bit fed up with politicians using the flag as a self-serving prop.
Predictably, the cliched nonsense that Australians died "for the flag" gets a run. Many things would have run through the heads of Australian soldiers as they prepared for the battlefield or lay dying on it. But I'm pretty sure the flag wouldn't have been one of them. If anything belittles their sacrifice, it's reducing it to the level of such banal and meaningless sentimentality.
STEVE Barnett and his veterans' group are upset that Adam Bandt appeared minus the Australian flag, framing it as disrespect for those who died for our country, (Short takes, 27/6). I found equal or greater disrespect when three Liberal ratbags appeared in front of not one but 10 Australian flags.
There was George Brandis ('People have a right to be bigots'), Tony Abbott ('Climate change is crap') and Peter Dutton (who promotes war with China) virtue-signalling fake patriotism for political purposes. This demeans our flag.
Mr Barnett also misses that Bandt did show Aboriginal and Torres Strait flags and many from those communities also died for our country, so I don't think that is the issue.
THE national flag is controversial again following Adam Bandt's decision not to stand in front of it. Nowadays we recognise two: the colonial, official Australian flag and the Aboriginal one. Flying together, I believe they show a divided nation. What we need surely is a single flag of neutral appearance; for example, of the wattle leaf.
There is nothing specifically Australian about the present flag. A UK flag in one corner and an astronomical feature (common to all nations in the southern hemisphere). Surely our artists are smart enough to provide us with a flag that unites us and shows us as a nation come of age.
IT looks to me like "jobs for the boys" is being uncovered further as days go by regarding the John Barilaro appointment. We are now told if the government reneges this appointment compensation could be paid to Barilaro. Are these people serious?
I read with interest the Mayfield Junior Soccer Football Club fees they are paying to the City of Newcastle council, ("Fees cripple club's funds", Herald, 11/6). I did some of my own research and note that there are four individual users who play their sport at Stevenson Park which, in my estimation, would net the City of Newcastle council in excess of $120,000 p/a over and above what our council rates should be funding. Where is this money going and why isn't it being reinvested into our public sportsgrounds? With the amount of money being raised annually at Stevenson Park Mayfield, why is council still asking the local community club extra tens of thousands to make the playing surface safe? What are the usage and community council rates being used for?
THERE are still many comments on how the 5.2 per cent increase to lower paid wage earners, and how it is going to drive inflation up even further. What hasn't been heard is what the labour component of the overall cost of running a business is. I was part of the shearing industry when during the 1980s the farmers union continually argued inability to pay when national wage case increases were handed down. A study was done and it revealed that labour costs made up just 4% of on farm costs to the farmer. This will vary from industry to industry of course, but in many cases, we will be looking at 5.2% of 4-5% of the actual cost to the employer, and with that extra money going into the economy, a lot of employers will be like their employees, slightly better off. I'm sure the Fingal Bay butcher has worked this out.
Christine Everingham in her break down of cost to the rate payers (Letters 28/6) left out one cost that has been on going and that is the cost of all the vandalism that has been done in protest of the Newcastle 500.
I HOPE that when the ACCC looks into the power stations operations they ask a few important questions. We were told that by selling the poles and wires our bills would come down. Each bill is broken down into lots of areas including wages, insurance and maintenance. They say that we have ageing equipment that needs constant maintenance. Isn't that what we are paying for in our bill? Why is it that they want the government to pay these costs? If this comes about then surely our bills will be reduced as they won't need our money for repairs. We need to keep the lights on but they need to face up to their responsibility of proper maintenance that we already pay for.
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