LETTERS News Weekly
, July 5, 2014
I refer to Jeffry Babb’s article, “How booze buses changed Australia’s leisure culture” (News Weekly, June 21 2014). He seems to regret that fact that many, if not most, inner-city pubs are now “no longer the hang-out for the man who works with his hands”.
My first visit to this country was in 1970, my Australian bride and I having married in Kuala Lumpur and I was here to meet her family.
My father-in-law took me down to his “local”, the Doncaster Hotel in Kensington, Sydney, and proudly said, “I bet you’ve seen nothing like this!”
“You’re right,” I said. “I haven’t.” But I didn’t mean it the way he thought. The bar looked more like a public lavatory, with tiled floor, white-tiled walls up to about two metres, a pink Formica-topped bar, and beer served out of a stainless steel spout on the end of a plastic hose.
It was a clinically effective place in which men could get drunk; but that was about it. Today that same hotel boasts thick carpets, attractive woodwork and brass, and lounge chairs with tables — an environment fit for ladies and families.
It is not everything that changes for the worse.
South Coogee, NSW
The stated reason for the Abbott Coalition government’s new medical co-payment is that people are paying too many visits to the doctor because they are living longer.
But a doctor I spoke to recently said that this is nonsense, as the biggest cause of the log-jam in medical clinics is industrial.
Employers require their workers to have a medical certificate as proof of illness. If any employee should catch a bad cold or influenza, they know they have a cold and that they are too sick to work. They know that they will be down for at least a couple of days to a week, and therefore don’t really need to see the doctor, but nonetheless have to front up to a medical clinic to get a certificate.
If the Commonwealth was serious about reducing the number of people’s medical appointments, it should address the industrial requirement of employees to get a medical certificate.
Instead of this, it should introduce a system under which trained paramedical personnel, such as nurses, ambulance officers, pharmacists — or even certified health and safety professionals with a senior first aid certificate — could issue something like a medical certificate or a statutory declaration stating that a person was unfit for duty.
The same doctor also told me that the high marks required to make it into medical school should be lowered by a percentage point or two, even if this means the introduction of a two-tiered system in which the lower-entry grade students commit to further studies or additional training in hospitals or rural medical clinics for a specified period.
The above-mentioned approaches would probably eliminate the log-jam at medical clinics, eliminate the rural doctors shortage and the doctor shortage in general, not to mention the Abbott government’s Medicare co-payments bill.
The media are talking again about “medical marijuana”. But they are mainly featuring not the “science”, but sensational anecdotes of “miracle cures”.
In fact, there is scientific evidence that certain purified marijuana derivatives probably can help with pain and nausea, etc.
What is certain is that letting marijuana into people’s hands via the chemist shop will do a lot of harm.
The question is, will the good outweigh the harm or vice versa? We all know how addictive pain-relief medication, obtainable on prescription, gets illegally re-sold at parties, clubs and on the street.
Restrictions covering prescribed marijuana derivatives would need to be super-strict — and enforced better than we’ve ever previously managed with other addictive medicines.
Marijuana is not a “soft” drug. Regular users suffer psychotic mental disease more than do other people. Marijuana, as usually used, is a brain poison. It loves human brain tissue.
Any decision to legalise “medical marijuana” must not be taken lightly.
Nichols Point, Vic.