My day 139 image was shot on 19th May 2014, less than 1 week after the Australian government’s federal budget announcement. The proposed budget has been considered as one of the toughest and the most socially-unfair budget measures by many.
The proposed $7 charge to see a doctor caused widespread furore, as patients’ income levels were and are (?) not taken into consideration. To add fuel to the fire, the treasurer made light of how much of a burden $7 was, saying that people easily spend $7 on 2 middies (1 middie = 285mL) of beer or 1/3 packet of cigarette and they should use that $7 to see a doctor instead (See “Less than two middies: Joe Hockey defends $7 GP fee”).
By making such sweeping generalisation, he seemed to fail to understand or not interested to know that many people do not drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes (or cigars, in his case) at all. It also seemed that he could not grasp the fact that $7 is not that insignificant for people who are trapped in vicious cycles of chronic diseases, job insecurity and/or poverty. There is of course a small section of people who misuse bulk-billed doctor visits (i.e. patients and doctors themselves) and/or abuse their own bodies with alcohol and cigarettes. But, most people do the right things for their health and only see their doctors when they are actually really sick. Sadly, sometimes they only do so when it is already too late, e.g. late stage cancers.
As I happened to have some colourful chocolate candies around, I thought that making a dollar sign out of them would be in keeping of the spirit of the budget announcement shock. Ironically though, I chose to illustrate my point with something that we should avoid eating too often if we want to avoid paying $7 doctor consultation fees too often. So much for my attempt at social commentary.