May 31, 2004


What’s the bet that Natasha Stott Despoja -- a passionate advocate of public healthcare -- is currently in a private hospital?

Posted by Tim Blair at May 31, 2004 04:59 AM

Whoa! Two months pregnant and hospitalisation.

Hypocritical, sanctimonious idiot or not, that's not a good thing.

Hold off on the baby shower guys.

Posted by: Al Bundy at May 31, 2004 at 05:35 AM

Well whoever she is, I hope the baby is ok and the complications are overcome.

I was going to write something snide about "Public" only applying to others, but I do sincerely hope everything turns out ok for them.

Posted by: dash at May 31, 2004 at 07:41 AM

Wherever she is, and whatever kind of idiot she is in public life, I hope she gets through this OK. I miscarried last month at 6 weeks and it was an experience that I literally would not wish on my worst enemy. So she gets a free pass this time.

Posted by: Sonetka at May 31, 2004 at 08:10 AM

I don't think a free pass is in order. Everybody who goes to hospital is sick of something. Her choice of which hospital she feels comfortable with at this life and death moment is the issue. We need to know why this report says unnamed Adelaide hospital instead of naming a medical center which is standard even for celebrities.

This public health care advocate is hiding her decision. I want to know why.

Posted by: Papertiger at May 31, 2004 at 12:11 PM

There'll be time enough to criticize her decision later - if nothing else, the press will ferret her out eventually and we can all have a good snark at her (probable) hypocrisy. But she's two months pregnant, and this is a life-or-death moment not for her but for someone too small to give a damn about public vs. private hospitals. Just saying.

Posted by: Sonetka at May 31, 2004 at 12:29 PM

So what if she uses private? Everyone wants the best health care possible, right? So going to a private hospital, when you can afford it, while fighting for better public healthcare for those who can't, is entirely consistent.

Posted by: Stewart Kelly at May 31, 2004 at 01:33 PM

Typical bloody socialisto: happily stealing money in the name of some higher morality while never going without what only the freemarket can offer. SAhes a pro doile bludger like so many polticians basically are. Applies double to Bob shit Brown.

Posted by: d at May 31, 2004 at 01:40 PM

I agree Stewart.

Posted by: TimT at May 31, 2004 at 01:54 PM

Australia is not ready for a junior version of Natasha.

Posted by: narkynark at May 31, 2004 at 02:27 PM

I don't agree with much of her politics. But after meeting her a few times in the past few months I can report that she is the sweetest, most engaging company I've enjoyed for a long time. Lay off her. I hope she and husband get through this.

Posted by: Yosemite Sam at May 31, 2004 at 04:39 PM

Criticising a pregnant woman when she is having medical problems has got to be a new low for Tim Blair. I don't even see anything in the article which even suggests she's in a private hospital. And even if she does choose to go to a private hospital that in no way suggests she doesn't really support a public health care system. I've met NSD as well and she is a great person. I hope everything works out for her.

Posted by: jobaman at May 31, 2004 at 06:58 PM

I've interviewed her a few times, and we've got along well. The only point I'm making here is that Stott Despoja is (I'm betting) more likely to seek private care than public when she requires serious medical attention. Which, given her history of opposition to private health care, is notable.

Hey, I might turn out to be wrong. In which case I'll post that I was wrong.

Her difficult pregnancy is awfully sad -- but nothing to do with the point of this post, which only asks after her choice of hospital. As Stott Despoja once said, as you'll read in the first link: "We believe access to health care should be on the basis of need and not the ability to pay."

Again: nothing to do with pregnancy, only to do with hospital choice.

Posted by: tim at May 31, 2004 at 07:38 PM

Actually for most medical emergencies you are far better going public. Pre-natal complications are an exception. BTW tim I hope you've never used the public health service.

Posted by: Anthony at May 31, 2004 at 10:57 PM

I support public health, too, but would choose a private one if it were an option. I feel for the poor buggers who haven't got that choice.

Posted by: tony at May 31, 2004 at 11:35 PM

Tim, here's how a decent man welcomes the news of a pregnancy:

Latham congratulates Stott Despoja on pregnancy

Your mean spirited comment says nothing about Natasha but certainly reflects poorly on you.

Look Tim, we know that by nature you're a cynical, indecent man, but having a go at a pregrant woman who is having complications - geez, even your fellow travellers must be having second thoughts about you now.

Posted by: liberal avenger at June 1, 2004 at 02:03 AM

As far as I can tell Tim has not "had a go" at anyone, LibAv. He's offered her nothing but good wishes. The only person on the attack path is you. Are you just having a bad day or running short on things to "avenge"?

Posted by: jonathan at June 1, 2004 at 03:58 AM

"Mean-spirited"! Tim, you've arrived!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 1, 2004 at 04:16 AM

Jonathan, here is what Tim said:

"What’s the bet that Natasha Stott Despoja -- a passionate advocate of public healthcare -- is currently in a private hospital?"

Where in this sentence do you see Tim offering Natasha "nothing but good wishes" ?? It can't be done Jon, even in Andrea's mind.

I add my voice to jobaman's: Natasha is a great person and I wish her the very best.

Posted by: liberal avenger at June 1, 2004 at 04:48 AM

Liberal avenger is concerned about a two-month-old fetus, still one month from ending its first trimester. I wonder if he'd be so upset if the child had been aborted.

What's your view on that issue, lib? According to you, "decent men" welcome news of pregnancy. How would you welcome news of a termination at this stage? How can you support both positions?

Posted by: tim at June 1, 2004 at 05:48 AM

Now tim, that's unfair; you're asking LA to concentrate, when he's busy fending off swarms of imaginary bees.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 1, 2004 at 06:13 AM

Though knowing liberals as I do, I think I can provide an answer: we must accept without question whatever a woman decides to do with her womb and the contents therein. While she is pregnant and apparently happily so, we must accede to all her wishes, even if it's a decision to go to a private hospital when she has previously advocated in favor of public ones -- thus proving herself perhaps somewhat of a hypocrite, and adding more credence to that old canard that women can't be trusted to make political decisions because they are ruled by their biology. And if she decides she no longer wants the baby -- fie upon the alien invader! Bow your heads, men, to your Overlady, the Womb-bearer. Her word is Law.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 1, 2004 at 06:18 AM

C'mon Tim, bait and switch only works on simpletons like Andrea.

How about you just do the decent thing, retract your original comment and join the rest of us in congratulating the happy couple on what is clearly a joyous occasion and hope for the best with the pregnancy?

Posted by: liberal avenger at June 1, 2004 at 07:01 AM

Why don't you shove your prissy preconceptions up your arsehole? There, is that "simple" enough to get through your thick head?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 1, 2004 at 10:33 AM

Ah Andrea, you really raise the tone of any comment thread you deign to notice. Love your work.

Posted by: Anthony at June 1, 2004 at 11:02 AM

I aims to please.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 1, 2004 at 11:19 AM

LibAvenger: I do wish the happy couple all the best. My post never stated otherwise. It was about hospital choice.

See? Different thing.

As for the abortion question ... you game to tackle that?

Posted by: tim at June 1, 2004 at 03:32 PM

tim, are you from some special universe where lefties send each other "Congratulations on your abortion" notes?

Posted by: Anthony at June 1, 2004 at 05:33 PM

What’s the bet that her being in a private hospital is absolutely irrelevant to her views on a public healthcare system? If, say, I support famine relief, must I then eat protein biscuits for the rest of my life?

I think you typed first, and thought later, Tim.

Posted by: Yosemite Sam at June 1, 2004 at 06:06 PM

You're half-way there Tim. Now if you could just do the decent thing and retract your original, thoughtless comment you'd be showing the sort of big-heartedness clearly lacking in the likes of Andrea.

Now, if you want to discuss abortion, start a new thread. I'll be there.

Posted by: liberal avenger at June 2, 2004 at 01:37 AM

Reading Liberal Avenger's comments is like being pelted by drawer sachets from which the scent has long ago faded. LA, I'll bet you decorate all your furniture with doilies made out of 100% Organic™ Hemp.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 2, 2004 at 03:41 AM

Dear LiberalAvenger,
Might I suggest that you go back and READ the original post again. Then I would like you to clearly explain to me where the offensive bit is because so far I am failing to see it. The only comment about her was re her possible choice of hospital.
You don't need a long neck to be a goose!

Posted by: Gibbo at June 2, 2004 at 01:23 PM

OK, just to make things a bit easier, I'll try to spell out some situations in which it would not be hypocritical for an advocate of the public healthcare system to go to a private hospital.

Situation 1: X says "The public hospital system is desperately underfunded. Let's give it some more money". X (who has money) then falls ill. X then spends money on a private hospital bed, because the public hospitals are desperately underfunded.

Situation 2: X says "We should make sure that the public hospital system is adequately funded, so that people who aren't rich can get decent healthcare. But people who can afford it should go to the private system." X then falls ill, and goes to a private hospital because s/he can afford it, and thinks that well-off people shouldn't clog up the public system.

Now, if we could prove that NSD has demanded the closure of private hospitals, and further that she has *in actual fact* gone to one (still unknown), then tim might have had a (minor) point. But we don't have anything. And now tim's bizarre tangent that while we congratulate her for her (wanted) pregnancy, we would say something different (or not? not sure of the point here) if she had an abortion. WTF?

Posted by: Anthony at June 2, 2004 at 03:13 PM

The reason I find these situations hypocritical is that these people are only ever interested in advocating what is good for everyone except them. It is a very elitist attitude.
We all know teachers who bleat on about public education then send their kids to private schools. We all know politicians who advocate Medicare then admit themselves to private hospitals. etc, etc.
Over at my blog at I have declared it "having the courage of your convictions" month. This situation fits perfectly. If you advocate it for the masses, then have the courage of your convictions and do it yourself. Simple really!

Posted by: Gibbo at June 2, 2004 at 06:48 PM

I'm not sure I see the problem. Are you saying the public system shouldn't be funded (even though it's the thing that's going to save your life if you have an accident or a stroke)? Or are you saying that the Democrats say that private hospitals should be closed? Do they say that? I dunno, I can't stand the buggers, but I don't have any reason to think that's part of their platform. Should well-off people like NSD use taxpayer-funded hospital beds even though they can easily afford private health insurance? I'd have thought the obvious answer would be no.
But I just suddenly lost all interest in the subject. Lovely weather we've been having.

Posted by: Anthony at June 2, 2004 at 09:55 PM

I don't have the slightest problem with private anything. What I have a problem with is people who think YOU should support public enterprises, yet don't have the courage of their convictions in doing the same.

I am a staunch believer in the free(private) enterprise system in conjuction with a public system where appropriate. I don't like "Champagne Socialists" like NSD who always know what is best for the plebs, but don't partake of their own wisdom. As I said in my previous comment, I know plenty of teachers who think that YOU should support the public system, but send their own kids to private schools.

I don't care what your stance is, just have the courage of your convictions! That is all.

As the old saying goes.. Your actions speak so loudly that I can't hear your words.

Posted by: Gibbo at June 2, 2004 at 10:13 PM