The ACT Nanny State

Fresh from banning plastic bags, the ACT Government is now going to ban sugary drinks in ACT schools. Here is the face of the ACT Nanny. She claims that these drinks contribute to childhood obesity. Well if obesity is the objective, why not just ban obesity in the ACT?

What’s next to be banned? Conservative opinion? Liberal party supporters? Voting (think of all that wasted paper)? Meat (we should be all vegetarian in the ACT)? Alcohol (we drink too much and alcohol was previously banned in the ACT)?

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher

About J

J has an economics background and is a part-time consultant
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275 Responses to The ACT Nanny State

  1. Rabz

    Come the revolution when we can hunt them (plaintiff lawyers) for sport, perhaps the underwriters will have a change of mind.

    Bring. It. On.

  2. Matt

    There is one stat there that 25% of people don’t want to use Melbourne bike share because they don’t want to wear a helmet, which is not the same as opposing mandatory helmets, and is not the majority. And with no information on the sample or methodology.

  3. Leigh Lowe

    Trees kill. Girl dies, three injured after tree branch falls at Pitt Town Primary School.

    Of course, we don’t know the exact circumstances of this tragic case, but their ABC reported that there had been a proposal for six-monthly inspections of trees by arborists.
    This idea was canned in favour of principals calling tree specialists on an “as required” basis.
    FFS!
    Most principals don’t know their arse from their elbow about anything other than “delivering curriculum outcomes”.
    Is this just a money-saving measure? Or is it another “Green Initiative” keeping professional arborists away from trees?

  4. coz

    Matt
    #1199042, posted on February 22, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Hi Johanna – I get a bit sidetracked on the technical dental stuff, but it’s a good opportunity to educate more broadly, so sorry about that. I agree, as I said before, that we need an evidence-based approach to this, and you are right to say that in this area the evidence is not strong – but there is some evidence that removing sugar-sweetened beverages from schools (along with other measures such as education) has an impact on obesity and diabetes outcomes. Part of the problem with getting this evidence is the difficulties in conducting the studies, and the multifactorial nature of these problems. Nonetheless, dietary factors are important in the aetiology of these diseases, and there is correlational evidence linking the increase in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and the increase in obesity, diabetes and caries. My initial post in mentioning dental caries was more a frustration that obesity and diabetes are always talked about, but dental caries is also a diet-related disease, and is never talked about.

    I also agree that there is a continuum on which people sit with regard to government intervention into out lives, and as I said early, most people are OK with mandatory seat belts or bike helmets. There are multitude other restrictions on our freedoms, some of which I agree with and others I don’t. In this instance, I don’t see any role for sugar-sweetened beverages to be sold in schools – which is different from saying that kids can’t have these at all.

    Flavoured milk and fruit juice – an interesting one. You’re right to say that milk based drinks are beneficial, but some of the worst cases of tooth decay that we see in infants are caused by what we describe as nursing bottle caries – parents letting their infants fall asleep with a bottle of milk in their mouths. Milk can be cariogenic, and flavoured milk even more so. I’ll let the nutritionists argue about fruit juice, suffice to say that fresh fruit (with fibre intact) beat fruit juice for health benefits. And there are differences between 100% fruit juice, and ‘fruit’ drink that might contain on 20% fruit. Again, from a dental health perspective, it’s a balance. I would advise parents that kids are fine with tap water at school (both the benefits of fluoride, and no sugar), and let them drink their juice, flavoured milk, soft drink or whatever at home. To be honest, I could quite happily live with schools selling milk drinks and 100% fruit juice, if we could get rid of soft drinks and sports drinks, neither of which have intrinsic nutritional value.

    So, Matt, what do you feel is more dangerous dentally, sugary drinks or dentists who are inept at administering anaesthetics? I ask as someone who had two different dentists give me too much anaesthetic within a 5 year period. The first time I came to, making this really loud snoring noise which I later wondered might have been a death rattle (they just stood back aghast, no attempt to assist me) and the second one I buckled at the knees on rising from the chair and he couldn’t get rid of me fast enough, no offer to drive me home or a cab. Which is more dangerous for the dental consumer?

  5. Rabz

    There is one stat there that 25% of people don’t want to use Melbourne bike share because they don’t want to wear a helmet, which is not the same as opposing mandatory helmets, and is not the majority.

    That’s a sample of a sample. The numbers actually using the bikes proves my point.

    People opted out in droves.

  6. Matt

    Coz – disturbing story, but without knowing some of your history a bit hard to comment (at least on the reason why it happened). But the aftercare provided is certainly well below the standard of care I would expect.

  7. Aliice

    Hey Rabz you old toon masta!

    With special thanks to Pedro who wants to shoot up speed cameras! Yay! My full support and if I had decent aim I’d help.

    But the toons Rabz for tonight are Classical Gas (what a classic)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhMuCiAe6vA&list=RDJeHgNqbdBKs

    and barenaked ladies (still cute)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fC_q9KPczAg

  8. coz

    What part of my ‘history’ would you like to know, such that you could offer a comment?

  9. Habib

    Kompulsory kevlar for kiddies, to save them from killer trees! Plus several layers of bubble wrap, don’t forget the breathing tube.

  10. coz

    I’m quite happy to talk about it Matt, because it’s a serious issue and one that a lot of dentist and dental consumers are unaware of.

  11. Matt

    The first part of your statement inferred incompetence based on overdose of anaesthetic, by which I assume you mean local anaesthetic, and not general anaesthetic, sedation or nitrous oxide. The reason you give seems to be an adverse reaction causing loss of consciousness (‘I came too’), and the 2nd buckling at the knees getting out of the chair.
    The 2nd sounds like it could be postural hypotension – common in the dental setting, when you have been lying down for an extended period (particularly if they tilt the chair too much), and then get up suddenly. I would be interested to know history of cardiac problems, medications etc (I’m not actually asking you to provide details).
    The 1st sounds like a faint, which again is common(ish) in the dental chair, and could be for a range of reasons. Toxicity (overdose) requires a large number of dental injections, so probably unlikely. May also be linked to underlying cardiac problems, poorly controlled or undiagnosed diabetes etc.
    So in both cases, plausible explanations for why it might have happened, that don’t necessarily infer negligence or incompetence. But from what you say, the response of the dentist (was it the same one both times?) leave a lot to be desired.
    I guess to your original question, which is more dangerous to the dental consumer, sugary drinks or inept dentists, it’s not really a like for like comparison. There are more than 15,000 dentists in Australia, and around 60% of the population visits the dentist annually. So one inept dentist might be a problem for a relatively small number of people. More than 40% of Australian children have tooth decay, and tooth decay continues to be a problem into adulthood. I’ll let you decide.

  12. Leigh Lowe

    Kompulsory kevlar for kiddies, to save them from killer trees! Plus several layers of bubble wrap, don’t forget the breathing tube.

    I think the nanny-state resistance can totally miss the point at times.
    The usual complaint revolves around the state trying to protect people from their own choices.
    Having an arborist take a 30 minute look at trees in school grounds and public places is a sensible risk management initiative. Particular species of gumtree drop big limbs with great regularity as evidenced by two kids dying in the last three months.
    How many is too many before we stop the reactionary “nanny-state” bleating?

  13. coz

    Matt, I once had a dentist I used for over 15 years, he introduced me to the idea of working without anaesthetic, he never said why, but I was ok with it cos I didn’t like the after effects, yeah you shed some tears, but no danger and no after-effects. Unfortunately he moved a long way away and I then had to use people who were ignorant of the dangers of poorly trained (standard in dentistry) anaesthesia. After the second experience I rang the ADA (in WA where I had moved), not for a law suit but to bring up genuine concerns about the standards of anaesthetic training in dentistry. Since effectively these bodies function as unions, I can’t presume that my concerns went far, but I’m glad to tell my story, nevertheless, I don’t have nice teeth anymore, but at least I’m alive.

  14. Matt

    Not many people are keen on treatment without anaesthetic, but I’ve used it effectively in some cases. You can always request that from your next dentist, and explain the problems that you have had previously – if the dentist doesn’t take heed of this request, then find someone else.
    To training standards, I spent 11 years teaching dental students in the clinic, and rarely saw problems, but that might just have been where I was.
    As to the ADA being a union, they’re not – they’re a member association. I know that where I am, the ADA takes these patient complaints seriously (as does the dental board), and will follow issues up with the dentist concerned.
    Hopefully things go better next visit.

  15. Habib

    What sort of window-licker plants bloody eucalypts in any public area? Besides being messy, they drop branches any old time, are a lightning magnet, need barely a puff to blow over, and explode during fires. They’re a photosynthesising El Aquasa brigade martyr waiting to happen. Probably compulsory to have sodding native flora in the grounds.

  16. coz

    Matt

    Not many people are keen on treatment without anaesthetic, but I’ve used it effectively in some cases. You can always request that from your next dentist, and explain the problems that you have had previously – if the dentist doesn’t take heed of this request, then find someone else.
    To training standards, I spent 11 years teaching dental students in the clinic, and rarely saw problems, but that might just have been where I was.
    As to the ADA being a union, they’re not – they’re a member association. I know that where I am, the ADA takes these patient complaints seriously (as does the dental board), and will follow issues up with the dentist concerned.
    Hopefully things go better next visit.

    There is no ‘next visit’ for me, I prefer to be alive than be dead but with nice teeth and a rich dentist. If people haven’t heard of the idea of working without anaesthetic before, then I’m glad to introduce them to the idea, especially for small or outer fillings away from the nerve.

  17. Armadillo

    What sort of window-licker plants bloody eucalypts in any public area?

    In country areas we have a scientific term for them – “Widow Makers”. A massive limb can fall at anytime without warning. There doesn’t even need to be a slight breeze. They just do it.

  18. .

    Senile Old Guy
    #1198907, posted on February 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm
    You deserve some creepy neighbourhood kid to give you a box of chocolates for that gem.

    Is that good?

    Yes. I reposted it on the open blog. Velvet Glove, Iron Fist, is a gem.

  19. incoherent rambler

    In the words of J. Travolta – “you can never have enough sugar”

  20. A Lurker

    Milk can be cariogenic, and flavoured milk even more so.

    From the moment you are born you have an internal clock ticking down to a future death. My mum, God rest her soul, was the picture of health, lived a clean and moral life, exercised weekly, did not carry much fat, did not drink or smoke, and ate healthy, home cooked foods. She died at age 60 from a brain tumour.

    So I reckon. Enjoy life. Eat what you enjoy, and not what the food fascists want you to eat, because even if you obeyed their every demand, and lived the sort of colourless, flavourless, inspid, bland life that might, just might, add an extra year to your senile dotage – you still might die of something else that wasn’t expected, couldn’t be planned for, and might simply be an Act of an (insane?) God or a random particle travelling through space, hitting a molecule in one of your organs, and turning it into something malignant and rogue.

    Enjoy life, ignore the Food Fascists.

  21. nilk, Iron Bogan

    I’m a keen cyclist and have always been opposed to helmets, but haven’t bothered to make my opposition known because if I did – in the only way possible, i.e. not wearing a helmet when riding, the full coercive power of the state is unleashed on me.

    As well as losing my insurance coverage, etc.

    I actually gave up cycling for many years because of this heavy handed, statist horse shit.

    The simple fact is, when mandatory helmet laws where introduced, cycling participation plummeted.

    I’m not a keen cyclist, but if I wasn’t told that I have to wear a helmet or else then I’d be happy to take it up again.

    As for protesting, in this instance, what worth is the action for me? I am one person, and I’m not in front of a tank in Tianenmen Square. I take action in other small ways, like educating people about the tyranny of speed humps on school bus routes that spring up overnight, and ATMs in pubs with pokies so that you cannot take out any of your own money lest you are a problem gambler.

    I am treated as though I am incapable of riding a bicycle safely, or driving down a road safely, being unable to control myself around teh eeeevil poker machines lest I spend the mortgage and end up on the street.

    FFS I’m well on the way to fifty years old and I am treated like an idiot child.

    I’m really, really tired of that, and the nanny staters are just getting started. Look for me in the next ten years.

  22. Senile Old Guy

    ABC:The Drum . (n.d.). On National Ride to Work Day, do you think bike helmets should be compulsory? No 51% Yes 49% 3928 votes counted
    Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/thedrum/polls/
    Clay Lucas . (23 July 2010). Helmet law makes nonsense of bike hire scheme Poll: Should public-bike scheme users be excused from wearing helmets? Yes 71%, No 29% Total votes: 13890. Poll closed 25 Jul, 2010 Disclaimer: These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.
    Retrieved from http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/helmet-law-makes-nonsense-of-bike-hire-scheme-20100722-10my2.html

    You conveniently left those out. But I am sure you will now say something about methods despite so far having to provide any support for your case.

  23. Matt

    Thanks Old Guy – the first one is essentially 50:50 (within margin of error), so doesn’t really suit either side of the argument. The second one is a different question, related specifically to bike share schemes, not specifically about mandatory helmet laws. But I’m happy to concede that there is widespread opposition to mandatory helmet laws.

  24. Senile Old Guy

    The first one is essentially 50:50 (within margin of error), so doesn’t really suit either side of the argument.

    Does show that there is not overwhelming support.

    But fair enough.

  25. disgusted

    There is a huge tree at St Catherines School Waverley which overhangs the bus stop and all. I emailed Waverley Council and was advised it was not their problem even though it hangs over the bus shed and onto the street. The minute if falls and kills I can just imagine the crocodile tears put on by the person concerned at Waverley Council in front of the media. These people then want to speak to the family I would tell them to get lost. Charges should be laid against the people who loved the tree at the School.

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