Home Roland Rocchiccioli It is just a little more than four-weeks before the Federal election.

It is just a little more than four-weeks before the Federal election.

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It is just a little more than four-weeks before the Federal election.

The first debate between the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, proved to be a lot of sizzle and not a lot of sausage. Both men took the opportunity to deliver their message and not answer direct questions which were put to them. Political journalist, Laura Tingle, asked the same question twice and still did not get an answer. Politicians have a propensity for ignoring the question and saying what they think is important. You asked them what they had for breakfast, and they tell you about the sandwich they are planning to have for lunch.

Interestingly, while Mr. Turnbull is leading a micro stage-managed presidential style election, Mr. Shorten has returned to Town Hall rallies which allow the voters – the employer – to question the employee on what they plan to do if they are elected. To date Mr. Shorten has attended thirty such rallies which are proving to be popular. They are one of the reasons his poll ratings have improved to such an extent.

One can only hope that a further debate, closer to the time and after all policies have been released, will be held. There is little point in listening to them waffle-on about their vision for the country – and how mine is bigger and better than yours – without providing any substantial detail.

This is an important election. It will provide us with an opportunity to be rid of many of the independent politicians who have created such chaos. At the same time we should be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. The sitting member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson, deserves to hold onto her seat. As does Catherine King.

Sarah Henderson is an able politician. She has worked hard for her constituency. From her time as a journalist she has been a fighter for social justice. It is she who reminded Mr. Hawke – much to his chagrin – that he promised, by 1990, no child will live in poverty. It was a fine aspiration which has not come to pass. Mr. Shorten, who is most respectful of opposing opinion, is quoted as saying that the majority of Australians are not racist. I suspect he is wrong on that count. Certainly in Western Australia – my home state, and Queensland, the aggregate is decidedly imbalanced in favour of racism. That Pauline Hansen seems to be enjoying a resurgence is a clear indication. The postings on former Senator Neva Peris’ Facebook page are reason for serious concern. The anti-Muslim rally and violence in Coburg is equally alarming.

We have much to think about for this election. Be sure that you do not waste your vote. We need to provide politicians with the capacity to properly govern this country.

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Vandalism is becoming a problem in Ballarat and costing thousands of dollars in clean-up fees.

In recent days, a number of cars have been spray painted. Perhaps the time has come to establish a spray paint register. If you do not have identification then you cannot purchase the product. We have a poisons register, and it would not require a great deal of effort to establish such a procedure for spray paint. A 2011/12 health population survey showed Ballarat’s sugary soft drink consumption to be five per cent higher than Melbourne. Nineteen per cent of the city’s population drinks soft drink on a regular basis. Ballarat’s obesity is 2.8 per cent higher than in Melbourne.

At the supermarket, shoppers can be seen carrying slabs of the fatal drink to their cars. It is time to do something about the problem – and it is a problem! It costs the government millions of dollars. Hospitals should not be selling these sugar laden drinks from vending machine. Water is all that should be available in a hospital. They are at the coal face of healthcare and should be doing everything within their power to discourage people from drinking these unhealthy concoctions.

Astonishingly, Ballarat mayor, Des Hudson, did not support the push to ban soft drinks because he feared it would take away personal choice. He said the decision was ultimately up to hospitals and health organisations. He stressed council had engaged in the H30 initiative to promote healthy choices.

Testing in the UK has shown that Old Jamaica Ginger Beer, which is sold in Australia, contains 52.8g of sugar in a standard 330ml can. Overall, almost two thirds of ginger beer drinks tested had more sugar in them than a can of Coca-Cola – which contains 10.6 grams of sugar. The sugar content is staggering. In my days at boarding school there was drinking fountain under the Flame Tree. Sugar laden fizzy drinks were never an option. Still, to this day, I have never tasted Coca-Cola.

The empirical evidence is overwhelming. We have to remove fizzy drinks out of hospitals. They have no place in any medical establishment.

Roland can be heard each MONDAY morning on 3BA at 10.30. Contact: rolandroc@bigpond.com