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A narrow victory over political correctness

By Russell Grenning - posted Wednesday, 20 December 2017

"Consider it done," was The Donald's response to a question from a hotelier who asked him about removing the haggis ban when he came to office. But it seems that the Department of Agriculture which enforces the ban is dragging its feet somewhat and the Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue should remember that other Trump Administration officials have been sacked for much less.

Meanwhile back home, the Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation issued a communiqué after its meeting last November which, inter alia, supported "public health objectives to reduce overweight and obesity."

The communiqué was one of those statements politicians everywhere issue to try and kid folks that they are doing lots when actually they are doing very little.


It read that the Ministers "agreed to two activities in 2018 – A symposium to promote the Health Star Rating System and a public health policy 'think tank' to develop a shared understanding among the public health community about what can be and cannot be achieved in the food regulation system. Broader stakeholder consultation with consumer and food industry groups will follow prior to progressing any outcomes."

When politicians talk about setting up a 'think tank' to consider an issue and then follow that with broader stakeholder consultation you know that the issue has been put off into the never-never.

An outfit called the Obesity Policy Coalition saw straight through the communiqué. Their Executive Manager Jan Martin thundered that they were "very disappointed" at this outcome adding, "now is not the time to shy away from making important decisions to improve the health of the nation."

Translated into plain English this means that people are not to be trusted to make their own choices about what they eat and drink. In fact, Ms Martin suspected some high-level conspiracy and had the solution to defeating this. She said, "...we need a concerted long-term strategy developed independently away from the influence of Big Food." "Big Food" sounds like a vast secret international cabal intent on destroying civilisation which is exactly the impression Ms Martin wants to suggest.

Presumably, Ms Martin would like her outfit to develop this strategy and impose its views on Australia and New Zealand but what is the likelihood of this happening?

Considering what the Ministerial Forum has decided, fat chance.


At least for now, the nanny state has been held somewhat at bay.

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About the Author

Russell Grenning is a retired political adviser and journalist who began his career at the ABC in 1968 and subsequently worked for the then Brisbane afternoon daily, The Telegraph and later as a columnist for The Courier Mail and The Australian.

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