New federal health minister

The new federal health minister, replacing dumped former minister Sussan Ley, is Greg Hunt.

Mr Hunt was appointed health minister in a limited reshuffle of portfolios by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. He was formerly environment minister (from September 2013), serving first in the Abbott government and then in the Turnbull government.

With the re-election of the Turnbull government in 2016, Mr Hunt became industry, innovation and science minister. That portfolio is now held by Mr Arthur Sinodinos.

A substantial task lies ahead of Mr Hunt as his predecessor left many unresolved issues; work on the 2017-18 budget is already under way; decisions must be made about increases in private health insurance premiums for 2017; and surveys show public trust in the ability and willingness of the government to protect Medicare is slipping.

By | February 20th, 2017|Business|

Essilor and Luxottica in A$62 billion merger

France’s Essilor International and Italy’s Luxottica Group have agreed on a €46 billion (A$62.3 billion) merger to create a global eyewear company with annual revenue of more than €15 billion.

The all-share deal is one of Europe’s largest cross-border tie-ups and brings together leading quality lens manufacturer Essilor Inernational and Luxottica Group, the world’s largest quality spectacle frames and sunglasses maker with brands such as Ray-Ban and Oakley.

The merged entity will be named EssilorLuxottica and will be headquartered and listed on the sharemarket in Paris.

What the merger means for the Australian market has not yet been revealed.

Both companies’ share prices jump

“Finally, two products which are naturally complementary, namely frames and lenses, will be designed, manufactured and distributed under the same roof,” Luxottica’s 81-year-old founder, Mr Leonardo Del Vecchio, said in a statement on 16 January.

Shares in Luxottica were up by 8.6% at €53.80 by 1405 GMT, with Essilor up 12.2 % at €114.60.

€95 billion eyewear market

The merger between the top players in the €95 billion eyewear market is aimed at helping the businesses to take full advantage of expected strong demand for prescription spectacles and sunglasses due to an aging global population and increasing awareness about eye care.

Analysts estimate that the market is growing at between 2% and 4%

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By | February 12th, 2017|Business|

Colleges seek injunction against online retailer in Canada

TWO optometrical colleges in Ontario, Canada, have turned to the courts to seek an injunction that would prohibit the Essilor Canada-owned online retail portal Clearly from dispensing prescription glasses and contact lenses to the public without complying with local legislation, Optician reports.

The College of Opticians of Ontario and the College of Optometrists of Ontario regulate dispensing and optometry in the province, where it is illegal for anyone other than an optometrist, optiician or physician to dispense prescription eyewear to a patient except under appropriate supervision or delegation.

Under section 87 of the Health Professions Procedural Code, the colleges have applied to a judge of the Ontario Superior Court to bring an injunction to stop any individual, or organisation from dispensing in a manner that violates state law.

‘Patient choice and convenience is important, but this can’t come at the expense of patient safety,’ Dr Paula Garshowitz, registrar of the College of Optometrists of Ontario, said.

‘This action isn’t about stopping online dispensing. This is about ensuring that Ontarians have full protection under Ontario laws.’

Patients in Ontario are presently able to purchase eyewear online that is lawfully dispensed by authorised eye-care practitioners through a strict validation process developed by the colleges.

By | February 6th, 2017|Business, Overseas, Universities|

News of the forthcoming merger of France’s Essilor International and Italy’s Luxottica

NEWS of the forthcoming merger of France’s Essilor International and Italy’s Luxottica brings to mind the saying ‘From little things big things grow’ (a much bigger one in this instance).

Back in the 1980s, Essilor was represented in Australia by a small-time operator, so small in fact that, quite different to its big operation here today, he operated from a bedroom in his flat at Sydney’s Bondi Beach!

By | February 2nd, 2017|Ulysses|

Has the time arrived for the end of some of the more outmoded and time-wasting happenings when it comes to ophthalmic officialdom?

HAS the time arrived for the end of some of the more outmoded and time-wasting happenings when it comes to ophthalmic officialdom?

For example, having guest speakers at graduation ceremonies, where what is delivered is usually sleep-inducing for the audience or just a mish-mash of platitudes and bonhomies.

The guest speaker is usually a mate of someone high up in the organisation concerned, or someone who could influence, say, a government policy, or be in a position to channel sorely-needed funds into, perhaps, a new research facility. Rarely do such speakers say much that is remembered; and what they do say, often takes ages.

All of this while some of those assembled on the stage in academic dress (at times quite garish) look down on the audience as if they (the audience) are inferior beings.

Fortunately the tedium of it all is relieved by the egress of the official party, followed by a civilised rush for the drink waiters in order to quench thirsts.

So will it ever change? Probably not; there are too many egos involved.

By | February 2nd, 2017|Ulysses|

Federal health minister Sussan Ley has been pushed out of the ministry

FEDERAL health minister Sussan Ley has been pushed out of the ministry after claims she made for 17 trips to the Gold Coast, sometimes with her partner, all paid for by the good old taxpayer.

During one of the trips, “on impulse” she bought a luxury beachfront unit at Surfers Paradise for $795,000.

Also, there were claims for chartering aircraft in order to keep up her commercial-pilot’s-licence hours and to attend various non-government-business social functions on the Gold Coast, accommodation and transport plus of course travel allowances.

After the cat was out of the bag in media reports, followed by a conversation with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, she very generously announced she was quitting the health portfolio and would pay back some of the tens of thousands involved.

All very nice, but no mention of the supposed new rule that doubles the amount involved is to be paid back to the government by offending MPs.

Isn’t it time for the parliament to do something serious about the wholesale expenses-rorting going on? After all, if someone steals from a person or corporation and they get caught, depending on what is involved, they face a fine or a term in the slammer – and an offer to pay it all back cuts no ice.

Not for

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By | February 2nd, 2017|Ulysses|

What is it about people whose mobile phones do not reveal who they are when they call

WHAT is it about people whose mobile phones do not reveal who they are when they call – i.e. their names don’t show up, just the words ‘Unknown caller’ or the like?

Is it because they simply haven’t ‘instructed’ their mobiles to reveal their names, or is it because they’re shy, or is it because they consider they’re so important that their identification mustn’t be made known to the person receiving the call? Who knows.

Easiest thing to do is just not answer any anonymous calls: the caller can leave a message; it’s the receiver’s choice whether to reply.

That should soon bring to an end to such nonsense.

By | February 2nd, 2017|Ulysses|

Tensions are building as the two national ophthalmic trade fairs draw near

TENSIONS are building as the two national ophthalmic trade fairs draw near – SILMO Sydney 2017 on 9-11 March and ODMA 2017 on 7-9 July.

From the exhibitors’ aspect, it’s all about attendance numbers, with claims and counterclaims no doubt to soon be made by the sponsors and/or organisers.
There’s big money at stake, particularly for the winner of the two-horse race, although the runner-up shouldn’t actually go broke.

Both fairs are being held at Sydney’s new International Exhibition Centre, Silmo first up and ODMA four months later.

Surprisingly, so far there’s been little promotion by either, apart from some predictable blather as well as some negative claims by one about the other.
Which one? Not saying; at least not yet.

By | February 2nd, 2017|Ulysses|

From the Wonderful World of Sport Department

FROM the Wonderful World of Sport Department: It’s been proposed (seriously) that cheer-leaders (a la those for footie games) be added to the offerings at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Yes, cheer-leaders.

Laughable? Without doubt. Likely to get up? Hopefully not, but you never can tell – remember synchronised swimming?.

If it’s cheer-leaders, then why not darts, lawn bowls or advanced tiddlewinks? And of course there’s ballroom dancing, which is trotted out (wince) every so often. The list is endless.

Surely that was not what was meant when Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894 – citing something along the lines of ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger?

By | February 2nd, 2017|Ulysses|

Boss Cockey of retail giant Harvey Norman, multi-billionaire Gerry Harvey, is working himself into a lather

BOSS Cockey of retail giant Harvey Norman, multi-billionaire Gerry Harvey, is working himself into a lather over the arrival of online giant Amazon on these shores, set to open later this year.

According to his rants, the end of the retail world as we know it is nigh – ‘Now they’re coming here to send us all broke’ and so on from good old Gerry.

So is that the case, or simply more of the usual outbursts from him?
Judging from the Amazon website here, it seems likely that spectacle frames and sunglasses will be available online sooner rather than later (and at ridiculously-low prices), but what will save the day for ophthalmic practitioners is the obvious need for one-to-one contact between each one of them and each patient/client/customer. It’s difficult to change that.

So stand by for plenty of ‘own-frame’ dispensing of the prescriptions generated by practitioners.

Ah well, there will at least be room for better (higher) lens prices – perhaps.

By | February 2nd, 2017|Ulysses|