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Irony Alert!: This blog may be a tad contrary.

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June 22, 2007



Back to work for me too, but thanks El. This is very much appreciated.


Thanks, el, for the local perspective. I've been waiting to see your take on all this.

Our opinions align on this. Recognising the crisis - at last. The proposed solution - pie in the sky consorting oddly with punitive dog-whistling.


Yes, i've read yours too & agree with what you're saying about land and sex abuse. I've been trying to keep up with all the commentary flying (not a good week for me, timewise, so very few comments). I think Malcolm Fraser & Lowitja O'Donoghue's response (in Crikey) is very good and hits the right tone for public debate.


Thanks for this El. I feel far to ignorant to comment but wanted to see what you had to say. The whole thing seems extraordinary to me, similar to our response in the Middle East - years of inaction while things escalate followed by the excitement and kudos of completely destroying a culture in the name of 'emergency'.


Being seen to do something is where it's at.
Slightly better than doing nothing at all.

About doctors though - why should they be forced to work where they don't want to. Tamworth can't get a doctor, so what hope to tiny places have.

And in place with only one doctor, that doctor has to remain single for the duration of their stay - this is not imposed on anyone else. (perhaps psychologists etc). Fraternising with patients is not allowed, but if there is only one doctor, the whole town are potential patients.

This whole access to health facilities issue is a problem everywhere, although obviously worse in remote towns.

I can't understand why we're not training zillions more doctors while we're in an economic boom.

Anyway - off topic a bit, but the standard and availability of health services everywhere is starting to become a bit of an obsession of mine....


Well why should teachers be forced to work in places they don't want to?

Huge packages and enticements have to be offered Australian doctors to work in remote areas. Equivalent packages are not offered to nurses (the health proletariat) or allied health professionals. Something like 80 % of doctors in Alice are 'OTD's -- overseas trained doctors. There's no bulk billing; you have to plan ahead if you want to see a GP (like phone a week in advance) and it's generally more expensive than in an urban centre.

Who knows? Doctors might actually learn something outside the eastern suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne, like about the effects of marginalisation and poverty.

Don't get me started. I'm with you about the falling standard and availability of health services.


P.S. Friends of mine at the Land Council did their own considered analysis of the recommendations from the Report. They reckon Johnny Howard's response addresses 2.5 % of them.


Thanks, elsewhere, for taking the time to deliver us such a detailed and considered response. On Clare Martin - you may be right, but she did inherit a pretty big and entrenched bag'o'worms.


Well I'm urban (National Capital) and there is no bulk billing here either. Well there are some - in those sort of medical clinics, where you have to sit all day waiting to see any old doctor. And many doctors have closed their books, so finding a 'family doctor' is not easy. And getting a same day appointment is a thing of the past too.

If it is this bad here, I can only imagine what it is like in small towns.

Surely part of the answer is more doctors, not just trying to force the existing ones to do more, and do time in rural areas etc.

Jennifer (Penguin)

Thanks Elsewhere, I've been looking forward to seeing what you think about this. Interesting that what you've done - compared the recommendations in the report with the actions the government is taking hasn't been done anywhere I've seen in the mainstream media. Seems a fairly sensible way to attack the dichotomy between agreeing that something should be done and disagreeing with the detail.

On doctors, there must be somewhere in the country that you can bulk bill - somewhere around 70% of GP visits are bulkbilled. And anecdotally, I'd say its more likely to be in the cities than the country towns (my friends who lived in Broken Hill for a while had Elsewhere's experience).


Apparently in Adelaide all kids under 12 are bulk billed everywhere!
And I think Syd/Melb do ok.
Canberra should really be classed as an area of need, with the almost non-existent bulk billing here, and general shortage of doctors, but because people love to hate Canberra it will never happen.


Thanks, people.

The PM keeps on saying today that the police are going to restore 'law and order' to the communities and that this is what is fundamentally needed. But this really seems quite contradictory, given all his talk about wanting to end 'dependency'. I can't see that this isn't going to create just another regime of coercion and dependency; they certainly don't seem to have any plans to keep build community governance.

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