Posted by: jkirkby8712 | May 11, 2012

Friday, 11th May 2012 – medical matters, and other issues of the week.

It was my turn to be attending to medical matters this morning – off to see Larry McGrath for a few renewal prescriptions, and to enquire/mention a couple of medical concerns, the outcome of which were two referrals – one for a ultra scan for pain under ribs which I was assuming was merely a turn muscle, but doctor suggested possibility of gallstone[s]  – much prefer it was a muscle problem,   and for long running [since Christmas anyway], digestive tract discomfort, a referral for a possible endoscopy medical procedure. Now that one disturbed me a little, depending on the nature of the problem as to some of the potential long term consequences – but let’s not jump ahead of ourselves on that one!

The ultra-scan I organised for tomorrow morning [which was going to throw out my Saturday morning plans for the gymnasium and the time I would be able to assist Jodie in her move to Ascot Vale] – was the first time available, so thought it better to get that one over and done with. Meanwhile, the initial consultation for the endoscopy was planned for 31 May. I just had to make sure that didn’t interfere with any planned visits to assist Heather after her operation this coming week.

In the meantime, the Coalition continues to bombard the ‘faithful’ with the same messages – but they need to get these messages out to the broader community, it’s no good just reminding me of what I’ve already heard, namely that   ‘Last night, Tony Abbott lit the beacon of hope for all Australians when he delivered the Coalition’s addressin- reply to the Budget. He outlined the Coalition’s plan for the future of our nation, a plan with strong economic growth the overriding focus. A plan that will restore hope, reward and opportunity for all Australians and a plan that is in touch with the aspirations of every community . Tony Abbott knows the concerns in local communities – he has made 51 visits to Victoria alone in the last 18 months, meeting with local leaders, hosting community forums and taking the time to speak with business and industry. The message is the same whenever I accompany Tony on his visits to regional Victoria. The Labor-Green Government of Julia Gillard cannot be believed, it certainly cannot be trusted and its dysfunctional existence is impacting on jobs and livelihoods. And Julia Gillard? Never seen and certainly not listening…………..’  [Liberal Senator Michael Ronaldson].  Sadly, more broad statements, little detail to give precise hope to those they are trying to convince that a change of government is required.  At least there was a great family photo on the front of today’s Australian newspaper – of Tony embracing his three daughters prior to delivering his budget reply speech, obviously wanting to convince the public that he is as human as the rest of us – I’ve actually no doubt about that, just sometimes wish he would change his political tactics sometimes!!

There was one aspect of Mr Abbott’s speech, that I considered of particular importance, and that related to the study of other languages in this country. Though keeping in mind, that the plans referred to below, should have been  encouraged and instigated years ago, while the Coalition was in government,  the Opposition Leader now says that:-    ‘Madam Deputy Speaker, too often, government’s focus is on the urgent rather than the important; on what drives tomorrow’s headline rather than on what changes our country for the better.  We are supposed to be adapting to the Asian century, yet Australians’ study of foreign languages, especially Asian languages, is in precipitous decline. The proportion of Year 12 students studying a foreign language has dropped from about 40 per cent in the 1960s to about 12 per cent now. There are now only about 300 Year 12 Mandarin students who aren’t of Chinese-heritage. Since 2001, there has been a 21 per cent decline in the numbers studying Japanese and a 40 per cent decline in the numbers studying Indonesian.  If Australians are to make their way in the world, we cannot rely on other people speaking our language.  Starting in pre-school every student should have an exposure to foreign languages.  This will be a generational shift because foreign language speakers will have to be mobilised and because teachers take time to be trained. Still, the next Coalition government will make a strong start.  My commitment tonight is to work urgently with the states to ensure that at least 40 per cent of Year 12 students are once more taking a language other than English within a decade.’  I  have always felt that in comparison to students in Asia, and particularly European countries, the ability of Australians to speak a language other than English is such a minority as to be shameful. Whatever Party is in power, I would like to see more legislation and action in this area.

Meanwhile, Susie had a shift at the bakery this afternoon – can’t say that her cold sounded much better, but presumably enough for her to go out to work for a few hours.  She seemed bright enough when she returned home later this evening. Tomorrow, her sister, Jodie, is moving out of home – she and Ash are moving down to Ascot Vale, which from a travel point of view is much closer to both of their places of employment. When I rang Jodie tonight she was in the process of packing –  and feeling horrified at just how much ‘stuff’ she had accumulated!!

I was reading a couple of articles in this month’s Limelight Magazine this evening, and came across a couple of interesting little quotations.  In an article about Kristian Winther, who has just completed his first national tour as one of the two new members of the Australian String Quartet, mention was made of the 1784 Guadagnini Violin which he has taken ‘temporary’ possession as a member of the ASQ, which he described as :an extraordinary beast which is taking time to master but is always a joy to play. It’s scary to realise that in the violin case that goes with me Everywhere, is something made before almost every building in Australia’. In another article, written by Guy Noble, in which he is discussing the fact that orchestral musicians provide all the sounds, yet conductors bear all the responsibility and get all the glory, he comes out with the quotation that   “A great conductor is nothing without great  musicians, and great conductors only work with great musicians”.

I had things to do tonight, but think I found myself sitting in front of the TV later on, watching a bit of football while knowing I should be doing something else. And yes, there were a few messages exchanged between Ballarat and here throughout the course of the day and evening. Heather is rather busy at present, rushing around trying to get various tasks done before she goes into hospital next week, and also trying to finalise matters relating to her mother’s estate. Interesting to learn that the sale of the antique furniture shop which had been in the family since we were both kids, had finally been sold by her brother, and Heather admitted to a few pangs of sadness when she drove past it today!

One more matter arising out of this week’s budget which might have a direct affect on me eventually, came in advice from the AMRAP organisation – the Australian Music Radio AirPlay Project – from which I obtain a lot of the music free of charge that I play on the radio of a Monday night. The basis on which that music is able to be provided to me, and other subscribers from radio stations relates to Federal Government funding.  AMRAP’s email advice today was as follows:-

Dear Bill,    CBAA General Manager Kath Letch and I wanted to contact you personally to let you know that unfortunately Amrap was not allocated any funding for 2012-13 in the Federal Budget on Tuesday. It is an extremely disappointing outcome considering the very positive results from the Government’s independent review of Amrap in 2011 and the strength of the project.  The CBAA is committed to continuing Amrap and is working towards finding funding options and is in discussions with Senator Conroy’s office. All Amrap activities will continue as normal for stations and musicians.  The CBAA regards Amrap services as a critical national infrastructure project for community radio stations throughout the country and it plays an essential role in supporting community broadcasters and Australian music. We’re optimistic that funding solutions can be identified to maintain Amrap and will keep you up to date with progress.   If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me on or the CBAA General Manager Kath Letch on  And don’t forget to order great Australian music for airplay at
Best regards,  Chris Johnson & Kath Letch  The Australian Music Radio Airplay Project

I’m hopeful that this won’t in the long run affect the current selection and distribution process, but one can never be guaranteed of anything when it comes to government funding!


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