Prohibiting the sale of ineffective drugs "an insult to parents"

The chemists' lobby group says banning the sale of cough medicine for children under two is "an insult to many parents". No, what's insulting is selling something that doesn't work, even in adults. Worse, unlike a placebo, these medicines contain drugs that can actually be quite dangerous.

Parents finding that their kids need something foul-tasting to resolve a persistent cough would be advised to find something vile but harmless. I wouldn't expect such advice from your local chemist though.

Action for Transport 2010: archive

Back in 1998 the NSW government announced with great fanfare a rather modest plan for transport improvement in NSW. Nearly ten years on, there's little to show for it except the road projects, which predictably have resulted in more cars, more congestion, more pollution.

If you search on the state government sites, you'd be hard pressed to find many mentions of this plan, beyond the odd mention in parliamentary hansard and the occasional forgotten page. It's almost like they don't want their current promises to be measured by their past (in)actions.

On this note, I've been dredging up artifacts of Action for Transport 2010 for archive purposes. The National Library of Australia's Pandora archiving project has helped here a lot, but I can't rely on a government agency to ensure the past isn't censored.

So, in the interests of ensuring these remnants of the Prolefeed don't end up down the Memory Hole, I bring you Action for Transport 2010: archive.

What brought this up is that Lee Rhiannon has been asking questions in parliament only to see the transport minister dodge them by talking about his arse, rather than the usual out of it.

Why I read the Guardian

Buried on page 15 of this week's Guardian Weekly is how they treated this important story:

Heather Mills has been given £42m in a divorce settlement with Paul McCartney.

That's why I read this newspaper. Important things are given prominence.

Transport Plan 2010

I got a letter in today's Herald about my lack of faith in the delivery of this North-West metro the NSW government is promising. The bit they chopped off was: You'd be hard pressed to find Action for Transport 2010 on any NSW government web site. Now why do you think that might be?

Thanks to the legends at the National Library of Australia, I've managed to find it. That's right, you can see Action for Transport 2010 in all its undelivered glory.

A quick run through press release confirms what I said.

AIRPORT RAIL LINK
Opened on time, but due to exorbitant prices, patronage has been well down. If you live anywhere in the inner West, it's much faster and cheaper to catch a cab.
BONDI BEACH RAIL LINK
Killed. Bondi NIMBYs didn't want bogans from the Western Suburbs competing for space with Eastern Suburbs bogans, plus the important point that it was going to be a privatised railway, with associated huge ticket increases
PARRAMATTA RAIL LINK
Only got halfway, Chatswood to Epping, which completely defeated the purpose of allowing passengers from the Western Suburbs to get to major trip generators like Macquarie University and the growing North Ryde technology parks.
EPPING TO CASTLE HILL LINE
Never built. This new promised metro effectively re-announces it, but work won't start until 2010 which according to this press release was when it would be open.
HURSTVILLE TO STRATHFIELD RAIL LINK
Sunk without trace.
LIVERPOOL 'Y' LINK
Never heard of again.
LIVERPOOL TO PARRAMATTA TRANSITWAY
Built. But just remember, this is a glorified bus lane.
BLACKTOWN - WETHERILL PARK TRANSITWAY
Still on the drawing board, despite the touted 2006 opening date.
PARRAMATTA - BLACKTOWN TRANSITWAY
Still on the drawing board, despite the touted 2004 opening date
BLACKTOWN - CASTLE HILL TRANSITWAY
Still on the drawing board, despite the touted 2009 opening date
PARRAMATTA - ROUSE HILL (MUNGERIE PARK) TRANSITWAY
Opened in March 2007, which is actually ahead of the schedule they set
PARRAMATTA - STRATHFIELD TRANSITWAY
Still on the drawing board, despite the touted 2002 opening date
PENRITH TO ST MARYS TRANSITWAY
Still on the drawing board, despite the touted 2008 opening date
EASTERN DISTRIBUTOR
Built.
M5 EAST
Built.
WESTERN SYDNEY ORBITAL
Built.
M2 TO GORE HILL
Built.
METROAD 7 (CUMBERLAND HIGHWAY)
Built.
CROSS CITY TUNNEL
Built, gona broke.
PARRAMATTA ROAD
Built, still a nightmare road.
PRINCES HIGHWAY
Built, still a nightmare road.
VICTORIA ROAD
Built, still congested.
MILITARY ROAD
Partially built
TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT
Built. Didn't help congestion.

So do you see the pattern? All the road projects got built. A couple of the public transport project got built, partically, and mostly with private money.

Background Briefing: Greenwashing

I've been a long time listener of the ABC's Background Briefing, ever since I was interviewed for one of the programmes back in 1998. It's always well-researched and very interesting. What's more, they were one of the first ABC programmes to allow downloads of full programmes.

I listened to Greenwashing expecting it to be about public relations and other evils. It is somewhat, but it looks specifically at environmental claims about products, so it's still very interesting.

They interview Professor Ben Selinger who chaired many of the standards committees that defined the minimums for cleaning products in the 70s. There are some quite interesting comments he made, such as a dishwashing liquid claiming to be "biodegradable" is meaningless, since that is required of that product category by law. Lots of other comments about the make-up of various "green" products, which basically seem to be no or, at best, marginally better environmentally than their mainstream competitors.

His most interesting remark is this: Some people ask me which one I buy, I always buy the product on special.

Great doco, and well worth a listen.

Swan is indeed inexperienced

That's right opposition fucktards, Wayne Swan is inexperienced as Treasurer. He's never been Treasurer of Australia before. Then again, neither has Tony Smith. In fact, Tony Smith has never been a government minister.

Perhaps, if experience is the main criteria, we should bring back the most experienced Treasurer from the Labor Party. He'd certainly have a great line to slap down dickheads like Tony Smith in Question Time.

The first step is taken at last

We are at last on the path to reconcilliation with Prime Minister Rudd saying sorry to the Stolen Generations, nearly 11 years after Bringing Them Home. It's a momentous step and Rudd's speach was magnanimous, stately, appropriate.

Of course the cultural warriors on the other side of the House couldn't resist adding a sour note as their political enemies did what they couldn't bring themselves to do in 11 years of power. Nelson's speech attempted to place reservations on what was an unreserved apology. Abbott couldn't bring himself to clap during the standing ovation. It would have been entertaining to see Howard's sour face as the apology was delivered.

We now have much work ahead of us as a nation to build on this step, but it's a good start.

Pay the tax cut into super

Birmo is always entertaining, but today's little rant contains an incredibly smart idea at the end. Rudd has painted his way into tax cut corner and desperately needs to find a way out. Birmo suggest paying it into superannuation to avoid the inflation blowout of everyone going down to the giant plasma screen shop.

What a bloody good idea! Taxing superannuation, when you're supposed to be encouraging people to sock more money away for retirement, is a really bad idea. But like gambling taxes, the government is hooked on it. Instead of giving out the promised tax cuts on income tax, he could be virtuous while (kinda) keeping his promise.