Forget obesity as a disease; it’s a ruse. For whatever reason, the majority of the population can no longer say I have had enough. For whatever reason, the majority of human beings respond to advertisements inviting them to enter a pleasure state by eating a day’s worth of calories in one sitting, again and again. In the face of this, we are stuffed. We could say, “You are free agents, totally free, so pay for your own consequences.” We could make people pay at the point of choice, via a food tax, or we could limit choice. The other option, always unspoken, is: let us have our cake. Let’s just eat and eat, get fatter and fatter, and work out how best to live with it. This is where we are heading now: fatness, outside of morality, as an accepted consequence of the world as we have made it.
We can decide as a country, as a world, that we are going to consume what we have until we’re done, eating as much as we wish and treating all the concomitant diseases by diverting substantial amounts of government revenue into medicine and pharmaceuticals. If we do choose this path – and we are most of the way there already – we must be honest about what we are choosing to do: to spend our country’s money on the consequences of indiscriminate consumption.
If you come to me, your doctor, and you ask me to make you thin, for now I will have to cut you or drug you, as these are the only weapons I have to ward off the sirens. There will come a time when patients stop asking their doctors to make them thin. It will either be because fatness is rare again, or because it has become entirely accepted. The choice is in your hands. Are you going to eat it?"
-9:29 Dec 2nd, 2013 | 2 notes
"In the long shadow of these upheavals, we gather to ponder their meaning and to commemorate the values that shone in their wake: courage under pressure, ingenuity in adversity, bonds of mateship and above all, loyalty to Australia."
-6:58 Nov 11th, 2013 | 1 note
"Welcome to the wonderful, wacko world of the former government": Prime Minister Tony Abbott forgets the first rule of diplomacy8:11 Oct 28th, 2013 | 11 notes
There is really only one rule of international politics: leave you domestic politics at the door. Really, no one wants to hear that, nor will they understand what the hell you are talking about. Above all, it just looks very petty and unbecoming of a leader on the world stage.
It appears however, that no one told this to Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Here’s what he had to say about the former Labor government in an interview with The Washington Post:
With blistering speed, Fairfax Media got a quote from respected academic Norman Ornstein on the affair:
Clinton Fernandes, associate professor of international and political studies at the University of New South Wales, had this to say:
Prime Minister, you won the election, remember?
7:00 Oct 24th, 2013 | 16 notes
2:23 Oct 19th, 2013 | 4,463 notes
8:37 Oct 17th, 2013 | 1 note
"Despite [the] recent slowdown, Australia’s wealth per adult in 2013 is USD 402,600, the second highest in the world after Switzerland. Even more strikingly, its median wealth of USD 219,500 is the highest in the world… Compared to the rest of the world, very few Australians have net worth below USD 10,000. One reason for this is relatively low credit card and student loan debt. The proportion of those with wealth above USD 100,000 is the highest of any country – eight times the world average. With 1,762,000 people in the top 1% of global wealth holders, Australia accounts for 3.8% of this wealthy group, despite having just 0.4% of the world’s adult population."
-7:00 Oct 14th, 2013 | 7 notes
6:30 Sep 30th, 2013 | 7 notes
WHO’S THIS HOTTIE
What’s In A Very Very Long Name5:46 Sep 29th, 2013 | 5 notes
Given that I’ve written about it before, you would not be surprised to hear that I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the latest Administrative Arrangements Order from the incoming government. It’s that wonderful time in the political cycle where newly elected governments change the letterheads and name plates of all the federal department in an attempt to look like they’re ‘shaking things up’.
I was hoping that the Tony ‘Action Man’ Abbott would ride in to Canberra and take a hatchet to the baffling cacophony of portfolio titles and department names, given his relentless campaign to ‘end the waste’ and shrink government. Alas, I was left wanting.
To be sure, Abbott has done a good job of shrinking portfolio titles. No longer do we have a Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Water, but simply a Minister for the Environment. Similarly, gone is the portfolio of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, along with the Housing and Homelessness, and Mental Health and Ageing, all replaced by the Social Services portfolio. The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs has been accordingly renamed to the Department of Social Services. Stephen Conroy’s old and ridiculously named Communications, Broadband and the Digital Economy portfolio has been shortened to simply Communications under Malcolm Turnbull.
Federal department relabelling, however, is a different story. Abbott deserves full marks for shrinking such behemoths as the Department for Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, but several deductions for poorly allocating responsibilities to other departments. The axing of the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sports, as well as the aforementioned Department for Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations are welcome changes for those who crave brevity after the previous governments nomenclature extravagance. Unfortunately, the reshuffle has led to some bizarre policy marriages. Responsibility for the arts is now lies with the Attorney-Generals Department, sport has been rolled into Health, and local government into Infrastructure. Small business now awkwardly sits in the Treasury, when it feels more suited to the newly named Department of Industry. As for responsibility for science, your guess is as good as mine. Abbott’s Administrative Arrangements Order has left no department with the word ‘Science’ in its name, an omission not seen since 1931.
The most awkward development is that the Department of Human Services has been left untouched. So we now have a Department of Human Services and a Department of Social Services taking responsibility for different stages of the same policies. Time will tell how the balance between the two will work, but as DSS takes over responsibility for income support (formerly the role of DHS), it appears that DSS will be more of a frontline department, and DHS a backend one. But who really knows, they’re so bloody similar. DSS also takes the reins of ‘community mental health,’ which is apparently not the same as regular mental health which remains in the remit of the Department of Health. Clearly the distinctions between the roles of these three departments are hazy at best. Given that social security, welfare and health take up fully half of our $400 billion annual federal budget, even small percentages of leakage due to administrative overlap can add up to significant sums of money very quickly.
Historically, changing the names of federal departments has been a way for new governments to signal their policy priorities (The Department of Immigration has been renamed to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, for example). Such a process is deeply political, and has little to do with public administration. Tony Abbott has not, in his words, ‘put a broom through the commonwealth public service’ by giving everyone different names and a new coat of paint, but he is right is saying that in recent years (decades more like), ‘the structure of government departments and agencies has created confused responsibilities, duplication and waste’. Unfortunately for Prime Minister Abbott, he has failed to recognize that he has just added to this problem, rather than rectifying it. Now would have been the perfect time to lock in an overarching structure of the Australian Public Service. It is an opportunity missed.
I still live in hope that one day, I will not have to learn a dozen new acronyms every time there is a change of government. But no matter what happens, there will always be a special place in my heart for the Department for Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, or DIICCSRTE, simultaneously the best and worst name for a federal department, ever.
Fairwell DIICCSRTE, you will be missed.