Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this article includes the name and image of a person who has passed.
As momentum builds around Australia’s first National Health and Climate Strategy, will it recommend that those working in the health sector reduce their air travel? This week’s column suggests that it should.
We also bring news on COVID, air pollution, and health reform debates. Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and chair of Beyond Blue has joined others in sharing tributes to the late Russell Taylor AM, a proud Kamilaroi man and former CEO of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.
Getting serious on climate
What does serious climate action look like? In this article, Prof Kevin Anderson from Manchester University gives some suggestions including:
- a Marshall Plan-style roll-out of low and zero carbon technologies, which cover retrofitting our houses, public transport, and massive electrification
- profound changes in the socioeconomic structure of modern society
- an immediate moratorium on airport expansion and a plan to deliver a fair 80 percent cut in all air travel by 2030
- no more new internal combustion engine cars would be built from 2025, and there would be a huge shift away from private cars in cities and urban environments coupled with a shift towards public transport and active travel
- the retrofit of existing homes, not just a pilot scheme but actually rolling it out street by street at mass scale
- a massive expansion of electrification in the energy system.
He is hopeful these changes may happen, saying “the rise of civil society engagement on climate issues along with real-world technologies demonstrating what is already possible suggest that we may be in the foothills of a social and technical tipping point”.
In this article, ‘Re-thinking medical ethics as climate change accelerates’, Professor Tony Capon suggests that “a change of clinical culture and mindset” is needed.
Read more on the vaccine announcement.Read the BBC story on the new subvariant Comparison of mental health symptoms before & during the covid-19 pandemic: evidence from a systematic review & meta-analysis of 134 cohorts
Reform vs turf wars?
Health reform discussions have been vigorous, to put it mildly.
Recent publications of note include:
- Out-of-pocket fees for health care in Australia: implications for equity
- The NDIS at ten years: designing an equitable scheme for the next decade
- Medicare oversight needs a reboot: Professor Stephen Duckett
- Commonwealth Power to Improve Access, Quality, and Efficiency of Medical Care: Does section 51 (xxiiiA) of the Constitution Limit Politically Feasible Health Policy Options Today? (In Federal Law Review)
- What if Medicare was restricted to GPs who bulk billed? This kind of reform is possible (following on from the Federal Law Review article)
Meanwhile, this is what real reform for health might look like…
A question for readers: who in the Federal Government is capable of driving a health in all policies agenda? The article mentioned above gives a UK perspective.
Public health matters
One of the authors, Dr Carmen Parter, describes a personal experience with “racism, white privilege and whiteness in action”. The article’s authors write: “As we begin to understand and build the evidence base concerning the realities of racial discrimination and systemic and institutional structural racism, including impacts on health and healthcare services, it is only then that we can heal country and our nation.”
Read: Further investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s health research funding is urgently required Read: Abortion Drugs Are Safe And EffectiveRead: Advancing women’s health requires better evidence
Health organisations and leaders have paid tribute to Russell Taylor AM, a proud Kamilaroi man and former CEO of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.
A Beyond Blue statement said:
Beyond Blue pays its respects to Board Director Russell Taylor AM, who passed away recently.
Russell, a proud Kamilaroi man, had been a member of the Beyond Blue Board since September 2019.
“Russ was a thoughtful, compassionate leader who dedicated his life to advancing the interests of First Nations Peoples,” Beyond Blue Chair The Hon Julia Gillard AC said.
“He was a passionate advocate for community social and emotional wellbeing and Beyond Blue is deeply grateful for his contribution. We will miss him.
“We honour his profound legacy and send our deep condolences to his family, friends, and community.”
Mr Taylor was instrumental to Beyond Blue’s advocacy and work for better wellbeing for First Nations Peoples, including Beyond Blue’s support for the full implementation of Uluru Statement from the Heart and Close the Gap campaign, and as co-chair of Beyond Blue’s Reconciliation Action Plan working group.
He often spoke about his hope for change and his belief that a Voice to Parliament will contribute to better outcomes for First Nations Peoples and communities.
“Russell’s deep expertise and understanding, wise counsel and empathy strengthened our thinking and decision making. That has been appreciated by all and especially by those of us who worked closely with him. It has been a privilege to learn from him over the past four years,” Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said.
Mr Taylor’s work with Beyond Blue was part of a distinguished career that spanned decades of public service.
He received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Technology Sydney in 2019 and was named NAIDOC Male Elder of the Year in 2018.
After retiring as the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, he became an owner and director of the Burbangana Group. He served on the boards of the Healing Foundation, Lowitja Institute, and Nature Conservation Trust and as a delegate to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.
He was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia in 2015 for significant service to the community as a cultural leader and public service executive.
The Healing Foundation said: “We are incredibly grateful to have had the time that we had working with long-time Healing Foundation Board Director, the great Russell Taylor AM.
Though ill for some time, Russ served the nation with strong contributions to healing strategy and impact, well into this year.
During Russ’ term of appointment he chaired the Audit Risk and Finance Committee over several years and even took on the CEO role for a year, during a critical period of evolution for the organisation. And this was just one of many Director roles he took on.
Russ’ legacy as a leader is incomparable, as he consistently demonstrated exemplary professionalism, collegiality, astute judgement, and the generous sharing of wisdom, experience and good humour.
Russ, you were one-of-a-kind. We miss your passionate commitment to pursuing justice for First Peoples across this nation of many nations. We also miss the way in which you mentored and guided newer leaders to perform to a high standard in pursuing this justice.”