Ten questions for Robbo aka @BiteTheDust

I drove off the lands on Boxing Day 2015 and stayed a couple of nights with Bob Gosford. For my sins he forced me to answer his 10 question quiz. The original post is here.

My pet hate listed in the quiz has certainly come to prominence following the 4 Corners investigation into the running of Indigenous Corporations. Please watch the show “Ripped Off” if you have not already seen it.

Ten questions for Robbo aka @BiteTheDust

In July 2015, Robbo was named the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Pharmacist of the Year for 2015. Robbo has worked for the last ten years as a remote pharmacist in the vast Ngaanyatjarra Lands of Western Australia adjoining the NT and South Australian borders and is a tireless advocate for improvements in Aboriginal health.

Robbo, George and Girl outside Wanarn Clinic
Robbo, George and Girl outside Wanarn Clinic

I had a yarn with my good mate Andrew “Robbo” Roberts aka @BiteTheDust over the Christmas break just before he flew out of the country for a few months.

In July 2015, Robbo was named the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Pharmacist of the Year for 2015. Robbo has worked for the last ten years as a remote pharmacist in the vast Ngaanyatjarra Lands of Western Australia adjoining the NT and South Australian borders and is a tireless advocate for improvements in Aboriginal health.

At the time of his induction he said that his:
”… biggest thanks go to the people of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands for welcoming me on to their lands and into their lives for over 10 years. I hope this award increases the recognition of the need for pharmacists to be working as part of the health care team for our remote Indigenous Australians.”

The Northern Myth: Tell readers about yourself in ten words.

Robbo: A ten word biography? Desert, bush, medication, literacy, best-practice, education … Dingo, four-wheel drive.

TNM: What makes you happy?

R: Coming out of the bush and having someone make me a fresh coffee that I haven’t had to make myself.

TNM: What makes you angry?

R: The sheer waste you see and the blame-shifting by whitefellas buggering up indigenous organisations.

TNM: Cats, dogs, both or neither?

R: Dogs. The less said about cats the better.

TNM: Sunday morning music?

R: I don’t really listen to music much but out bush where I am you get the church going or some locals playing music somewhere in the community. There is always music in the bush.

TNM: Your Desert Island disc?

R: There are a few bits of music that I always associate with certain things that happen in the past, so some of the old seventies songs, a bit of old Skyhooks or pretty much anything by Madness …

TNM: Where do we go when we are dead?

R: In the ground.

TNM: What do you sing in the shower?

R: Nothing. I’m not a singing person.

TNM: When did you last break the law?

R: Yesterday when I did a u-bolt outside your place without putting the indicators on (laughs) and usually every time I come into town because out bush you don’t worry about white lines or indicators.

TNM: Top-loader or front-loader?

R: Top-loader – out bush that’s all there is!

TNM: Most treasured possession?

R: Well I couldn’t count Girl (my Dingo dog) as a possession. Can’t really answer that one …

TNM: Pen or pencil?

R: Pen! I love a fountain pen. I’m left-handed and I’m a shocking writer so at least it makes me try and have hand-writing that is legible.

TNM: What are you reading in non-fiction?

R: Not much at the moment, all my stuff is packed up. The last book I was caught reading was just released about the life and works of the artists from Wanarn Aged Care called The Wanarn Painters of Place and Time: Old Age Travels in the Tjukurrpa made with the assistance of the arts centre from Warakuna. Some great old artists from the lands have ended up at the aged care centre, including Dr. Mary McLean who is now a West Australian Living Treasure. She doesn’t paint anymore but she is a renowned artist who lived in Kalgoorlie for a number of years and moved back out to country to stop at the Wanarn Aged Care facility.

TNM: What about fiction?

R: Yeah, I’ve been churning through a lot of books. I didn’t read much for ages but I’ve been reading some nasty and forgettable crime fiction recently. Not much of any substance for a while.

Indigenous News Update: Mr Ward

Back in January there was a collective sigh of relief when legal action was taken against both the WA government and prison transport company G4S over the death of Mr Ward:

Charges over prison van death Jan 20 http://bit.ly/pbrQl8

Legal action in Ward case welcomed Jan 21 http://bit.ly/pGlRIV

For their part in his death both the government and G4S could have been fined upto $400 000. However the presiding magistrate in both cases fine each $285 000 because

the government had pleaded guilty to the charges and he had to consider other factors such as the ex-gratia payment made to the family and the improvements the government made to its processes since the breach.

His death could have been avoided:

Magistrate Benn said like the Department of Corrective Services, G4S could have implemented simple safety changes that would probably have prevented Mr Ward’s death.

WA Govt fined $285,000 for Ward death Jul 7 http://yhoo.it/peoUXj

Prison transporter fined over death of Mr Ward http://bit.ly/rczLGs

I have accumulated the links to the news articles I have read on Mr Ward and the circumstances surrounding his death on this page

Indigenous News – Taser


There has been recent controversy in Australia over the potential misuse of Tasers by the police. Graphic footage showing an Aboriginal man being tasered 13 times for not complying with a request for a strip search has made the news world wide. Here are links to articles covering the current furore,

multiple stunning of Aboriginal man with a Taser by WA police and of an 18yo pregnant woman are not isolated incidents http://bit.ly/bmrqxI

STUN guns were intended as an alternative to lethal force yet their use in Australia has led to four deaths http://bit.ly/cYBOHH

In 2008 an Aboriginal man who merely refused to comply with a strip search stunned 13 times with a taser http://bit.ly/cXfEgE

Is a high level national inquiry required to review need and use of Tasers in Australia http://bit.ly/c7OLBP

Death in Custody memorial service asks for Tasers to be withdrawn http://bit.ly/aU8XRa

Am overseas view: Police in Australia Taser Unarmed Black Man 13 Times http://bit.ly/c9La5b

Tehran Times a little over the top: Australian police tase Aborigine to death http://bit.ly/8Xzzoh

Police are overusing stun guns when they should be a weapon of last resort. http://bit.ly/cmgWqa

WA Shadow Attorney-General & victim want footage released of 2nd taser attack. Tasered 11 times severe injuries http://bit.ly/9Em3XB

Are Tasers lethal? NT stateline (video) http://bit.ly/csJDuq

NSW Aboriginal Chairwoman Bev Manton talks about her anger at police’s misuse of tasers on Aboriginal people http://bit.ly/94rceS

Perth man says he was never given the option of pressing charges against the police who tasered him 13 times. http://bit.ly/aXukUx

WA DPP will investigate whether criminal charges should be laid against two police over tasering man 13 times http://bit.ly/ds9jub

WA Police Minsiter told in May about the Aboriginal man tasered 13 times in police watch house. Didn’t see the video! http://bit.ly/d7tz1A

The Indigenous News Updates are sourced from news and other articles from around the country that I have posted on Twitter.

The categories I use for Indigenous News Updates can be found here.

Image source: OpenClipArt.org, public domain.

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Telegrams and Dispensing Schedule 4 Drugs in Emergency Cases

In most Poison’s and Pharmacy Acts and Regulations in Australia there is the ability to give an emergency supply of medication. Within pharmacy it is usually a three day emergency supply. However should the prescriber contact you you can supply and the prescriber must supply a prescription shortly after.

telegram boys

Here is the relevant regulation within the Western Australia’s Poisons Regulations

38 . Dispensing poisons included in Schedule 4 in emergency cases

Where a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, dentist or veterinary surgeon in a case of emergency orally or by telephone or telegram directs the dispensing of a poison included in Schedule 4, he shall forthwith write a prescription complying with the conditions prescribed in regulation 37, mark such prescription to show that it has been given as a confirmation of instructions given by him orally or by telephone or telegram, and despatch such prescription within 24 hours to the person to whom the instructions were given.

[Regulation 38 amended in Gazette 19 Mar 1996 p. 1222; amended by Act No. 9 of 2003 s. 46.]

Now I was going to make a smart alec remark about receiving an old fashioned telegram to urgently dispense a medication. A telegram in the 21st Century? Yeah Right. But it seems they have a niche market. Australia Post still provides a telegram service. I like how you can organise the telegram by phone or over the internet.

When it’s special, send a TELeGRAM. Some messages are too important for a phone call and too special for email.

That’s how Australia Post markets it. But it goes on.

The TELeGRAM combines new age demands with old world charm to offer you a quick, convenient way to send a message that matters.

Create your messages on-line, select from a range of images, and we print and post a hard copy of your special message to any delivery point within Australia.

I love it. I want a doctor to send their local pharmacist a drug order by telegram. And I want a camera there to see the response. I wonder if singing telegrams or gorilla-grams are also legitimate ways for ordering medications in an emergency.

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