Ulysses comments …


Western Civilisation Part 2

The dispute between the Ramsay Centre and the Australian National University continues unabated.

It’s now been revealed that six weeks of intense negotiations between the two organisations have failed to end the current impasse between them.

On one side, Ramsay Centre, is its chairman John Howard (yes, the sometime prime minister), reportedly digging in his heels for the right to approve staff appointments to teach the course in Western Civilisation, monitor content of the course as well as veto curriculum decisions, and, get this one, have representatives actually sit in on classes to do “health checks’ on content.

On the other side is ANU’s vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt, who has walked away from $3 billion funding from Ramsay Centre to establish and run the course, in the interests of “academic freedom” above a pile of money.

The University of Sydney is now in talks to see if it can land the money, but surely it will follow the fine example of ANU and, if there are to be such childish attacks on academic freedom, tell Ramsay Centre what it can do with the money – sideways if it likes.


Royal Commission

Hopefully, in between patients/clients you’ve been able to have a squizz at the best show in town – the ‘Royal Commission into Misconduct

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By | July 1st, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


Western civilisation

Perhaps the Ramsay Centre and the Australian National University, at odds over the latter’s decision not to offer a degree course in Western civilisation, might like to consider what India’s Mahatma Gandhi said when asked what he thought about Western civilisation:

“I think it would be a good idea.”


Telstra’s troubles

One of the nation’s favoured idle pastimes is to knock Telstrta for all of its disasters, such as what are no better than highway robberies of customers, failures to meet competition, downright rudeness of staff, and just about every other commercial crime against humanity you can think of.

It decision to sack 9,500 staff and then seek to add 1,500, for a net employment loss of 8,000 people, is probably the worst of its litany of commercial misbehaviours. The attempt by the company’s CEO to justify the sackings was received by investors with a big share-price drop, signalling little confidence that the recovery plan outlined by the CEO is nothing more than a a complete dud.

But the alarming new for we millions of Telstra customers is ‘we ain’t seen nothing’ yet’ should we be so unfortunate as to need a faulty service fixed. It’s been bad enough, before the axing of 8,000 jobs. Imagine what it’s going to be like when

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By | June 24th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


A nice extra earner

I notice more and more medical specialists’ bills for services rendered are $220.

It brings to mind pre-decimal-currency days, when specialists charged, for example, three guineas (i.e. £3/3/0) for their services, the three shillings for some reason meant to signify it was a ‘professional fee’ contrary to such a crass thing as a charge in ‘filthy lucre’ for every other goods or services.

A nice little extra for the bank account too.


Call me Doctor

Glancing through a promotional blurb for a trade fair, I was struck by mention of an orthoptist, using the much-sought-after title ‘Dr’.

In short, orthoptists are not entitled to use ‘Dr’ as they do not come under the control of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, which has OK’d such use for 14 health-care groups (provided an accompanying health-care practitioner title is included), but orthoptists are not included in the 14 groups.

Given their training and the work they do, isn’t it time for that to happen?


No more teachers?

According to an overseas academic who has been babbling on hereabouts in recent days, the term ‘teacher’ is out-dated and should be replaced with ‘learning designer’ – waffle if ever there was.

The word ‘teacher’ has been used for 2,000-plus years and people know what it means in its various forms.


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By | June 11th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …

More lies, lies, etc
A closer examination of the ‘Canstar Blue 2018 Customer Satisfaction Ratings for Optometrists’ brings to light another indication it’s a dud.
It’s been pointed out to your humble scribe that Budget Eyewear is included in Canister Blue’s roll of honour, despite being reduced to a handful of retail locations about ten years ago – when OPSM dropped its bundle, settling for a small number of Budget Eyewear managers being left in place.

Put simply, Budget Eyewear is nowhere near the likes of OPSM or Specsavers or any one of the other smaller chains when it comes to store numbers, so how does it even earn a place in the survey, let alone a mention?

Readers may well ask who did this lazy (and inaccurate) work? And why?


The shameful banks

Watching hearings of the banks royal commission, viewers were no doubt appalled at the treatment of an elderly lady by one of the Big Four when signing her up as guarantor for a relative, putting up her home as security.

Not only was she suffering form a long list of conditions when she dealt with the bank and when she gave evidence to the commission, but it came out she had to have every important document read to her.

Why? Because she could

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By | June 3rd, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


The Roy Morgan survey’s finding, reported on 17 May, that 53 per cent of the 256,000 people did not renew their private health insurance cover on costs grounds in the year to March comes as no surprise.

The people who did so attributed their decision to seeing no real value in having private health insurance, given its cost and perceived benefits over simply relying on Medicare.

Even with all of the private-health-insurance cover in the world, the gaps continue to increase alarmingly between fees charged and the miserable benefits paid, whether it’s for in-practice procedures or for in-hospital, so much so that any concept of an affordable universal health scheme has largely become a dream.

The rot set in when several major private health funds were demutualised by the suits and listed on the sharemarket, such as Medibank Private and NIB, and/or bought by bigger companies, such as British fund Bupa.

That means a profit margin has to be included in their operations and results so as to keep shareholders happy, otherwise they would turn on the suits (a.k.a. directors and senior staff} and boot them out.

It’s little if anything to do with health, rather the interests of the suits and those they command.

Regrettably, more and more like America every day.


Big noting

How’s this for

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By | May 20th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …

Myopia Week

It’s ‘Myopia Week’, which will no doubt bring out all of the experts from their research warrens, accompanied by the usual descriptions of work towards ‘solutions’ to the condition.

It brings to mind the claim made publicly by the late Professor Brien Holden at a function at the University of NSW that as a result of research by his organisation here and some of his colleagues overseas: “Myopia will be cured within three years”; yes within three years.

That was in 2003. What progress towards a cure 14 years on?


Age shall not weary PMs

Malaysia has a new prime minister, surprise election winner Mahathir Mohamad, aged 92.

Based on that, former PM John Howard, 78, if his party loses the next federal election (due by the end of 2019, but could be earlier), he could make a comeback the one after, being only about 83-84 years of age if he stood then and won.

A mere youngster.



When will politicians of all shapes and sizes come to realise that the electorate-at-large has more collective nous than they have; much more.

Witness the results of a Fairfax/Ipsos poll, published this week, that showed, inter alia, 57 per cent of electors want excess revenue to be used to pay off government debt, compared to 38 per cent who

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By | May 16th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


TGA or not TGA

Seeking information from the Therapeutic Goods Administration on its proposal to introduce a $530 fee for registration with it of frames and lenses (yes, frames and lenses!), Today’s News sent off an email asking some basic questions.

Back came the response: a reply to my questions could take anywhere between five and 20 working days, with a tag line “We appreciate your patience.”


By | May 6th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


Next year’s ‘Oz of the Year’?

A day or so ago, I praised the star of proceedings at the royal commission into banks and the finance-advice industries, senior counsel assisting, Rowena Orr, QC, (a.k.a. Rowena ‘Shock and Orr’), who has quietly taken apart witnesses after witness, slice by slice, during hearings.

Today there are calls for her to be nominated for ‘Australian of the Year’ in 2019 (too late for 2018).

Just leave the brown envelope in the mailbox, Rowena.


Something for the big shots

Something for all of the big shots in the banks and financial-advice companies: “Be ye ever so high, the law is always above thee.”

– 17th century historian Thomas Fuller


No relation

The editor and publisher of Today’s Ophthalmic News, Neil Forbes, is no relation to Vivienne Forbes, a speaker at the Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association’s forthcoming ‘O Show’ in Melbourne. Ms Forbes will speak on business relationship building.

By | May 3rd, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …  


Tax cuts a con

When oh when will we all wake up to the fact that big corporate tax cuts such as those wished for by the federal government just don’t work.

As any Economics 101 student soon gets to know, big tax cuts benefit investors through higher dividends and top brass with even higher salaries.

Sitting by are the rest of us, whose increased share of the cake is hardly worth noticing.

Tax cuts? A great big con.


Aren’t the banks doing well?

And speaking about cons, hasn’t the behaviour of the banks and financial-service providers been shown up as the royal commission looks into their behaviour?

One by one the big shots have sent minions along to face the music (most of whom seem to be trying hard, but largely ending up on toast).

The star of proceedings, gentle questioning in her soft voice, is senior counsel assisting, Rowena Orr, QC, (a.k.a. Rowena ‘Shock and Orr’), who has quietly taken apart witnesses after witness, slice by slice. A few witnesses have escaped her scalpel, but not many.

Hopefully the royal commission will lead eventually to a better deal for everyone, as a result of its findings, including the banks getting legislated out of the financial-advice business and forced to concentrate on banking services.

We can only hope.

By | April 29th, 2018|Comment|

Ulysses comments …


Back after a short illness

Happy to report back after a short illness; nothing to worry about. The treatment received was much appreciated – and successful.

Now it’s back to the keyboard and blue pencil!


Setting the record straight

I noticed a write-up in an optical magazine reporting a retail optical group’s CEO claiming media reports last year suggesting there was doubt about the group’s ability to continue were inaccurate, followed by direct quotes from the CEO in support of that claim.

The fact is the information about the group’s ability to continue was published in the group’s own directors report to shareholders to 30 June 2017, including this independent statement from its [chartered-accountant] auditors: “… these events or conditions, along with other matters as set forth in [a note to the accounts] indicate that a material uncertainty may exist that may cast significant doubts on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern. Our opinion is not modified in respect of this matter.”

The auditors also said: “The directors are of the opinion that the debt financing and the growth in the businesses required will enable the group to pay its debts when they fall due and therefore believe it is appropriate to prepare the financial report on the going concern basis.

“However in the event

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By | April 18th, 2018|Comment|