Flat White

The SpecOz: afflicting the comfortable, comforting the afflicted. Or something similar

9 July 2021

3:53 PM

9 July 2021

3:53 PM

I appear to have hurt the feelings of a very powerful union.

About three weeks ago, I wrote a piece on the medical-industrial complex protection racket that operates in Australia. This was my conclusion:

(Health Minister) Hunt’s job is not to make doctors and pharmacists rich. Actually, what is Minister Hunt’s job other than to throw people’s money around and give to favoured groups?

The friendly and wise Flat White editor appeared to have liked it, publishing it on 22 June as Who really benefits from health care?

It seems, however, that my piece has gotten under the craw of the Pharmacy Guild as they sent a response to the Spectator. Their response was published below my original piece on the Spec. Read for yourself.

As flattered as I am that my humble scribbles warrant the response of the Victorian Branch President and a National Councillor of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, the response demonstrates how sensitive the Pharmacy Union is to criticism highlighting the extent of their privilege.

These are the concluding 4 paragraphs from the Victorian Branch President (a very union sounding title):

He also says the Guild went ‘nutso’ when the supermarkets wanted to go into the pharmacy business. Yes, we did and still do oppose moves by supermarkets to open pharmacies primarily on the basis that there would be vastly decreased access for patients, particularly in regional, rural and remote areas.  Supermarkets that are owned by publicly listed companies answer to shareholders first and foremost.  If Spartacus wants to know ‘Who benefits from healthcare?’ it certainly isn’t in the aisles of supermarkets whose high-profit drivers are potentially deadly tobacco products. 

Pharmacists on the other hand as owners of their practices answer to their patients and are accountable to their registration board.   

Community pharmacies, on the other hand, are very accessible. In capital cities, 97 per cent of people have access to at least one pharmacy within a 2.5 kilometre radius, while in the rest of Australia 66 per cent of people are within 2.5 kilometres of a pharmacy. 

So, Who really benefits from health care? All Australians do. 

I could not but fall on the floor laughing having read this.

Supermarkets “answer to shareholders first and foremost” and yet pharmacists “answer to their patients and are accountable to their registration board”.


See the lobbyist slight of hand. Framing personal interest as the national interest. Because, of course, pharmacists aren’t shareholders in their own pharmacies and labour and they work for the love of it and not the very comfortable lifestyle it affords them.

But to the last paragraph:

So, Who really benefits from health care? All Australians do. 

Except in this case, some Australians benefit more than others.

Stephen Spartacus regularly writes at Sparty’s Cast.

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