I'm pretending today is Thursday, so I'm not in work (though I will be tomorrow). I got up at 7:30 this morning and was a bit wobbly so I went back to bed. Dozed of again and next thing it was 9:30! Eeep! So I've had a lazy morning and 2 cups of coffee while I caught up on LJ and read the paper. Some interesting stuff in the pages today (to steal Alex's dad's expression).
First off the rank we have a headline story about the federal government dedicating a shite-load more funding to mental health services
, making it easier for people to get mental health referals from their GPs and some assistance with costs. While on the surface this is excellent news (A friend of mine is a psychologist in a regional area. They have 1 computer between 6 staff and no internet access.), attention needs to be paid to the causes of the recent increase in mental health disorders (interesting that mental health problems are increasing along with the economy strengthening and us Aussies apparently being wealthier than ever, eh?). Treating the symptoms is all well and good, but the costs will continue to sprial unless the causes are addressed. And no, I'm not talking about tougher anti-drug enforcement.
Mental health disorder figures are a pretty good measure of social failure. Look at the corresponding changes to society: increasingly mobile work-force as jobs become temporary and contract-based, lack of financial security that comes with contract work, the increasing costs of tertiary education, increasing working hours (without commensurate pay), increasing social dislocation, yadda, yadda, yadda. So I guess it's a step in the right direction, but I don't think our current 'regime'
will ever start to tackle to sources. In fact, with the ironically names "work choices" bill, I predict rates of mental illness to keep increasing.
From there I'll skip to an opinion peice by Janet Albrechtsen. Janet is someone I love to hate: a neo-conservative with the gall to try to force independent media to sing her song. Thus it pains me that recently I've found myself agreeing with her. This unlikely situation occured again today, with her interesting peice on the need for moderate muslims to speak out. What is the world coming to? Anyway, here she is.
Now, I'm throwing something up for curiosity's sake. Have any of you non-aussies heard a word about the Australian Wheat Board scandal? Didn't thing so... To sum it up, Australia's sole what exporter (Whatever happened to competition?) got busted for paying Saddam Hussein kick-backs to the tune of millions to get him to buy our wheat under the UN Oil-For-Food programme. That's right, us, an unwilling member of the Coalition of the Willing, propping up Saddam out of the pockets of our farmers. The Federal department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been implicated as complicent in these dealings, meaning the Prime Minister probably knew all about it
, but interestingly, no-one actually seems to give a damn. Australia, where we expect our politicians to be lying bastards and are alarmed at the possibility of pollies telling the truth.
Which nicely brings me to the last item: Cyclone Larry
. Out of revenge for being given such a ridiculous name, Larry turned out to be anything other than funny, hitting North Queensland as a category 5 storm
(that's the biggest they get, by the way), old mate Larry was bigger than previous record-holder Tracy and went about causing quite a lot of damage. In fact, he pretty much wiped Innisfail off the map, and had a fair go at Cairns, Tully, Atherton, Eacham, mission Beach, Mossman and anywhere in-between too. To note, no-one died, but we're all mourning the loss of this year's banana crop
That's Larry crossing the coast on Monday morning. Note the other swirlig mass of clour to the east: say hello to Cyclone Wati.
Perhaps Dubya should study the Larry response, as he might just learn something. Within 48 hours
we had the army, the SES, the police force, the Red Cross and
the press all up to the remote north. Food, water and generators have been delivered, and most of all, there's been no looting. A couple of lads thought they'd give it a try
, but were defeated by an irate local standing up for his land-lord's property. It's times like these I feel blush of nationalistic pride, as well as the irony of massive flooding up north while South-East Queensland languishes in drought and is likely to max-out it's water restrictions this year.
So I'll see you later world, I'm off to defuse the natural disaster of my kitchen.