Sign here …

This one deserves a nomination for the Social Engineer of the Year Award.

Little Hunter is three years old and deaf. He signs his name using a sign language system called Signing Exact English,  by crossing his index finger and middle finger and then wagging his hands.

His pre-school has policy that bans “any instrument … that looks like a weapon” including his fingers so used.

The name gesture was “not an appropriate thing to do in school,” and administrators were asking Hunter to spell his name out, letter-by-letter, instead of using the sign, spokesman Jack Sheard told the Daily News.

I would suggest that the only sign needed in reply is made by extending one of the middle fingers.

Ya just gotta hate the dentist …

Tanya Plibersek clearly does.

On one thing she is right. The Chronic Diseases Dental Scheme, thrown together in the last days of the Howard Government, is poorly designed, and poorly targeted.

The Labor Government have been trying to close down the scheme since they were elected but until recently the Greens have resisted. The main problem has been the cost … about a billion a year.

The gatekeepers for the scheme are the general medical practitioners. The standard of sufficiently chronically sick is a bit of a loose one. Some patients admitted to the scheme have had no significant illness at all. Sadly most of the healthy poor have been excluded.

In order to save costs a very tight approach has been applied to the regulations. A couple of very useful tools for the bureaucracy have been the requirement for a quote for treatment and a report to the medical practitioner being made before treatment commences. Failure to comply is met with a demand for refund of the rebate. That may not seem so bad but consider this, a verbal quote that all treatment will be at rebate only is not considered adequate and heaven only knows what the medical GP makes of the letter that says “Thanks for referring Mrs. Jones. I will be doing two fillings, one extraction and a scale and clean”. If the dentist is found to be in breach they will have done the work at their own expense and been fined their full match fee. In many practices the established principals will have full books and new patients are directed to the new assistant. The scheme has generated quite a few new patients and a few young dentists have been bankrupted for no crime greater than failing to comply with one or both of these rules.

A private members bill aimed at moderating the punishment for providing first class dental treatment but second class paperwork was voted down by Labor and the Green Adam Bandt.

The scheme could be made to scrub up very nicely. All it would take would be some consultation with the Australian Dental Association and a little redrafting of the rules, but clearly the Labor-Green Alliance aren’t looking for any goodwill from the dentists.

Ms. Plibersek’s strident complaints of massive rorts, over-servicing and poor quality treatment are not supported by the evidence and serve only as an excuse to close the scheme.

You will be quick to notice that the savings come soon and legislation for the new more expensive scheme will be passed before the next election. The benefits and the burden on the taxpayer come later. How much of the cost will in fact be foisted onto the states?

When asked where the money will come from Ms. Gillard said the “announcement today is about a large saving” because of the closure of the CDDS. On the other hand Ms Plibersek’s office  stated that the axeing of the CDDS could not be counted as a budget saving because the scheme had not been factored into the budget because of  the government’s intentions to axe it.

The two conflicting points of view are entirely consistent … with Labor’s usual performance, we’re lucky really, that dentists aren’t being compelled to work in converted school halls filling teeth with recycled pink batts.


Just for a change …

Various members of the Labor-Green Alliance on a floor price …

SECURING a clean-energy future, July 10 last year:

THE floor is designed to reduce the risk of sharp downward movements in the price, which could undermine long-term investment in clean technologies.

PM, July 11 last year:

PM: The price ceiling is $20 more than the international price.

John Laws: Why?

PM: Well, we just thought for stability …

PM, Hansard, September 13 last year:

THE bill also provides for a price cap and a price floor … This will limit market volatility and reduce risk for businesses …

Mark Dreyfus, Carbon Expo 2011, November 8 last year:

FOR those investing in abatement technologies whose value is sensitive to the level of the carbon price, a price floor helps reduce downside risk.

PM, November 9 last year:

WELL, we have set a floor and cap so that there can be stability in pricing … because people are making very long-term investments …

Penny Wong, Hansard, February 28:

OUR policy does include a price floor which acts as a safety valve for investors in low-emissions technology by establishing a minimum price for the first few years.

Christine Milne, May 4:

ESTABLISHING a floor price is critical to certainty, as is sticking by an agreement once it has been delivered.

Milne, May 8:

GETTING rid of it would not only be a blow to business certainty but would also potentially blow a hole in the budget.

Greg Combet, The Australian, July 5:

WE have legislated a three-year fixed price period. We are committed to the whole package.

Milne, Radio National Breakfast, July 4:

IF you allow the volatility that has occurred in Europe, you get kind of chaos in the system.

Well, we just thought for stability we’d change our minds. As of yesterday the floor price is out, our carbon price will be linked to the European price.

The compensation stays in … how’s that budget looking, Wayne?

Never trust a lawyer …

A Mafia Godfather discovers that his bookkeeper, Guido, has cheated him out of $10,000,000.00.
His bookkeeper is deaf, which is why he got the job in the first place.
Guido would hear nothing therefore he would not have to testify in court.
When the Godfather goes to confront Guido about his missing $10 million, he takes along his lawyer who knows sign language.
The Godfather tells the lawyer, “Ask him where the money is!
The lawyer, using sign language, asks Guido, Where’s the money?
Guido signs back, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
The lawyer translates, “He says he doesn’t know what you are talking about”.
The Godfather pulls out a pistol, puts it to Guido’s head and says, “Ask him again and tell him if he doesn’t answer I’ll kill him!”
The lawyer signs to Guido, “He’ll kill you if you don’t tell him.”
Guido trembles and signs back, “OK! OK! The money is in a briefcase, buried behind the shed at my cousin Tony’s house.
The Godfather asks, “What did he say?”

The lawyer replies….. “He says you don’t have the balls to pull the trigger.”