Comrades, at times I wonder about my communistic and socialist principles. But then I think back to when avowed communist and now radio broadcaster Phillip Adams who made mega dollars from advertising, when questioned about driving around in a Rolls Royce. His reply was 'everyone should drive a Rolls Royce'. I'll go with that. Comrade Adams is somewhat unwell at the moment. We can only hope he survives. Is he an Australian Living Treasure yet?
In about 1990 he wrote a wonderful story of the troubles with his Roller and t was published in a newspaper, but I forget which, either The Australian or The Age.
But sometimes one's principles are shaken to the core, by sheer common sense. One such moment for me was when we were at the Broken Hill Flying Doctor Service. For you foreigners, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (clink on the link. It has a very pretty home page) is a private organisation that attends to people with medical problems in the vast Australian outback. The plane flies in, treats, and or transports people to a regional or city hospital by plane.
Should you be silly enough to be walking Australia's Oodnadatta Track and you trip over the body of a backpacking tourist and break your ankle, you hopefully will have a satellite phone and be able to call for help. The Flying Doctor Service will find a nearby place to land and take you away for treatment at a hospital. I don't believe there is any charge for the transport and if your country has reciprocal medical agreements with Australia, there will be no charge for hospital treatment either.
"Miss, Miss!, my hand shot up during our guided tour of the Royal Flying Doctor Service facility in Broken Hill. "Why aren't you fully government funded?"
"Well naive young man, we get some government money but we also fund raise very hard. We will not have Canberra bureaucrats dictating to us about what sort of planes we shall have, nor what sort of medicines we will have on board or what we can do in our best endeavours for our patients."
Well, I was firmly put back in my box. I did not stop believing that it should be a government service, but so often government organisations don't have the right people appointed to run them and there is the fact of political interference by government.