November 15th 2003

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Californian wildfires: the causes

EDITORIAL: Backdoor bid to approve therapeutic cloning

CANBERRA OBSERVED : The Greens' road-block to a double dissolution

AGRICULTURE : Farmers call for action on sugar crisis

BANANA QUARANTINE: Will we kill off our golden goose?

FAMILY: I'm sorry I am heterosexual

TRUST: Palliative Care, not Euthanasia

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Higher education / China Syndrome

LETTERS: Militant consumerism (letter)

LETTERS: Hanson a political prisoner (letter)

LETTERS: Forgetting the golden rule (letter)

LETTERS: SBS broadcasting of the Hanoi news (letter)

HEALTH UPDATE: Abortion-Breast Cancer link reaps medical malpractice payout

HISTORY: Dr Jim Cairns, the Kremlin and the World Peace Council

OBITUARY : Madame Chiang Kai-shek dies at 105

UNEMPLOYMENT: Deregulation and free trade are destroying country employment

MEDIA: Five issues Australia must address

TRADING BLOCS: Risks in the US Free Trade Agreement

Dairy industry shrinks under deregulation

FILM REVIEW: Bonhoeffer

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Militant consumerism (letter)

by Robert Bom

News Weekly, November 15, 2003

The present doctors' crisis is part of a wider problem, where militant consumerism is running rampant.

In the case of the doctors, questionable legal judgements and the size of payouts have broken the back of their professional medical indemnity insurance system.

The same is happening in the area of public liability and professional indemnity of other professions.

Insurance companies have simply jacked up the premiums to cover future potential claims, or are refusing to renew policies. All other general insurances are under pressure.

As a society we need to make some choices.

How far do we want to go to enforce our consumer rights to beat someone over the head in seeking redress by financial compensation?

Do we want affordable goods and services for all, or are we happy to see rates and prices increase to the point where they become unaffordable?

Or, is it our intention to drive providers of goods and services out of business?

The doctors are asking for law reform. I believe that is the only way to go.

There are too many vested interests now beating the drum of consumerism for political or financial gain.

If not checked by law reform this militancy will increasingly become a noose around the neck of ordinary Australians.

Throwing money at the problem will only feed the insatiable appetite of consumerism.

Governments need to act, not just by opening the public purse, but by changing the law as well.

Robert Bom
Rockhampton, Qld

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