It will no longer be legal for transnational pharmaceutical corporations to bribe doctors with fancy caviar dinners and nightclub entertainment at swank holiday resorts. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has introduced trial restrictions on doctor bribing, allowing only quiches and salad rolls and banning strip clubs and yacht cruises where traditionally "medical instruction" has taken place to ensure doctors purchase the "right" brand of drug for their practices. The Commission will conduct random checks ("Is that a lobster or a garter in your salad?") to see that these monstrously heavy regulations are being adhered to by the good and honest folk at Pfizer and Monsanto.
* * *Did you know that the word "dole" has a strong association with the term "dole bludger"? A report from the Centre for Applied Economic Research at the University of NSW suggests that the Government change the name of its Work for the Dole Scheme because "it stigmatises participants by reinforcing negative stereotypes of the unemployed". Sure, that's what's wrong. It doesn't have a snappy enough title. How about "Cheap Labour Pride" or "subsidisedslavery.com". * * *If there was a Hypocrite of the Year award it would have to go to PM Howard. If we need reminding, Howard committed Australia to the criminal bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq. His Government's immigration policy locks up asylum seekers, men women and children, including many Iraqis. Last week Howard paid "tribute" to the visiting Iraqi soccer team prior to its first game, in Perth. "I know this match will touch the hearts of sports supporters around the globe." And he didn't even bother to go to the game: his puerile platitudes were delivered in a recorded message. * * *On the other hand, Howard would have shown up if the military were at the Perth match. Since the UN force entered East Timor in 1999 he has presided over no less than 30 farewell and welcome home ceremonies for the defence forces, each time personally addressing the troops (in the presence of a gaggles of media, of course). And almost in the same breath he denies promoting militarism. The endless parades and speechmaking has also been an attempt by the Government to shift public attention away from the lies about weapons of mass destruction on which the war was based. * * *CAPITALIST HOG OF THE WEEK: is Federal Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane. Responsible for eliminating tariff protection for Australia's clothing, textile, footwear and car industries (a more accurate title would be Minister for Destroying Industry). One of Macfarlane's favourite people is Colin Powell, who he says, "has a number of good rules" including, "Don't let adverse facts get in the way of a good decision".