Ulysses comments …


New specs for PM

Prime minister Scott Morrison has a new pair of glasses – a full-frame, dark-coloured number, not unlike what almost everybody is wearing today – male and female.

The rimless-front-and-plastic-sides number he’d been wearing for ages was looking a bit doggy, so the change is not before time.


OK for you and me, but not for the federal pollies

Federal politicians are wrestling with what type of anti-corruption organisation they should legislate to bring in – the states have them for some time, but the feds seem to be having great difficulty in deciding what they want.

Everyone from the prime minister down is having his/her two bob’s worth, but little agreement to date.

One irksome proposal is that federal politicians would be exempt from any investigation or prosecution, no matter what they were to get up to.

It would be OK for you and me to be investigated and/or prosecuted, but not a politician.

What a hide the politicians have to even consider legislation to that effect, let alone actually passing enacting legislation.

Is it any wonder the nation has lost faith in politicians, seeing them largely as nothing more than self-seekers?


Season’s greetings

Another year is drawing to an end, with this column the last for 2018 – unless some can’t-wait-to-report news comes up before our

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By | December 24th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …

Highfalutin words?

One of the first items on the agenda after my return to the grindstone has been to have a look at the annual report of IPIC Holdings Limited, which owns George & Matilda Eyecare.

First up, there’s an explanation of the name George & Matilda, including “a name that can take on our competitors and some day take on the world”,followed by “Helping the world see better one person at a time by supporting and uniting local independents to build the best optometry community …”, followed by ‘Our Values’: “We are guided by our values in every interaction with our customers, colleagues and suppliers.”
• Together they form a remarkable partnership;

  • Progression & Trustworthiness;
  • Style & Value;
  • Modernity & Warmth;
  • A unique name;

Then follows: “Helping the world see better, one person at a time by supporting and uniting local independents to build the best optometry community …”

And then “We are guided by our values in every interaction with our customers, colleagues and suppliers – Partnership, Simple, Empathy, Inspire and Trust”.

After reading that, Specsavers, OPSM and other retail groups must be shaking in their boots.


The news is not all bad

Reading the news in this issue, you could be excused for thinking the crooks have taken over.

Rest assured they haven’t, it’s just that

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By | December 16th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …



The latest blurb from the Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association claims: “Presented by ODMA and Optometry Victoria, O=MEGAl9 will combine the largest annual optometry conference in the Southern Hemisphere(my emphasis) with the largest eye care and eyewear show in Australia.

How can that be? After all, South America’s Brazil has a population of 204 million, Columbia 48m,  Argentina 43m and Peru 31m, with another four countries’ population totalling  74 million. All up, the total population of those countries alone is 400 million plus others such as for  example, in the Caribbean.

Yet little old Melbourne (Victoria’s population is 6 million) is claimed by ODMA and Optometry Victoria to be the venue of “the largest annual optometry conference in the Southern Hemisphere”.

How does that line up against conferences in populous countries in the Southern Hemisphere? It probably doesn’t.

Time for a change in the brains-trusts responsible for such nonsense?

By | December 12th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


The ABC saga

The ABC saga continues, with seemingly a daily dollop of drama.

So far the chair and the CEO of Australia’s public broadcaster have been shown the door (to put it politely), but the question remains about the board’s behaviour (or hand-sitting) over the chairman’s attempt to interfere in editorial matters at the volition of a mate who happens to be the former prime minister.

More may yet be revealed in the whole unsavoury episode, but the lesson to be learned, hopefully, is simple: Political pressure can’t be exerted on the ABC by anyone, including a bias-claiming government of the day that may not like a report.


Egg on face

And hasn’t corporate Australia come in for a hammering in the interim report of the royal commission on finance, banking, insurance, etc.

Not surprisingly, just about the whole industry has been shown to be as crooked as a dog’s hind leg.

Yet our government leaders in particular tried and tried to convince us a royal commission was not needed, with the Treasurer of the day claiming so on 26 occasions, yes 26 occasions, over  almost two years (actually 600 days) until the demand was so strong he had to give in.

And who was that Treasurer? None other than the latest Prime Minister of Australia, Scott

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By | October 7th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


Wearing of the white

I notice in some overseas ‘optical’ publications a sudden abundance of images of smiling practitioners wearing white coats, accompanying learned reports aimed at the faithful.

In days of yore, as a matter of course, they were worn by students in optometry courses, preparing them for when they graduated and took on the wearing of white as the done thing.

Apparently, it followed on from what medical students and practitioners did.

Today, the acres of white have largely been abandoned – by medicos and optos. Sometimes a suit, but usually smart casual for both ladies and gents.

Much more comfortable and just as professional looking.


Protecting the ‘independents’

It’s always interesting to watch the shenanigans of the self-styled protectors of ‘independent’ optometry practices in the face of fierce (and successful) competition from what they insist on calling “optical chains”.

The nonsense comes from all manner of groups, from academia to industry associations, with suppliers who wish to curry favour to ‘independents’ blathering on about how they support them, while doing as  much as they can to become suppliers to the big guys.

The two faces they show are, at times, almost staggering, deserving to be disregarded for their efforts.


Heave-ho, health minister

Question: When do you know a politician is lying? Answer: When their mouth is open.

An old comment;

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By | September 7th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


Canberra capers

Last week’s capers in Canberra have come to a merciful end, with a new prime minister elected by his party members after his predecessor quit for a more-sane life.

We’ll have to wait to see if the new PM has left behind the cruelty that he and the MP who kicked off last week’s failed coup shared as immigration and home affairs ministers respectively– i.e. the ill-treatment of asylum seekers.

Hopefully he has, however both the federal government and the opposition have shown no signs of rectifying such treatment.

Odds are he hasn’t.


The best comment

The best comment on the hard right’s failed coup came from former senator Amanda Vanstone: “It takes a special kind of stupidity to organise a coup that you don’t win.”


A universal health scheme?

When the original Medibank health-care scheme was introduced way back in 1975 (becoming Medicare in 1984), it was described as a ‘universal health scheme’ which would be in reach of everybody, with ‘gaps’ between fees and benefits payable kept to a minimum.

The medical profession kicked up a fuss, regarding it as the end of mankind as we knew it, even though there was no restriction on what fees could be charged by medicos and benefits paid for their medical services – apart from the usual constraints

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By | August 27th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


Why do organisations, when preparing submissions to politicians (usually ministers) and when usually seeking something, always seem to address the subject of their missive as ‘The Hon’?

As background, I recently came across an example online where ‘The Hon’ concerned was being asked to provide support for a no-doubt-worthy cause.

Said ‘The Hon’ was one of three federal ministers who earlier had to make grovelling apologies to a court in Victoria which they had criticised, thereby running the risk of having to face allegations of contempt of court.

Fortunately for the three, the court accepted their eventual apologies and they were off the hook.

Why use ‘The Hon’? Politicians as a group are not particularly ‘honourable’, as implied by that form of address. And they probably aren’t impressed by its use; if anything, they’re probably contemptuous of its use.


By | August 12th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


My Health Record

It’s difficult not to become concerned about what the federal government is up to with its My Health Record that will reveal everything online about each person’s health history unless they opt out by 15 October.

Under the original legislation, a police officer would have been allowed to access an individual’s health record without a warrant. The thought of Constable Plod being able to do so was a worry, but not surprising given the likes of Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and his head of department, Mike Pezzullo, were in it up to their eyeballs.

Once the community found out and kicked up a fuss, Health Minister Greg Hunt had no option than to back down; now, before Plod can see any health record, it will be necessary for him/her to obtain a warrant from a court – as should have been so from the very beginning.

Mentioning Peter Dutton, your humble scribe heard him speak when for some reason he was selected to be an invited speaker at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists’ Annual Scientific Congress held in Canberra in 2011.

He made little sense then; he makes even less now.


Battle of the trade fairs

The battle between the two organisers of optical trade exhibitions in Australia is

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By | August 1st, 2018|Comment|

Pluvius comments …


Out of control?

President of the United States, Donald Trump, erratic performer extraordinaire, while he was in Britain managed to breach every known custom of diplomacy (and basic manners) by criticising British Prime Minister, Theresa May, over her post-Brexit negotiations.

So is he as clever at negotiating as he would have us all believe? Take his ability when it comes to health-care legislation in the ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave’; to be kind, it is downright pathetic.

Having made a great noise during the 2016 presidential election campaign about ‘fixing Obamacare’, he and his Republican lieutenants in Congress haven’t been able to come up with anything that worked for health care, with all their bills ending up amounting to just about nothing and failing to be passed into law.

As matters stand, Donald Trump has come over as an ignoramus, seemingly determined to insult and humiliate his host; appearing to be as crazy as they come.

As for his behavior in Helsinki, it was so outrageous as to not warrant comment.


Carrying on

Former Test-cricket great, Pakistan’s Imran Khan, has been in the news as his nation is about to go to the polls in an election that could see him become prime minister.

It brought to mind a report in Britain’s Private Eye

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By | July 19th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


Grateful thanks

What a relief for the whole world as the 12 boys and their football coach trapped in a cave in Thailand were all eventually brought out by a team of brave people. Once the last of them came out, you could almost hear the whole world breathe a huge sigh of relief.

It was a magnificent effort by so many, none of whom stood to gain anything from saving the lives of the 13 young people.

It showed human beings at their best.



Scanning through some write-ups on forthcoming trade fairs, my eye caught sight of a word that I had never associated with what lay in store for visitors to such an event.

The word was ‘inspire’, used in the write-up to describe what will apparently happen to visitors when they turn up.

Curious, I looked up a dictionary or two, to find synonyms for ‘inspire’ include: encourage, hearten, uplift, stir, rouse, stimulate, electrify, exhilarate, excite, motivate, cause, incline, persuade, influence, move, spur on, goad, energize, galvanize, incite, and impel.

And that’s before the drinks start to flow after a hard day’s visiting

By | July 14th, 2018|Comment|