Allan Takes Aim Blog

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Still alive and kicking

Those of you interested in reading Allan Takes Aim may wonder where the blog disappeared to over the past few weeks. Unfortunately my train of thought and capacity to write had been curtailed by a heart condition I didn’t know I had which necessitated hospitalisation.  Less fortunately it also proved to be a condition that could prove fatal if surgery was used to remedy it.

Fortunately, however, I am now on a program of medication that will allow me time to do a lot of things I thought would be denied me. But discovery of the condition also brought me one particular benefit: I can now rebut allegations of heartlessness.

The discovery has also renewed my belief in the adage ‘where there’s life there’s hope‘ a hope that in this case springs from my confidence in the doctors, nurses and the many other staff members of Canberra Hospital who, in attending on people with conditions similar to mine, perform medical miracles on a daily basis.

The other people who need thanking are family members and friends whose support lifted my spirits. My thanks also, go to the Board of the ACT Association for Disabled Sport and Recreation Inc, for its strong support.

But let me now address thanks to another group of people some of whom I have never met except through  ‘Allan Takes Aim.’

Thank you for your support

In a few days the blog Allan Takes Aim (http// the successor to the very successful weekly Don Allan column that ran for 19 years in The Chronicle, Canberra and that you have supported, will celebrate its first birthday.

That the blog has survived is due not only to many readers of The Chronicle who donated fifty dollars, some more but also to those who gave their support in writing plus anonymous contributions from others who helped me continue writing.

Many of these people, like me, think the right of free speech is being eroded to the extent that, unless ‘we’ ‘ordinary’ people – as so often we are described by those who subconsciously in some cases think themselves extraordinary – speak up, our right might be extinguished.

Ironically many of those who use the discriminatory word ‘ordinary’ and preach equality but never practice it, are the very people who jump up and down in confected rage and accuse  ‘ordinary’ people of discrimination when they have done nothing more than use the common language of society. These people delude themselves into thinking that their confected rage gives them an image of being out of the ordinary. And they are: unfortunately they don’t know it.

Let me end my first blog since returning to active life by saying I am humbled by the fact that so many people who knew me only through The Chronicle and the report of the Blog’s launch in Canberra’s City News, made a contribution. To all of you I say: Thank You.

And while not all of those who gave their support agreed with what I wrote, I am hopeful they will continue to help keep the blog alive.

Yours sincerely,

Don Allan OAM

Comment welcome.

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The National Disability Scheme (NDIS) is now Disability Care: I hope you never need it

I received the following article by e-mail from a person – not its author, whom I do not know. The article’s title is mine not the author’s, so that in the words “I hope you never need it” I am expressing a personal hope that no reader of the article nor any member of their family ever becomes so disabled that they need care to help them live life to the fullest.

Disabled myself and having been involved in the disability field for many years I am publishing the article to help raise awareness of the need for governments to take a long term view of the problem of disability. Disability Care is a step in the right direction.

“The National Disability Insurance Scheme which we are all paying for is going before Parliament at present. I was listening to a panel discussion last Friday and was curious as to why the CEO of Disability Services Australia was less than enthusiastic about the Scheme in its present form. It was pointed out that anyone 65 years or older would not be covered by the scheme, the reason being it would make the scheme cost prohibitive (given an aging population, etc.).

If you have a disability at the time you reach 65 years of age you will be covered for the benefits of the scheme when you pass age 65. If you become disabled at age 65 or over you will not be covered and there is no other safety net scheme to provide support and services other than present State and private Health Insurance products/services.

The Disability Services representative on the panel pointed out that a large number of disability cases in the community affect elderly people who by misfortune have a stroke leading to partial or greater permanent disability, folk with bone degenerative disease, osteoporosis etc, other degenerative disease- Dementia, Parkinson’s and the like, plus serious accidental- broken hips, etc. From age 65 and older none of these people are covered and as was pointed out the impact of this exclusion would include large numbers of baby boomers, parents and grandparents of the current 25-40 year olds. I have not heard one mention of this exclusion from any of the Politicians from both sides. What was mentioned from a legal participant in last Friday’s panel discussion was that the Federal Government tinkered carefully with the title of NDIS, so as to have a loop hole against future litigation for discriminating against a section of the Australian population with a Nationally funded program. Apparently the trick is in the use of the word “Insurance” in the scheme.

From a Western Australian perspective, I can also understand Colin Barnett’s reticence to sign up to the scheme. Our current state run disability scheme offers more comprehensive and superior services to that of the services proposed by the NDIS and there are no age exclusions. It was pointed out that with the present proposal if we are part of the NDIS our level of services will decrease.

My own view is that while the concept of an NDIS is laudable, I question why in main younger 30-40 year olds are paying an increased Medicare levy to fund a scheme that would not cover their parents and elderly dear ones, in the event of disability. In the age 30 to 40 group young people are career focussed, have a lot of cost in their lives, getting established with a house, raising young children etc, so the scheme should be funded from consolidated revenue and not yet another levy.

They also mentioned in the panel discussion that around 1000 Commonwealth Public Service FTE’s would be required to administer the Scheme from Canberra. Again I have great concern about the efficiency of this, given the Federal Government’s track record with the Home Insulation Program, Better Schools Program, management of Australian border protection and the like.

If you feel inclined please forward this email on so at least there will be a better awareness of the pitfalls and oversights in the hurried put together of the NDIS- in that way we can get it changed to cover all the Australian population. Thank you.”

Comment welcome.

If you would like to receive my blog automatically, you can RSS it or become a follower by using the ‘follow’ connection at bottom right of the published page.

N.B. if you send your comments directly to me I will send them on to the person who sent me the e-mail who in turn, can send them to the author.

Speak up for Free Speech

I’m thinking of changing the name of the blog from Allan Takes Aim to the title of this note.

The idea of the blog was to give the community at large a platform so that they raise their voices and let everyone know what they were thinking about not just what newspaper editors or producers in the electronic media thought worth making public.

Unfortunately, what has happened is that has become an avenue for free advertising not the free speech platform I hoped for.

Where are the people who in private voice their disagrement about what is being done to them in the name of democracy? Is their disagreement a sham and are they afraid to make it known publicly because it might affect their career, status or standing with politicians or influential political or business groups. If they are people of the latter stripe, they are people without integrity.

I am an optimist and think more of my fellow man than that they are frauds (although there may be some) who embrace causes to make themselves look good and discard them when they don’t get the status they think their support deserves.

Let me stress that contributions are not limited to articles on politics or business. Articles on every subject under the sun will be accepted and printed as received except that obvious slanderous or libellous comment will be deleted. Free speech needs no such comments.

And nor articles need be of Pulitzer Prize standard; articles need only display common sense. It will also be up to contributors if they wish to give the web site administrator the authority to make minor alterations.

Finally, the power of free speech is lessened when its author offers it on condition of anonymity, although occasionally a pseudonym will be allowed.

N.B. Articles contributed should not exceed 700 words and suggestions for a new name for the Blog will be welcomed .

Articles can be sent to:

The blog ‘Beware the potholes on Democracy Road” 8th March, contained a number of errors caused by my not being able to concentrate. As a result the posted blog had some minor grammatical errors. Apologies to all.
Don Allan

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Read on.

Have you tried the duck test?

The duck test is a humorous term for a form of inductive reasoning usually expressed as:

‘If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then probably it is a duck.’ The assumption in this saying is that a person can identify an unknown subject by observing its habitual characteristics. It is an assumption sometimes used to counter abstruse arguments that something is not what it appears to be. Being named Donald, this is a subject of interest to me as I would not take kindly to someone claiming to be a duck without having legitimate right.

I mention this because today two venerable Australian newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have set out to reinvent themselves in the digital age by changing their size. For more than a hundred years each has been a broadsheet but from today, their owner, Australia’s Fairfax Press, has decided the only way for them to survive in the digital age was for them to become to become ‘compacts,’ a snobbish description of tabloids.

The description is snobbish and the hangover of bygone days in newspaper publishing. In fact the great newspapers of the world today, with but few exceptions, are tabloids. There has been much prating about broadsheets being the home of quality journalism something that makes me think of the old TV comedy, ‘never mind the quality feel the width’ which leads me to ask: do their other tabloid/ compacts lack quality journalism?

That apart what makes a quality journalist? There seems to be a view among many in Canberra that the only journalists of quality are those who write or comment about politics, industrial matters, science, education and a few other disciplines. At the same other journalists are frequent seen on TV or heard on radio talking to each other and offering opinions about issues they write about that usually are the same. The problem is the public really only get the journalist’s view not the wider view of the public. But that’s a subject for another day.

The fact is that I’m of the opinion that the decision makers at Fairfax couldn’t see the wood for the trees. For example: before they made the ‘compact’ decision did they take a look at the shelves in a newsagent’s? If they did how many broadsheet magazines, trade publications not to mention sporting publications and community newspapers did they see?

What has happened in newspapers is the same as has happened in the world of computers. Like the pamphlets that gave birth to newspapers the first computer screens were small. Then gradually they grew so much so that they have started to overwhelm the home scene as people try to keep up with the Jones’s and outdo each other.

But big as TVs are the smaller tablets and Iphones are rapidly replacing them as peoples’ preferred means of reading and viewing.  And much as they might not like it, older people long used to a menu of broadsheet newspapers will have to get used to the new menu of tabloid/compacts. Of course, in time these too, will disappear.

That said, I am consoled by the fact that Fairfax is keeping the Canberra Times as a broadsheet. But broadsheet or I can but say that the promises made by politicians aren’t any truer or any better when published in the Canberra Times or a compact Sydney Morning Herald or Age, Melbourne or even in a News Ltd tabloid.

Important announcement
to all readers of Blog – Allan Takes Aim

I am loathe to take the following action but, but to help reduce the volume of spam on the site, as from February 1, only people registered and logged on to will be able access and comment on the blog.

Those who do not wish to make their comments privately can contact me direct at:

Let me restate that this site was not established as a means of free advertising under the umbrella of another site, but for the purpose of promulgating the exchange of ideas and t Bloghe promotion of free speech.

And people whose first language is not English should not shy away from making comment: most people will understand what you have to say.

Let me thank you in advance for your co-operation.

Yours sincerely,
Don Allan OAM

Enervating is the only way to describe the weather around Canberra and many other parts of Australia today. But if enervation is making you feel sorry for yourself I ask you to energise yourself and start thinking about the people affected by the loss of life, not in the physical sense, but mentally, as they return to where once they lived.

In all probability they will continue to experience that loss of life as they remember the home that had become the repository of how they had lived and loved over more years than they care to remember. The memories will be sad particularly for those people whose wife or husband is already experiencing memory loss. No amount of money, no matter how large, will ever be able to compensate for that loss.

I can write about the latter because as that particular danger has already intruded into my life, when it reaches its zenith it will feel as if a firestorm has consumed the person I have been married to for fifty three years come Wednesday, 16th January.

Even if not affected by any of the foregoing I know many future experiences will trigger past memories for people. It could be a smell of perfume, the smell from a particular dish being cooked and anticipating the feeling of pleasure it brought even if only a meat pie and chips which, though not an epicurean delight, felt that way because in its preparation it carried that special love ingredient that was part of their everyday life.

That said, I have no intention of getting on my soap box to harangue you about other matters that have the same effect as bushfires. In fact I only have to read the daily papers, listen to news broadcasts on radio and television to bring memories of seventy years ago.

But I would be wrong not to say something so let me start with the firebombing carried out by the Luftwaffe on Glasgow (my paternal grandparents were affected and had to be evacuated) and other parts of Britain, that were reciprocated at a later date by the RAF with its attack on Dresden. I hoped that, as civilisation improved, no longer would people deliberately start a fire that would kill. It seems inconceivable that some people in society today that some people still do so.

Of course I don’t have to go as far back in time to the two examples I’ve used. One only has to look at Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt and those other Middle Eastern countries that on a daily basis face bombing that cause fires, kills many and leaves families in a similar state to those damaged by the bushfires.

But perhaps the reason that this condition still exists is because so much violence still exists; that society has become so acclimatised to violence that whatever its form and whenever it occurs it is now taken for granted.

Little wonder that some people are given to say of civilisation: bah, humbug.
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