Archive for October, 2017


October 29, 2017

News is in that Sir Ninian Stephen, former Governor-General of Australia, has died aged 94.

On reading accounts of his rather unusual early life, I like to think, or at least hope, that he voted yes in the current postal survey, health permitting.

Section 44

October 27, 2017

Well, the sport is over.  5 of the “Citizenship 7” are out – of whom 2 had gone already.

One of the survivors, Xenophon, has said he’s going already.  Given that British Overseas Citizens have no right of residence in the UK and, unless otherwise stateless, no rights other than to consular assistance (of which X has never availed himself) that seems fair enough.  That kind of citizenship doesn’t count for s 44 purposes.

The lucky survivor is Matt Cavanan, and to that he owes quite a lot to the cunning of his counsel, David Bennett, who outflanked “amicus curiae” Geoffrey Kennett in relying on the experts’ report to establish that there were doubts about the position under Italian law – something which all-too-clearly took Mr Kennett by surprise at the time.  The High Court justices gave Cavanan the benefit of the doubt:

On the evidence before the Court, one cannot be satisfied that Senator Canavan was a citizen of Italy. The concluding section of the joint report suggests that he was not. Given the potential for Italian citizenship by descent to extend indefinitely – generation after generation – into the public life of an adopted home, one can readily accept that the reasonable view of Italian law is that it requires the taking of the positive steps referred to in the joint report as conditions precedent to citizenship.

Not really satisfactory for Cavanan’s case to be determined on such shaky ground and basically a big failure of the quasi-adversarial procedure adopted, but then s 44 is a pretty silly section anyway.



100 days of Codom

October 24, 2017

In a decision which is made to appear to have been made entirely bureaucratically, compound medicines containing codeine are to be withdrawn from over-the-counter (OTC) sale at the end of January next year.  It’s called “rescheduling.”

This has been a long-time coming.  It was first foreshadowed in 2015 to happen at the end of last year (or was it even to be the end of 2015?).  Then it was not the anquish of the chronic pain sufferers (or even opiod addicts) which stayed the government’s hand.  No, it was the interests of the Tasmanian opium poppy industry.  Money talks.  The special electoral advantage of Tasmanians probably also helped.

We’ve been being softened-up for this decision for a while.  A specialty of this has been the lurid stories of codeine addiction and fatalities.  We hear of people swallowing 100 codeine-containing compound medicine pills a day. These are extreme cases. If it’s codeine with paracetamol they will usually destroy their livers.

If only the codeine were not laced with that dangerous paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory things would be much better for these people.  Just saying – that’s a path we are never going to be able to go down.

Chronic pain sufferers are told that they should redirect themselves to non-pharmaceutical therapies – fine if they are available but, like physiotherapy and dentistry, there is no reliable promise of their availability.  It is said they should see their doctors for alternative solutions.  Good luck with that, especially in the bush.

The point is made that, because codeine is addictive, it is not really a good treatment for chronic pain.  That’s not because of the dependence, but because with dependence comes habituation and reduced efficacy.  But there must be many who take such medication not for chronic pain but for intermittent acute periods of otherwise chronically painful conditions.

A couple of years ago I had a very painful knee condition and then perhaps I was on the cusp of addiction.  If so, I was, as it happens, able to draw back quite easily as the condition improved, though there has been the odd recurrence.  So I don’t think I’m quite a codeine addict or at least not yet.  I can go for weeks without taking a single tablet or even thinking of doing so.

I do find though that I have occasional return of pain from which I desire relief.  The pain is exacerbated by proximity to an open pharmacy and contemplation of the day to come when the codeinicious counter will be bare.  By my reckoning, there are 100 days to go until that day.

One day I will have to do without, but, as St Augustine said, not yet!


An idle thought

October 21, 2017

There’s a house on a corner on a route D and I often take through a neighbouring suburb if we are heading west.

D came home from driving that way one day in the first week of September and told me that the house was surrounded by police.  The evening news reported that a woman, in her 70s, had been found dead, and a man, a bit older, had been arrested.  He has since been charged with murder.

It’s a lovely house on a lovely street.  It still looks pretty spick and span.  A light burns even in daylight hours above the front door.

And the letter box bulges with mail, possibly including some from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The thought has occurred to me.


Clement, sandy, in Dubai

October 13, 2017

Received today:

Good day,

I am Reverend Sister April Joseph from St. Mary’s Catholic Church – Dubai, UAE, it’s very pathetic that we lost Rev. Father Clement Sandy of St. Mary’s Catholic Church – Dubai, UAE. Late Rev.Clement Sandy is an American and also an orphan but nationalized in St. Mary’s Catholic Church – Dubai, UAE.

Late Rev.Father Clement Sandy died on 5th June 2016 and before he died, he made a will and instructs me to contact you on your email when he died as the next of kin of the fund as his spirit direct him.

I am glad to inform you that late Rev.Clement Sandy made you the beneficiary of his will a sum of $2,500,000.00 through your e-mail address, you might be wondering how late Rev.Father Clement Sandy made you the beneficiary of his will.

Late Rev.Father Clement Sandy made a random sampling of many people’s e-mail addresses when he was sick by the help of Microsoft international firm and among the people e-mail addresses, yours came out as a draw and this is how late father Clement Sandy made you the beneficiary of his will and instruct that you can only be informed when he pass on and memorial service Completed.

Now for you to claim your fund forward the details below to me via this email….