Australia will reach one million people officially living with a Covid diagnosis within days – more than lung disease and cancer – with one in every 20 New South Wales and Victorian residents already contracting the virus, the latest VaxEnomicTM Forecaster from C-suite strategy group Provocate reveals.
Reform all aspects of how we treat our ageing population. More real, boots-on-the-ground funding for in home care. In home respite options. More support for carers, and recognition of the huge amount of unpaid work they are doing every single day. Complete overhaul of how income and assets are calculated, the scrapping of the "6 month hardship" rule. Streamlining the process for calculating daily fees and admission to long term placement. Specialised support and advocacy agency within the Department of Human Services, or an independent body, to assist carers to navigate the system. Go to Tara Kostezky's Campaign
Why is this important?
Our care of our ageing population is a National scandal, and a disgrace. There is an appalling shortfall of support services for both participants and carers in the home, lack of real in home respite options, chronic lack of available services in rural areas in particular, poor acknowledgement of the Carers Recognition Act in all dealings with government departments and the health care system...the list goes on and on.
Residential Aged Care is a nightmare to navigate for carers who are already exhausted by the time the need for facility care is needed. Carers will (quite naturally, given what the current Royal Commission is bringing to light, and of which those on the ground are already completely aware) avoid placing loved ones into care until it becomes apparent there is no other option left. And by that point, they are usually completely burnt out and overwhelmed. And then: they are confronted with the financial aspects of residential placement, at the time they are least able to do so.
Government department delays, an almost deliberately dense and complex process, conflicting advice from Centrelink, government run "advocacy" services, and My Aged Care: all of these are things with which carers are all too familiar. And there are many, many older members of our community who have no advocacy at all from family or friends who best know their needs. These poor unfortunates are thrown into the system, to be churned through, stripped of their assets, and forgotten. After all, who would care?
The financing of Aged Care is unjust and uses figures which are unrealistic for the poorest members of our society to meet. Unless the person is "fully concessional", they fall into the murky category of "partial concessional". Figures of $350 *per week* are not unheard of, ABOVE the 85% of the Aged Pension. Hardship can be applied for...but only after 6 months of trying to sell whatever tiny assets that person has (usually the family home). Families are being forced to sell assets well under market value due to the urgency of needing to come up with funds immediately. Reasonable debts, such as unpaid council rates, are NOT included in the calculation of what the asset is worth. The net effect of this on a broader scale is sinple: channelling the assets of the very poorest into the hands of the profit margins of our for profit Aged Care Homes. We already have a "death tax" in this country...except of course - again - this only applies if you are poor. The wealthy can simply pay the RAD and be done with it, and when the end comes, it is returned to them, as the very name suggests: Refundable Accomodation Deposit.
The effect on a larger social level is this: the traditional passing on of wealth to the next generation becomes out of reach of those who most need it.
And what does all this pay for? Ants in the wounds of the dying. Shocking abuse of a daily basis. Burnt out and cynical staff who can no longer actually give a damn, through their own need to survive emotionally, because profit is king and proper compassionate staffing ratios are expensive to maintain. Absolute human misery and suffering.
Why should anyone care about this anyhow?
The demographics of the coming two decades show very, very clearly that we are on the brink of a tsunami of the ageing population. Directly, or indirectly, you WILL be confronted with these issues.
And because none of this is fair, or just, or right, or - most importantly - compassionate to the slightest degree.
And if you can't find it in yourself to care for those reasons, here are two more: the economic aspects of this will have long lasting implications for our economy, and none of them are good with the system we now have in place. And the second reason? You will be old one day too. What sort of care do you think will be awaiting you when you no longer have any other options left? Go to sign at the Community Campaign
We republish an article from Global Research and an excerpt from the World Health Organisation on this politically, commercially, and thus medically, fraught topic. The World Health Organisation's ongoing research project page on Electromagnetic fields (EMF) is at https://www.who.int/peh-emf/project/EMF_Project/en/. Not mentioned in the Global Research article below is the World Health Organisation's report that "studies suggest that children exposed to EMF magnetic fields have an associated increased risk of leukaemia." The Global Research article below the WHO introduction is useful because it gives a number of strategies for minimising exposure to EMF, particularly where children are concerned. Furthermore, it gives access to opinion from different countries. We should remember that X-Rays were not banned for pregnant women until the mid-1980s, a long time after it was well-known that they were the major cause of childhood cancers. (See Margaret Heffernan, Wilful Blindness.) A much more intensive and pervasive level of electromagnetic fields involved in 5G and "smart cities" is being introduced to Australia and many countries as we write this. Smart cities carry their own dangers of total surveillance and automation that seem calculated to remove almost all possibility of democratic engagement, although that is not the subject of the reports cited below. (See Prof Justin O'Connor in "Smart Cities vs Creative Cities Symposium".)
World Health Organisation: "What is the International EMF Project? - Introduction
Potential health effects of exposure to static and time varying electric and magnetic fields need scientific clarification. Electromagnetic fields of all frequencies represent one of the most common and fastest growing environmental influences, about which there is anxiety and speculation are spreading. EMF exposure now occurs to varying degrees to all populations of the world, and the levels will continue to increase with advancing technology. Thus, even a small health consequence from EMF exposure could have a major public health impact.
Concerns have been expressed that exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields at power frequencies (50/60 Hz) could lead to an increased incidence of cancer in children and other adverse health effects. The evidence comes primarily from residential epidemiological studies. These studies suggest that children exposed to ELF magnetic fields have an associated increased risk of leukaemia.
Radio frequency (RF) fields are used to great benefits in many facets of everyday life, such as radio and TV transmission, telecommunications (eg mobile telephones), diagnosis and treatments of disease and in industry for heating and sealing materials. With the rapid introduction of mobile telecommunications devices, especially among the general public, there has been a focus on the problems associated with near field RF exposure to the head from the small radiating antenna of mobile phones. In addition, concerns persist that exposure to pulsed and amplitude modulated RF fields may cause specific health effects.
As societies develop, greater use of certain technologies leads to increasing exposure to static electric and magnetic fields. This is especially the case in industry, transport, power transmission, research and medicine. Possible health effects from static fields have never been properly assessed. Given the rapid expansion of medical devices and imminent introduction, potentially on a large scale, of magnetic levitation transport systems that use strong static magnetic fields, any health impacts need to be properly assessed.
As part of its charter to protect public health and in response to public concern over health effects of EMF exposure, the World Health Organization (WHO) established the International EMF Project in 1996 to assess the scientific evidence of possible health effects of EMF in the frequency range from 0 to 300 GHz. The EMF Project encourages focused research to fill important gaps in knowledge and to facilitate the development of internationally acceptable standards limiting EMF exposure."
Top 10 Facts About Cell Phones and Wi-Fi
Article first published in Global Research by Environmental Health Trust on July 18, 2019 at https://www.globalresearch.ca/top-10-facts-about-cell-phones-and-wi-fi/5683939.
1. All Cell Phones And Wireless Devices Emit Radiation.
Every wireless device is actually a two-way microwave radio that sends and receives a type of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation called radio frequency radiation RF – EMF. This machine-made radiation is millions of times higher than the natural electromagnetic fields (EMFs) our grandparents were exposed to. Numerous peer reviewed published research studies shows that these made-made pulsed electromagnetic frequencies cause adverse biological effects and are very different than the natural electromagnetic fields that have existed in the environment for years. Research on humans has found an association between cell phone use and serious effects such as brain cancer, headaches, damage to the brain and immune system. Yale studies found that cellular radiation exposure during pregnancy led to increased hyperactivity and memory problems in offspring.
2. Our Brains And Bodies Are Penetrated By This Radiation.
When we hold a cell phone against our head to talk, the radiation from the phone moves into our brain. Likewise, when we use a wireless laptop, the radiation penetrates into our abdominal region, chest area and brain.According to the International Agency for the Research on Cancer:
“the average radio frequency radiation energy deposition for children exposed to mobile phone RF is two times higher in the brain and 10 times higher in the bone marrow of the skull, compared with mobile phone use by adults”.
(Read it on page 44 of the IARC Monograph on Radiofrequency Fields)
Research also has found that radiation from tablets penetrates more deeply into children’s brains (Ferreira 2015.) A 2018 study that considered the radiation dose into the brain of teenagers found that teens who used cell phones up to their head had decreased memory performance on researchers tests.
3. Cell Phones And Wireless Devices Emit Radiation Constantly, Even When You Are Not Talking Or Using The Phone.
A powered on cell phone is always “checking in” and maintaining a connection to the nearest cell tower by sends intense bursts of radiation several times per second. Likewise, a wireless-enabled laptop, tablet or other device is always “checking in” with the nearby router or a network base. These “check ins” are radiation emissions—happening several times per second, and whether or not a connection is successfully established.Medical doctors have written many letters to schools calling for administrators to reduce exposures to this radiation in schools. Harvard doctors have published research linking electromagnetic fields to autism.
4. Every Wireless Device Has Fine Print Instructions Buried In Its User Manual That Specify A Distance Between The Device And User That Should Not Be Surpassed.
For example, most cell phone manuals state the phone should be held at specified distance (often around 5/8th of an inch) from the body. If you look in the user manual for your DECT cordless home phone, wireless laptop or printer, it will state that the device should be at least 20 cm (approximately 8 inches) away from the body to prevent “exceeding FCC radiation exposure limits”. These instructions are in the user manuals because cell phones and wireless devices are tested for user radiation exposures at those specific distances.
In other words, if you are using a laptop on your lap, you are exposing yourself to untested radiation emissions that could exceed the radiation levels our government regulations presently allow. When you use a device closer than the manufacturer’s distance instructions, you risk exposing yourself to radiation levels that our federal government understands can cause sterility, brain damage and tissue damage. Learn more about the fine print warnings on various devices here.
5. These Fine Print Instructions DO NOT Protect You From All Health Effects.
The instructions buried in your manual are not safe enough. Even if you follow these instructions, you risk your health. Note: radiation exposure at the specified distances is much higher than zero. Accumulating research now shows a myriad of health effects occur at levels far far below (literally tens of thousands times lower than) government regulation limits. Wireless devices were not adequately tested before they came on the market.
6. Research Shows Low Levels Of This Radiation Impact The Brain And Reproductive System.
Wireless radiation has been shown to change brain function even at levels hundreds of thousands of times below federal guidelines. In 2011, Dr. Volkow’s NIH research showed that the brain increased glucose metabolism when exposed to cell phone radiation. Dr. Suleyman Kaplan has published multiple research studies showing damaged brain development in the offspring of prenatally exposed test subjects. Significant research shows that wireless exposures decrease and damage sperm and that prenatal exposure can alter testis and ovarian development. These are just a few examples from a large body of accumulated science which shows effects from cell phone and wireless radiation.
7. Radiation Emitted By Cell Phones And Wireless Is Officially Linked To Cancer.
In 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer first classified cell phone and wireless radiation as a “class 2 B Possible Human Carcinogen” based on these research studies that showed long-term users of cell phones had higher rates of brain cancer on the side of the head where they held the phone.The United States National Toxicology Program completed a $30M study that found “clear evidence” of cancer in male rats exposed to long term low level radio-frequency radiation. Due to these findings, several scientists have published that the weight of current peer reviewed evidence supports the conclusion that radiofrequency radiation should be regarded as a human carcinogen.
8. As The Evidence Linking Wireless Radiation To Cancer Has Significantly Increased Since 2011, Now Scientists State That Cell Phone Wireless Radiation Is A Human Carcinogen.
In 2016, a major US government study found cell phone radiation caused increased cancers (brain and heart nerve) in rats exposed at low levels for two years. The results were stunning because the cancers the rats developed are the same type humans are developing after long term cell phone use.
Furthermore, since 2011, new research studies have been published linking wireless radiation to cancer. CERENAT (a case control national study in France) again showed a statistically significant association between glioma (brain cancer) and long-erm cell phone use. Another study out of Jacobs University (which replicated previous study results) showed that RF acted as a tumor promoter. The study details in its conclusion how, “Numbers of tumors of the lungs and livers in exposed animals were significantly higher than in sham-exposed controls. In addition, lymphomas were also found to be significantly elevated by exposure.”
In light of this published science, several World Health Organization experts are stating that the evidence has now substantially increased. Dr. Anthony B. Miller has testified on the increased evidence, and he and colleagues have written several published papers detailing their opinion and in 2018 he was lead author on a published literature review concluding that cell phone wireless radiation is a human carcinogen. Scientists from Israel researching cancr in radar operators also concluded that the evidence indicates radiofrequency can cause cancer (Peleg 2018.) Dr. Hardell and colleagues have long published papers concluding that that wireless “should be regarded as human carcinogen requiring urgent revision of current exposure guidelines.”
9. Solutions Exist: Hundreds Of Scientists Worldwide Recommend Taking Action To Reduce Exposures To Wireless Devices Because Of The Serious Health Effects From These Devices.
In 2015, a large group of scientists and medical doctors signed onto a formal Appeal to the United Nations and the World Health Organization, calling on them to take immediate action on this issue. This Appeal is now signed by over 250 experts and is published in the International Journal of Oncology.In 2014, a group of U.S. physicians, including the Chief of Obstetrics at Yale Medicine, presented scientific studies at the launch of the BabySafe Project, issuing specific recommendations to pregnant women on how to decrease wireless exposures in order to decrease risks to babies’ brain development. We do not have to give up our technology but we can make smarter choices about the way we use it. Every person can easily decrease exposure to this radiation by making simple changes every day.
10. Government Regulations Are Outdated And Antiquated.
In the United States, the last review for radio frequency limits was in 1996, and the reality is that these are limits are based on research from the 1980s. Many countries are using guidelines developed by the IEEE or ICNIRP—guidelines that have remained unchanged for decades. Those guidelines do not consider the more current science showing harm. Thankfully other countries – over twenty countries- are enacting protections to reduce public exposure to this radiation and have radiation limits far lower than the FCC and ICNIRP. Some have banned Wi-Fi in classsrooms, other have banned cell phones made for young children and others have cell tower limits 100x lower than ICNIRP.Regulations are antiquated because they have not kept pace with the manner in which consumers use devices—usage has changed considerably since 1996. For example, the regulations only consider one radiating device at a time and do not account for a residence, classroom, or workplace, healthcare, retail, recreational and other venues filled with multiple devices. The regulations do not consider that people carry their cell phones tightly in a front pocket of jeans or in a bra. They do not consider that laptops would be placed on laps by schoolchildren in the classroom. Regulations did not consider research that looked at long-term exposures to vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women or to medically compromised individuals. Guidelines were set by only considering the impact to a full-grown man. Many scientists and major medical organizations have written about the inadequacy of these outdated guidelines.
Final Bonus Fact: No Safe Level Of This Radiation Has Been Identified.
Scientific studies have not been done to develop a “safe level” of exposure. The latest science clearly shows that biological effects could occur at non-thermal (non-heating) levels. Science also shows that children and the developing pregnancy are far more vulnerable to these damaging effects. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not do the research necessary to define a safe level that the public can be exposed to without harmful effects.
In a 2015 study (replicating prior scientific findings linking RF to cancer promotion), the researchers state, “Since many of the tumor-promoting effects in our study were seen at low to moderate exposure levels (0.04 and 0.4 W/kg SAR), thus well below exposure limits for the users of mobile phones, further studies are warranted to investigate the underlying mechanisms.” and “We hypothesize that these tumor-promoting effects may be caused by metabolic changes due to exposure. Our findings may help to understand the repeatedly reported increased incidences of brain tumors in heavy users of mobile phones.”
No medical organization has determined a “safe level” of this radiation for long-term exposure to children. In fact, medical organizations worldwide – including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the largest group of children’s doctors in the United States and the Athens Medical Association and Vienna Medical Association – are calling for eliminating and reducing radiofrequency cell phone wireless radiation exposures.
The page I am writing about is on the Australian ABC website, entitled, "You decide Australia’s population, we’ll show you how it looks," by journalist Inga Ting, Mark Doman, Ri Liu and Nathan Hoad. The arguments presented are a kind of demographer's fantasy. Demography is not population science; it is maths and statistics. Maths and statistics are not themselves science. They can be used as much for population science, to test theories, as they can be used for advertising and propaganda. Demographers are often also economists and they usually try to establish trends in population numbers in isolation from the environment, social values, or deep history. What they call population science is usually only economics, which many people think is now practised as a dogma. They do not tend to challenge propaganda and, for this reason, they are very useful for governments and corporate media that want to push peoples' thinking in a certain direction about population. This interactive article on the ABC gets the reader to make certain decisions, comes up with biased feedback, and then invites the reader to change their minds. To be unbiased, this interactive would need to list the positives of lowering population growth. It fails to. It does mention some as opinions, but it does not employ related arguments in its presentation of demographic trends in Australia.
The message of "You decide Australia’s population, we’ll show you how it looks," is that if we choose low immigration, the size of the population over 64 will be greater than the size of the population under 15 yrs old. It compares the size of the post WW2 baby-boomer population, as if this were a norm, with the projected elderly population.
"In 2101, one in eight Australians will be children, compared to nearly one in three in 1960. At the same time, one in three will be 65 or older, compared to one in 10 in 1960."
There are a number of flaws in this.
1. The baby boomer population was the first of its kind, and should not be used as a norm.
2. There is an insistence on maintaining and increasing our current population in Australia and, by implication, everywhere else, but our current populations are the largest by an order of magnitude that have ever existed. They are not 'normal'. They are out of proportion to all human history and other species. They are an exception that is very hard to maintain materially, has many political, energy and biological-ecological problems, and few positives, except in terms of profits made by a few through inflation of resource prices.
3. Comparing numbers of children 15 and under to people over 64 is comparing one arbitrarily selected cohort over a limited number of years - 15 - to another of a larger number of years - 64 to, say, 100 - amounting to 36 years. If we were to compare a similar number of years in the older cohort, we might compare older people in 15 year cohorts, such as people aged 85-100, or people aged 70-85, or people aged 65-80.
4. The dependency ratio of children to adults 64 and over is not cut and dried, not predictable. Elderly people are much less dependent than babies, toddlers, school children, who almost never earn their living. These days children's dependency may last far longer than 15 years. Some people will never find any reliable legal work in our future society, due to the declining affordability and standard of Australia's education system, the effects of industry automation, and competition from immigrants selected for their education and skills.
5. The greatest cost in all cohorts - dependent and independent; children, adults and older adults - is the cost of land for housing and business. These costs are hugely inflated by population growth. If we allowed population growth to slow naturally, then no-one would have to work so hard to have housing, businesses would have much bigger profit margins, wages could fall and people would still have enough money to live well, and the few elderly people who finish up in high dependency care units for long periods of time, would not have to pay nearly so much for their care, because the land and therefore wage costs of those old-age care facilities would be greatly reduced.
This manipulative article talks about 'demographic problems' associated with Japan's population decline, but there were more problems associated with the overpopulation that Japan suffered from, including reliance on nuclear power plants in earthquake and tsunami-prone areas:
Perhaps most alarming, however, is the threat of a shrinking population. In South Korea and Japan, for example, very low birth rates combined with few immigrants and high life expectancy have led to a dwindling workforce and rapidly-growing elderly population. "Demographically these countries are in quite serious trouble," Dr Wilson said.
These 'problems' solve themselves. Expatriots are returning to Japan from Australia because the housing has become affordable again and it is a pleasant place to live. An older population does not need the frantic productivity that a young industrialising one does. The population will presumably return to much lower levels, perhaps those of the Edo period, which was a Japanese social pinnacle, when the country was self-sufficient.
It is the property development lobby that wants population growth and which has lobbied for it since the 1904 Royal Commission into the Decline in the Birth Rate in New South Wales (which was actually caused by men leaving the state to goldmine in Queensland and then in West Australia, but don't tell anyone). If the population growth rate fell now in Australia, then the growth lobby would just shrivel up and die, industry-wise, and we could get on with our actual lives. You can imagine the fuss and bother that the death throws of our malignant growth lobby would cause as they thrashed around in our parliaments and councils, our banks and insurance industries, our mining and road-building industries - but after the dust settled, most of us would be so much wealthier because our cost of living would have plummeted. Necessary industries would continue - as they did in Australia before the two wars, when we built most of the things we now import: cars, aeroplanes, scientific instruments, pharmaceuticals ...
Evolutionary population theory argues that the long-lived elderly people in tribal societies were the repository for knowledge and judgement. If everyone had only lived to thirty years old (as is often supposed) a society would have little capacity to develop culture or complex language. Consider what it may mean to our societies to have people living to one hundred years old and more. It might make the difference between a society that is wrecked by capitalist demands and a society with people who have many years of experience and can identify snake oil because they have heard it before.
Actual dependency: Are treatable illnesses that cause dependency and death in the elderly being systematically overlooked?
With regard to actual dependency in the elderly, as a person with a background in nursing, as well as sociology, I would suggest that we restart Vitamin B12 therapy for people over 60 [and for vegetarians and vegans and new mothers and their children. There is now a higher risk for everyone due to the addition of Folic Acid to our foods.] Diagnosing Alzheimers is not an exact science and I know from experience that much treatable Vitamin B12 deficiency goes under the radar, even while it is resulting in dementia and loss of the ability to walk. [See /node/4463.] There are so many more people in walkers and on electric carts these days. Question them and you will find that almost none have any idea of their Vit B12 status. I would also suggest that we revise our therapeutic levels for these upwards, to at least the Japanese norms. (Note that you can buy high-dose sublingual Vit B12 now which in many cases does the job the injections do.)
I will also just raise here the idea that we should question the use of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) as the ultimate measure of thyroid health as many thyroid sufferers do on various forums growing round the world. We need also to be measuring T4, but especially T3, and taking note that quite a substantial number of people with hypothyroidism do not really improve on T4 replacement alone. Australia used to add iodine to salt, but this was discontinued and tests for iodine are not even rebated, yet our country and our diets are still low in iodine. Few doctors even test for this. Iodine is not the only cause of hypothyroidism, but it is a common cause. Several books have been written by doctors about the need to increase the use of specific hormone testing for suspected thyroid disorders.
I think that ANU Demography Crawford School Unit's professor Peter McDonald's 'coffin-shaped populations' is a case in point. Here is one of many examples: "This is a projection for Australia that leads to the 25 million population in 50 years time and close to zero growth subsequently. The essential difference between the two is that the Sydney population is younger. The Sydney population is beehive-shaped and the rest of Australia is somewhat coffin-shaped. As we shift Melbourne, Brisbane etc from the right side to the left side, this impression would become very pronounced. That is, a projection that provides a reasonable outlook for Australia is the sum of high population growth in the existing cities with considerable ageing and labour supply decline in the non-metropolitan regions. We need more work on this and we shall be doing this as a component of the AHURI study of future housing needs."
Professor McDonald seems to me to truly to believe that Australia must have a continuously growing population to fulfill a continuously industrialising economy based on youthful manpower. The growth lobby and its corporate press reward such theories and present their proponents in a very favourable light. That is why we hear so much from them and so little from the rest. How would a student in Professor McDonald's unit fare if he argued for a small population to keep essential resource costs low and wildlife corridors for native fauna? Would you even enroll in the Canberra Demography unit if you had those views?
This man also advises our ministers and people overseas, including Europe.
"Peter McDonald is Professor of Demography in the Crawford School. He is President of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population for the years, 2010-2013 and is a Member of the Council of Advisers of Population Europe.
He is frequently consulted on the issue of population futures (causes, consequences and policies) by governments around the world, especially in Australia, Europe and East Asia. In 2008, he was appointed as a Member in the Order of Australia. He is Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research. In 2012, he was appointed as an inaugural ANU Public Policy Fellow. He is a member of the Australian Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration. He has worked previously at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the World Fertility Survey and the University of Indonesia." https://crawford.anu.edu.au/people/visitors/peter-mcdonald
 See Tony Boys, "How will Japan feed itself without fossil energy?" in Sheila Newman (Ed.) The Final Energy Crisis, 2nd Ed. 2018.
 See, Sheila Newman, The Growth Lobby in Australia and its Absence in France, Chapter 6, Thesis minus 6 appendices.
From the Minister for the Aged:
I need to let you people know that you have had it pretty good so far but you cannot expect things to continue as they are. You Baby Boomers are in fact an impending liability on the country. Having said that (and in a way, I wish I hadn't) you are probably mostly still in the workforce, but think what a drain you will be when you have finished your useful, paid, working life. I warn you that you will all need to pull in your belts, in the interest of Team Australia (pardon the expression but it is so very suitable in this context!)
Necessary reality check
There are the three areas where the expectations built up over your working lives will need to undergo a reality check.
1. Aged Pension
The first is superannuation. You thought that superannuation was a good way to save for your retirement and you have been saving in this way for at least two decades. Well, in fact, this has been very selfish of you as putting money away for 30 years (instead of using it for holidays or to buy a house) has given you a tax break. So although you are saving for your own retirement so as not to be on an Age Pension when you retire, there is no need to feel any satisfaction about this because you have been doing this at the tax payer’s expense! The country cannot afford this rort that you have been willingly participating in, thinking you have been doing the right thing. Your gains need to be clawed back! Just watch this space for what is in store for you,.... you greedy hoarders.
Now we don’t want you on the Age Pension and we don’t want you to accumulate too much money in "super" for your retirement either. At least not with the tax advantages (although without the tax advantages you probably wouldn’t want to tie money up in “super", anyway). We, the government actually don’t know what we want you to do so we’ll just do something to superannuation and see how you all react.
If, after all this, you can’t afford to go on living at any point , the problem will probably take care of itself.
2. Health insurance
This brings me to the second area of consideration, which is health insurance.
Many of you have been paying into Private Health Insurance for decades as well. As you know, Medibank Private is now living up to its name. It has now actually been privatised (November 2015). As a business and in the interests of its shareholders, it cannot afford to carry risky cohorts and I’m afraid that you people either are becoming or about to become too risky. It doesn’t matter that while you were young and healthy you kept paying premiums to Medibank Private and never made a claim. Your attitude, that you were happy not to make a claim and that you felt you were contributing so that others, less fortunate with their health, could, was very sporting. Once again, however, a reality check is needed. Medibank Private, and I’m sure, the other private health funds, need to assess their risks and charge appropriate premiums for certain risk groups. As I have just said, you, as the now aged or soon to be aged, are high risk!
Things go wrong more often with older people and this is a burden on the country. In the case of health insurance, it is also a burden on other policy holders and potentially to shareholders. You need to pay a price that reflects your risk as an aged or soon to be aged person to the insurer. If this means that you can no longer afford the premiums (they will be steep, I can tell you) then you will need to fall back on the public system and I can also tell you that the public system does not want you! No, the public system is overwhelmed with treating young locals and backpackers from all over the world in their emergency departments, not to mention stabbings, king hittings and other casualties of drunken or drugged youthful exuberance. As I have said, this problem may take care of itself: if you are lying on a stretcher in a corridor, having been triaged as low priority, you may not survive and that will be a blessing to the system.
Planning your Exit Strategy
It is so opportune that there is a group called “Exit” who are in favour of people being quietly assisted to exit this mortal coil ahead of their allotted moment. If they could get some more traction, I personally (and mark you I don’t speak for the government on this) feel that this could save billions from the national health bill. Think seriously about this as you could make your exit maybe even ten years ahead of schedule and it would do wonders for the median age of the population. You can be assured that you are very easily replaced with much younger people from other countries with many years of work left in them.
If there were a move for people to go for the ten year earlier exit, that would leave a lot of houses in the suburbs where people want to live and send their children to school. It would be a win-win. Of course you wouldn’t be here to win, but just before your exit, I’m sure you would have a feeling of satisfaction that you had done your bit.
3. Driving tests for over-70s
The third area where we need to trim the fat is on our overcrowded roads. Thus we are seriously thinking of making everyone over 70 do the drivers license test again. Now I must warn you that it won’t be the breeze it was when you were pretty and 18 years old. No, no-one will be charmed by you. In fact the police who test you may well be badly disposed towards you and enjoy the power of their position in the testing situation. They have all heard how greedy the Baby Boomers are and how they took more than their share and wouldn’t move out of their houses when gently persuaded by Bernard Salt, and not so gently persuaded by fast rising council rates!
Oh dear, I just realised that I am in fact a "soon to be elderly," myself at the age of 56. Oh Hell! But I don’t really have to worry as I will receive an enormous, very generously indexed taxpayer-funded Parliamentary pension for life. Because of my position I can probably avoid the driving test! Anyway, I have a chauffeur.
"Why are you picking on senior drivers?” I hear you ask. Well, you will have declined in ability, you might pass out at the wheel.
"But the percentage of drivers having accidents is actually lower in older people,” I hear you say. I don’t care, it’s intuitive and I’m sticking to it. It’s not always a matter of statistics but of common sense and economic rationalism. If all drivers of 70 and over are required to take a diving test, think of the revenue for State Road authorities, for the police, even perhaps for driving instructors. It would add to GDP. The possibilities are endless!
I see some very dissatisfied faces in the audience. Sir, you object to the need to go for your license again on the grounds that you run a company with $5 million per year turnover and that you have made some of your best business decisions in the last 12 months. Yes, you would be required to do your driver’s license test again. Whilst I will admit that your business achievements auger well for your cognitive abilities, in fairness we will have to include everyone - no exceptions...
...oh except for people like me of course!
This article was at first a comment. Thanks, Matilda B. Emphasis added by me. - Editor
Dairy has been reported to increase the risk of developing prostate cancer in numerous studies. Billions of people throughout the world do not consume excess dairy after weaning and have strong bones, and Westerners eating large amounts of dairy and calcium supplements are not less likely to develop osteoporosis. Plus, dairy products can be high in saturated fat as well as retinol (vitamin A), which at high levels can paradoxically weaken bones.
Eating less saturated fat, found in meat and regular dairy products like whole milk and cheese, can help control high cholesterol. Low- or no-fat dairy products are better sources of calcium and protein.
Plus, critics say, cow’s milk is designed for, well, calves.
Although the calcium and protein in milk are important nutrients, proof that dairy sources of calcium are required for strong bones is weak. Populations that eat little or no dairy do not have higher rates of osteoporosis. A low-fat vegetarian diet that eliminates dairy products, in combination with exercise, smoking cessation, and stress management, can not only prevent heart disease, but may also reverse it.
Epidemiological studies of various countries show a strong correlation between the use of dairy products and the incidence of insulin-dependent diabetes. Researchers in 1992 found that a specific dairy protein sparks an auto-immune reaction, which is believed to be what destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.
The study, led by Dr Honglei Chen of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Massachusetts, found that dietary intake of dairy products is associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson's in men, but not in women.
"It would be hard to think of a worse vehicle for delivering calcium to the body" Dr. Neal D. Barnard MD.
The China Study (the biggest study of nutrition ever undertaken) showed that a diet which avoids meat, fish and dairy products is the healthiest in terms of longevity and avoidance of disease.
The dairy industry is also environmentally costly.
Using the 'dairy products' sector the environmental benefits of reducing your dairy consumption by half are as follows:
- Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions – 1,270.2 kg CO2 p.a.
- Reduction in water use – 421,080 litres p.a.
- Reduction in land disturbance - 2,459 m2 or 0.246 hectares p.a.
(2005 University of NSW and CSIRO)
The impact of animal welfare on dairy cows, and their calves, is not healthy for them either.
The increasing popularity of soy milk speaks for itself, and it is only a matter of adjusting taste buds. The economic weight of the dairy industry will ensure that soy is maligned. We have strong traditions relating to foods, supported by socio-political-historical pressures.
This was at first a comment by Matilda B. Thanks, Matilda. Emphasis added by me. - Editor
This important statement from the Public Health Association of Australia came out in November last year but has been overlooked. It should be emphasised that the Public Health Association does not make press releases like this lightly. The entire document can be downloaded here.
Time for leadership on Australia’s population growth
The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) is calling on Federal and State Governments to develop sustainable population policies to curb the associated population health and environmental risks.
“Australia’s population is projected to grow from the current 22 million to 35 million people by 2049 unless urgent action is taken now. Given the dramatic impacts that population growth has on health and environmental sustainability, it is hard to believe that Australia still has no population policy -- it is well past time to develop one,” according to Michael Moore the CEO of the PHAA.
More population will dramatically impact on food security, housing, mental health ...
PHAA spokesperson Dr Peter Howat of the PHAA said: “The projected 60% increase in the population in just 40 years will have a dramatic impact across many areas of service provision including hospitals and other health care services. The impact will extend to food security, nutrition, affordable housing, transport, education, stress and depression with the changing demography of Australia’s population”.
More population will negate any reduction of Australia's carbon footprint
Importantly, this rate of population growth would also effectively negate any achievements in reducing Australia’s carbon footprint. Yesterday the United Nations released its State of the World Population 2009 identifying population growth projections between 8 billion and 10.5 billion people by 2050. The report also identified ‘the key point is that women and men themselves, not Governments or any other institutions, make decisions on childbearing that contribute to an environmentally sustainable human population’.
PHAA spokesperson Dr Liz Hanna added:
“Population growth of this scale will magnify environmental impacts including climate change, drought, and soil degradation and will dilute all the health benefits of migration, including access to education, health care and employment. On the other hand, stabilising population growth would have many benefits for both health and environment.”
Policy to curb overpopulation risks now critical
Dr Howat noted that: “It is now critical that all our Federal and State Governments develop sustainable population policies to curb the risks associated with the social, economic and environmental instability that result from rapid and unsustainable population growth. Population policies must be developed to assure the equitable provision of services and infrastructure. With careful planning, there is a greater likelihood that the already vulnerable members of our communities -- including Indigenous people, recent migrants, non-English speaking people, single parents, unemployed, homeless and other low income people will not be further disadvantaged.”
Emphasis placed on need for OBJECTIVE inquiry
Mr Moore emphasised “The PHAA is calling for leadership from the Australian Government to commission an objective inquiry into Australia’s population policy options in order to develop a sensible population policy”.
For further information:
see PHAA Sustainable Population Policy http://www.phaa.net.au/documents/20091028SustainablePopulationforAustraliafinal.pdf
Source: PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA MEDIA RELEASE www.phaa.net.au 18 November 2009
For further comment:
Michael Moore CEO PHAA
Dr Peter Howat, PHAA Spokesperson (Perth)
Dr Liz Hanna, Environmental Health Special Interest Group Spokesperson (ACT)
The Medical Journal of Australia has published an article which looks at the devastating impact of population growth on public hospitals in Australia, as well as the more general impact of increased urbanisation, urban sprawl, and the reduced 'walkability' of neighbourhoods.
Here is an extract focusing on the problems public hospitals are already having coping with the demands of the current population.
"The Garling inquiry concluded in 2008 that the New South Wales health system is in a state of crisis. This finding also applies to the rest of the states, with the possible exception of Victoria.
An independent analysis by the Australian Medical Association has concluded that Australian public hospitals are dysfunctional, operating at full or above-full capacity, and urgently in need of increased capital funding. An important finding was that major metropolitan teaching hospitals operate on a bed occupancy rate of 95% or above. The report noted that hospital overcrowding was the most serious cause of reduced patient safety.
It is clear that, even at Australia’s current population ...[*16A] the public health system is struggling to cope with demand. Changes will be required to deal with a vastly increased, yet still ageing, population and the attendant multiple comorbidities, many attributable to increased urbanisation.
Practical measures might include disinvestment (reallocating health resources from existing practices, procedures, technologies, and pharmaceuticals that do not deliver much health gain for their cost); investing in prevention; increasing the health workforce; and emphasising community health. Other measures might include increasing the role of practice nurses and expanding the role of pharmacists.
The increasing pressure on health services as a result of increased immigration might provide further motivation for a move to a single level of funding, with the federal government taking over responsibility for hospitals from the states. At the very least, this might end the “blame game” and cost-shifting that currently blights the system.
In his 2004 documentary Super size me, Morgan Spurlock suffered severe adverse health consequences after a 30-day period of eating super-sized meals at McDonald’s.16 Prime Minister Rudd’s vision of a super-sized Australia, while it might have some short-term economic benefits, will put further strain on the health system.
The plan to dramatically increase the population of Australia has to be debated and critically evaluated, and a population policy must be developed. In particular, health care professionals must engage with the federal government to ensure that it commits to and delivers on comprehensive national health and hospital reform, matching its appetite for unfettered, economically expedient migration to this country.
If this is not done, we — the citizens of a “big Australia” — will all, like Spurlock, suffer the damaging health consequences of super sizing."
 Garling P. Final report of the Special Commission of Inquiry: acute care services in NSW public hospitals. Sydney: New South Wales Government, 2008. http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lawlink/Special_Projects/ll_splprojects.nsf/pages/acsi_finalreport (accessed Aug 2009).
 Penington DG. Does the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission have a real answer for public hospitals? Med J Aust 2009; 191: 446-447.
 Australian Medical Association. AMA public hospital report card 2009: an AMA analysis of Australia’s public hospital system. http://www.ama.com.au/node/5030 (accessed Mar 2010).
 Gregory AT. A counterweight to fast-food advertising [film review]. Med J Aust 2004; 180: 590.
[*16A] The author, writing at the end of 2009, underestimates Australia's population by about 2 million people, so we have left this number out. Australia's population was estimated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to be 22,306,143 on 13 April 2010 at 05:45:22 AM (Canberra time). Refer to the ABS population clock here: hhttp://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/94713ad445ff1425ca25682000192af2/1647509ef7e25faaca2568a900154b63?OpenDocument
Deborah Pelser, "Super size me: is a big Australia good for our health?"
Photo Source: http://www.vaccineinformation.org/photos/flu_afp001a.jpg
In response to cases of swine influenza A(H1N1), reported in Mexico and the United States of America, the Director-General convened a meeting of the Emergency Committee to assess the situation and advise her on appropriate responses.
The establishment of the Committee, which is composed of international experts in a variety of disciplines, is in compliance with the International Health Regulations (2005).
The first meeting of the Emergency Committee was held on Saturday 25 April 2009.
After reviewing available data on the current situation, Committee members identified a number of gaps in knowledge about the clinical features, epidemiology, and virology of reported cases and the appropriate responses.
The Committee advised that answers to several specific questions were needed to facilitate its work.
The Committee nevertheless agreed that the current situation constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
Based on this advice, the Director-General has determined that the current events constitute a public health emergency of international concern, under the Regulations.
Concerning public health measures, in line with the Regulations the Director-General is recommending, on the advice of the Committee, that all countries intensify surveillance for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia.
The Committee further agreed that more information is needed before a decision could be made concerning the appropriateness of the current phase 3.
Candobetter Editor's comment: The above quote from the committee about more information being needed means that the Stage 3 alert is current until further information either upgrades or downgrades it.
Current WHO phase of pandemic alert
Current WHO phase of pandemic alert and current phase of alert in the WHO global influenza preparedness plan
Experts at WHO and elsewhere believe that the world is now closer to another influenza pandemic than at any time since 1968, when the last of the previous century's three pandemics occurred. WHO uses a series of six phases of pandemic alert as a system for informing the world of the seriousness of the threat and of the need to launch progressively more intense preparedness activities.
The designation of phases, including decisions on when to move from one phase to another, is made by the Director-General of WHO.
Each phase of alert coincides with a series of recommended activities to be undertaken by WHO, the international community, governments, and industry. Changes from one phase to another are triggered by several factors, which include the epidemiological behaviour of the disease and the characteristics of circulating viruses.
The world is presently in phase 3: a new influenza virus subtype is causing disease in humans, but is not yet spreading efficiently and sustainably among humans.
Food garden in White House
In the aftermath of breaking ground on the new, 1100 square foot White House garden, Michelle Obama named chef Sam Kass to head the White House Food Initiative. And Kass isn't a fan of big agriculture and mass fertilisers.
All of this positive PR for organics feels very threatening to Big Ag. So one group, the Mid America CropLife Association, has sent an email defending chemical ag to Mrs. Obama. See the letter reprinted below.
After sending the letter, MACA forwarded it around to others, with the following message:
"Did you hear the news? The White House is planning to have an "organic" garden on the grounds to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for the Obama's and their guests. While a garden is a great idea, the thought of it being organic made Janet Braun, CropLife Ambassador Coordinator and I shudder. As a result, we sent a letter encouraging them to consider using crop protection products and to recognize the importance of agriculture to the entire U.S. economy. Read below for the entire letter.
If you want to send your own letter, it can be sent to the White House ..."
Except one person on the forward list didn't shudder at the idea of an organic garden - and that's how the letter reached the person who sent it on. Here it is:
Letter from Big Ag
"March 26, 2009
Mrs. Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mrs. Obama,
We are writing regarding the garden recently added to the White House grounds to ensure a fresh supply of fruits and vegetables to your family, guests and staff. Congratulations on recognizing the importance of agriculture in America! The U.S. has the safest and most abundant food supply in the world thanks to the 3 million people who farm or ranch in the United States.
The CropLife Ambassador Network, a program of the Mid America CropLife Association, consists of over 160 ambassadors who work and many of whom grew up in agriculture. Their mission is to provide scientifically based, accurate information to the public regarding the safety and value of American agricultural food production. Many people, especially children, don't realize the extent to which their daily lives depend on America's agricultural industry. For instance, children are unaware the jeans they put on in the morning, the three meals eaten daily, the baseball with which they play and even the biofuels that power the school bus are available because of America's farmers and ranchers.
Agriculture is the largest industry in America generating 20% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. Individuals, family partnerships or family corporations operate almost 99% of U.S. farms. Over 22 million people are employed in farm-related jobs, including production agriculture, farm inputs, processing and marketing and sales. Through research and changes in production practices, today's food producers are providing Americans with the widest variety of foods ever.
Starting in the early 1900's, technology advances have allowed farmers to continually produce more food on less land while using less human labor. Over time, Americans were able to leave the time-consuming demands of farming to pursue new interests and develop new abilities. Today, an average farmer produces enough food to feed 144 Americans who are living longer lives than many of their ancestors. Technology in agriculture has allowed for the development of much of what we know and use in our lives today. If Americans were still required to farm to support their family's basic food and fiber needs, would the U.S. have been leaders in the advancement of science, communication, education, medicine, transportation and the arts?
We live in a very different world than that of our grandparents. Americans are juggling jobs with the needs of children and aging parents. The time needed to tend a garden is not there for the majority of our citizens, certainly not a garden of sufficient productivity to supply much of a family's year-round food needs.
Much of the food considered not wholesome or tasty is the result of how it is stored or prepared rather than how it is grown. Fresh foods grown conventionally are wholesome and flavorful yet more economical. Local and conventional farming is not mutually exclusive. However, a Midwest mother whose child loves strawberries, a good source of Vitamin C, appreciates the ability to offer California strawberries in March a few months before the official Mid-west season.
Farmers and ranchers are the first environmentalists, maintaining and improving the soil and natural resources to pass onto future generations. Technology allows for farmers to meet the increasing demand for food and fiber in a sustainable manner.
Farmers use reduced tillage practices on more than 72 million acres to prevent erosion.
Farmers maintain over 1.3 million acres of grass waterways, allowing water to flow naturally from crops without eroding soil.
Contour farming keeps soil from washing away. About 26 million acres in the U.S. are managed this way.
Agricultural land provides habitat for 75% of the nation's wildlife.
Precision farming boosts crop yields and reduces waste by using satellite maps and computers to match seed, fertilizer and crop protection applications to local soil conditions.
Sophisticated Global Positioning Systems can be specifically designed for spraying pesticides. A weed detector equipped with infrared light identifies specific plants by the different rates of light they reflect and then sends a signal to a pump to spray a preset amount of herbicide onto the weed.
Biogenetics allows a particular trait to be implanted directly into the seed to protect the seed against certain pests.
Farmers are utilizing 4-wheel drive tractors with up to 300 horsepower requiring fewer passes across fields-saving energy and time.
Huge combines are speeding the time it takes to harvest crops.
With modern methods, 1 acre of land in the U.S. can produce 42,000 lbs. of strawberries, 110,000 heads of lettuce, 25,400 lbs. of potatoes, 8,900 lbs. of sweet corn, or 640 lbs of cotton lint.
As you go about planning and planting the White House garden, we respectfully encourage you to recognize the role conventional agriculture plays in the U.S in feeding the ever-increasing population, contributing to the U.S. economy and providing a safe and economical food supply. America's farmers understand crop protection technologies are supported by sound scientific research and innovation.
The CropLife Ambassador Network offers educational programs for elementary school educators at http://ambassador.maca.org covering the science behind crop protection products and their contribution to sustainable agriculture. You may find our programs America's Abundance, Farmers Stewards of the Land and War of the Weeds of particular interest. We thank you for recognizing the importance and value of America's current agricultural technologies in feeding our country and contributing to the U.S economy.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Bonnie McCarvel, Executive Director
Janet Braun, Program Coordinator
Mid America CropLife Association
11327 Gravois Rd., #201
St. Louis, MO 63126"
Real proportion of farmers in the US
Note that Christopher Cook, in Diet for a dead planet gives the number of farmers in the US at around 2 million only now, and he comments that this is fewer than the number of Americans in prison.
As for big ag being environmentally caring ....!
Listen to the interview with him about his research for many more realities of the unsustainable and depraved basis of our industrial economy - currently worst of all in the US but quickly turning Australia into something very similar.
As for the claims made by Big Ag above about the time needed to tend a garden - well, it certainly takes a lot longer to work to buy food and the car to tote it from the supermarket than it takes to produce enough for one person to eat! And it's a lot more enjoyable. What is hard is making a big profit out of agriculture, but that's not what you and I are necessarily seeking when we plant an easy to maintain orchard and a few vegetables. I am so over hearing how hard gardening is. Once everyone did it and had plenty of time to spare.
See also: discussion on the Life After the Oil Crash Forum
No-one with their eyes and ears open could miss the fact that economic and material prognostics are all pointing downwards for the world economy. Some may turn to fortune tellers and stock-market analysts, or even listen to politicians, at these times, but do any objective measures actually exist? A study in 2003 seems very pertinent today.
What do thermometers and spygmanometers actually measure when a physician uses them to test one person's health? They actually measure outward signs of microstates in the human body in thermodynamic terms of temperature and pressure. The measurements only mean something when compared to a range of averages over a wide number of bodies.
Taking a similar approach, but applying it to entire species, marine ecologists, Charles Fowler and Larry Hobbs, worked out a series of tests to assess the health and prognosis of our species and others in, "Is Humanity Sustainable?"
They wrote, "Avoiding abnormal or pathological conditions has long been standard practice in medicine. In recent decades, this has become recognized as a critically important tenet of management at all levels of biological organization. That is, management and restoration have the objective of keeping components of complex systems (e.g. individuals, species, ecosystems and the biosphere) within their normal range of natural variation in much the same way we do medically with body temperature, body mass, pulse or blood pressure for the individual human."
Objective assessment requires, of course, that humans be considered as "part of ecosystems and the biosphere, subject to the same natural laws and benefiting from the same supporting services as other species."
Does Homo sapiens fall "within the spectrum of variation observed among species"? Fowler and Hobbs tried to test whether the human species falls within the normal range for comparable species, using a range of measures that are also applicable to other species.
This scientific study proposed that the "principles and tenets of [good] management require action to avoid sustained abnormal/pathological conditions. For the sustainability of interactive systems, each system should fall within its normal range of natural variation."
"This applies to individuals (as for fevers and hypertension, in medicine), populations (e.g. outbreaks of crop pests in agriculture), species (e.g. the rarity of endangerment in conservation) and ecosystems (e.g. abnormally low productivity or diversity in 'ecosystem-based management')."
Almost every test showed that the human species was not ecologically normal. Tendencies in the human species usually varied way beyond the safe range.
The authors wrote, "For example, our population size, CO2 production, energy use, biomass consumption and geographical range size differ from those of other species by orders of magnitude."
These differences must have practical consequences, but these are not well known.
The full study may be downloaded at http://journals.royalsociety.org/content/cnvwhur9u2crk6le/fulltext.pdf
If the Canada of 1965 could have been preserved in aspic its medicare system might have been viable. But how is it now to contend with the massive numbers who make major claims on hospital services? Tim Murray, Director of Immigration Watch Canada describes the strains that runaway immigration levels have placed on Canada's health system.
A cynic might characterize Canada's medicare system as the universal, free, democratic and egalitarian access to a two-year waiting list. You jump the queue only if you have the bucks and the referral to jump over the 49th unless a life-threatening emergency sends you to the OR.
America's health care system on the other hand is discriminatory and expensive, but it offers immediate access to the best medical treatment in the world.
In both cases timely care for everyone is an elusive goal.
In any event Michael Moore's take on Canada is superficial, euphoric and unrealistic. New technology, abuse and the insatiable demands of an ever expanding clientele of elderly relatives sponsored by Third World immigrants is breaking the bank. It has been calculated that each sponsored immigrant in that age group will cost the Australian medical system $250,000. Since roughly 75% of Canadian immigrants and refugees, drawn from largely "non-traditional" sources, in fact consist of their unskilled dependent children, a terrifying portrait of the toll that Canadian immigration policy is taking on medicare could no doubt be drawn.
A recent article featured in the London Free Press (Thursday, March 13, 2008 "Hospitals forecast deficits") recognized population growth as one principal reason why the Canadian health system was on the brink of deficit financing, with half of Ontario's hospitals facing service cuts to meet the legal requirement for a balanced budget. Seventy percent of Canada's population growth is driven by immigration.
It was economist Milton Friedman who commented a decade ago that "It's just obvious that you can't have free immigration and a welfare state." As Robert Rector explained, to be properly understood, Friedman's observation should be viewed as applicable to the entire redistributive system of benefits, subsidies and services that lower income groups disproportionately enjoy at the expense of higher income groups.
Unfortunately this superstructure of benefits and services rests not only on an economic foundation but a cultural one as well. A people that is very much alike is more inclined to trust one another, and this trust translates into a willingness to vote for redistributive policies. But we are no longer a mostly ethnically homogeneous society with a shared respect for institutions and a shared sense of civic obligation. When a significant portion of the population is from another hemisphere, another culture or even another generation with different values, the welfare state is perceived as an unlocked candy store with services to be exploited to the maximum.
Redistributive policies like medicare are inversely correlated to cultural diversity. Rather than confront this reality, Canadian leftists demand yet more financial IV injections into the morbid body of the health care system. They refuse to acknowledge that even the Swedish Social Democrats, their role models, were forced to discover the "Laffer curve". That is, push the tax rate up beyond a certain level and tax revenues fall in response. Tax payers will not keep working and producing if they can't keep enough of their income. There are limits to what can be funded.
The Canadian model is not sustainable. It works only if there is enough public money to fund it and not enough patients with doctors to help them abuse it.
Those days are gone forever
Across Australia and indeed, the World, the nursing system is in crisis. Around the Globe, there remains a chronic shortage of nurses. This shortage is caused by many factors including cost cutting measures, lack of educational opportunities in universities and collages, diminished opportunity for advancement and the low pay rates of nurses compared to other professions.
On top of the above, the Australian nursing workforce is currently experiencing an attack of unprecedented proportions from the Federal Government in the form of "Workchoices". The effects of Workchoices have been felt most immediately in the private nursing sector where nurses have been sacked for "operational reasons" which is perfectly legal under Workchoices and been replaced with lower paid Personal Care Attendants (PCA's) and Assistants in Nursing (AIN's). To add insult to injury, some Division 2 nurses in Victoria (EN's in other States) have been dismissed from their roles in aged care facilities for operational reasons, only to be asked to resume work as lower paid AIN's or PCA's, a move that has infuriated effected nurses and their colleagues. This situation could not have happened prior to the introduction of Workchoices. Howard's life long desire to attack ordinary people doing extraordinary jobs has finally been achieved.
One of the saddest aspects of the above situation is that those Division 2 nurses have paid their own way through a course that was meant to set them up for life and now find themselves in a precarious position in that should they decide to take up positions as AIN's or PCA's, but chose to keep their Div. 2 registration, they're actually working outside of regulatory guidelines and can be penalized as a result. They are now left with three choices:
- Update their qualifications, once again at their own expense,
- apply to be de-registered by the Nurses Board of Victoria,
- or to continue to work in full knowledge that they are working outside of their "scope of practice".
Those who choose the latter are leaving themselves open to serious consequences, but some may be tempted to do so hoping that they might obtain work in another facility where their current registration will be required.
Those who choose to become de-registered or let their registration lapse will become a disillusioned group of workers affected by despondency and low moral. Many will simply leave the system altogether causing further shortages, particularly in the area of aged care.
Those who choose to update their qualifications will face the prospect of competition against young school leavers for limited university places since many of these displaced nurses are in an older age bracket. Being "mature aged" often means juggling household responsibilities with the demands of education should they be fortunate enough to obtain a place in a Bachelor of Nursing university course. Some find this an impossible situation and become those amongst the statistics of early "drop-out." Added to this is the cost of a university placing. In Victoria, the figure to complete the Bachelor of Nursing course is around $12,000, not including certain necessary books, most of which come at a high price due to their specialty and low volume sales.
However, should one of these affected nurses find sufficient drive to complete the course, the newly registered nurses now finds themselves up against Howard's abominable "Workchoices."
Under "WorkChoices", power is given largely to employers and whilst it can be said that these new laws don't appear to be affecting the greater percentage of the working population at present, we have to remember that Australia is currently experiencing a period of unprecedented prosperity, due largely to current Government practices which have turned our beautiful country into a giant quarry in it's bid to cash in on the Worldwide rush to embrace unsustainable economic growth. History will repeat and just like the size of a balloon, the bigger this economic bubble is allowed to grow, the bigger the bang when the bubble is finally pricked. That's when Howard's Workchoices will do their most damage. Then, all the rhetoric of Government and big business advertising will be shown up for what it is, one huge lie! A company will be allowed to take the easy way out and sack unwanted workers, even those who command top positions will be vulnerable. So too with nurses! After the bubble bursts, it will simply be a matter of time before hospitals and nursing homes use the power of Workchoices to further downsize their nursing workforce in order to prop up their profits whilst adding further to the nursing crisis.
This will be a terrible shame because most people don't become nurses for the money, especially in the private sector where nurses receive on average $250 a week less than their counterparts in other areas. Also, nursing wages fall far below that of someone driving a truck in a mine, or doing shift work in many factories. Even in the public system, the average wage of a Div.2 nurse can be just $19.75 an hour (permanent position) which is little better than the Governments own minimum allowable rate of approximately $16.25 an hour. A Div.1 nurse fares little better considering all the study undertaken to achieve this professional status, not to mention the added cost of education.
I haven't always been a Labor voter and until recently was deceived into believing the rhetoric and outright lies of the Coalition when they say "they" are the "better economic managers." If you repeat a lie often enough not only will you believe it yourself, but others that hear it often enough will believe it too. This has been the legacy of the Howard led Government. A litany of supplications has been pervading the Australian political landscape since the Howard Government came to power in 1996. I strongly urge Australian voters to put an end to the lies and secrete mandates of the Howard Government at the coming elections. Put an end to the reign of a man who conceals lies with "core" and "non-core" promises.
As for the nursing profession, should the Coalition again win another three years in power, I'm quite certain that in the not too distant future, many Liberal voters will come to wonder just why, when they push the call button from their hospital or nursing home bed, no nurse comes to their aid, for should the Coalition retain power at the 2007 elections, nursing will be a good profession to avoid or to escape from. Whilst the nursing profession currently thinks more about patient care than the comparatively low financial rewards involved, there will come a breaking point when nurses will leave the profession in droves, never to return.