Macklin / The good, the bad and David Eastman

“How come two thirds of us clever Canberrans are overweight and one in four are obese? In every other metric, from education to longevity, we lead the nation,” writes Seven Days columnist ROBERT MACKLIN

THE good, the bad and the ugly dominated our news this past week and, as usual, more of the latter, so let’s get them over first.

Robert Macklin.

Robert Macklin.

Actually, it’s hard to know where the David Eastman saga fits in – good if he’s innocent, bad and ugly if he ain’t. Either way it’s been a judicial shemozzle, particularly given the comments from Judge Martin that he “probably” did murder Colin Winchester. Very difficult for him to fit back into the community with that hanging over his head – unless, of course, he’s cleared in a retrial.

NO such problem with the beheading of photo-journalist James Foley by the ISIS terrorists; that was surely as low as humanity could go. And such horrors must have a brutalising effect on everyone. It’s all too easy to follow the terrorists down that slippery slope to barbarism. Perhaps that’s the great challenge to the West – to defeat them without joining them in the moral gutter.

CERTAINLY the decision announced by PM Tony Abbott to stop welfare payments to Australians involved in “extremist conduct” raised practical (and tactical) concerns. Victoria University professor Michele Grossman called it “a very, very risky strategy”. They were already somewhat alienated from society, she said, so, “if you deny people who need benefits, it draws them to seek alternative forms of support”. And the decision by some Muslim groups to boycott a meeting with the PM seemed to confirm her concerns.

CLIVE Palmer did nothing to raise the tone of debate with his churlish description of the Chinese as “mongrels” who “shoot their own people”. Palmer’s populist (porky) profile as a counterweight to the decidedly unpopular Budget measures shows signs of cracking. He and his PUP’s awful Jacqui Lambie are quickly losing their novelty value.

SPEAKING of fat people, how come two thirds of us clever Canberrans are overweight and one in four are obese? In every other metric, from education to longevity, we lead the nation. And look at our political role models – Katy Gallagher and Jeremy Hanson are perfect examples of healthy, well proportioned figures.

Could it be that so many of our public servants are recumbent at their desks most of their working days? ACT Deputy Chief Health Officer Andrew Pengilley has a wonderful opportunity to trial a range of counter-measures. Perhaps there’s a case for those tall desks where everyone works standing up.

NICE to hear that the doctor’s home visit will be returning to our fair city. Truth is, a visit to the doctor’s surgery is not a great option. You’re thrown into the company of sick people in the waiting room and unless you have the first appointment of the day, the wait can be interminable. Recently, after 20 minutes I asked the receptionist how long to go. “About an hour,” she said.

I departed, never to return.

WONDERFUL news that Katy’s government is considering heating the water in the Lake’s West Basin so we can all go swimming there through winter. Now they just have to figure out how to heat the air above so we don’t all freeze as we get in and out. Should be no problem – pollies know all about hot air.

robert@robertmacklin.com

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