by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Chiropractic Journal of Australia : December 2011
Chiropractic Journal of Australia Volume 41 Number 4 December 2011 117 The title of this editorial is taken from the television drama Borgia, where in Episode four of Series one Machiavelli explained his view of the facts of life. His sentence prompted this writer to ask what could be chiropractic's "different kind of nothing" and what would be the "something" it could cost us? Given Machiavelli was a political player it is valid to look at this question from a political point of view. One political scenario could be the publication of an ill-informed comment about chiropractic that is misleading and mischievous. Our profession's leaders, at both state and national level would look at this and consider a response; however there is typically a time lag due to the complexities intertwined among advisors, consultants and experts and the result has too often been a less than powerful statement of claim by our discipline. Members of the CAA, the major constituency of this journal, may perceive this as "nothing." In such a case a "different kind of nothing" would be for the leaders to plan to not respond and rather transfer the responsibility, in advance, to experts in particular felds. The outcome would be a "different kind of nothing" that paradoxically is empowered by the nothingness associated with political positioning. The "something" it costs the leadership group is a transfer of cultural authority to a more dispersed group within the same camp. This concept is dependent on the nominated experts actually being able to respond in a timely manner and in a fashion that is aligned with the association's direction for the profession and its core values. The question of the ability to offer a response is quite serious as was demonstrated earlier in 2011 where academics in one chiropractic institution were effectively gagged by that institution (personal correspondence) and prevented from participating in the debate about paediatric chiropractic. Another interpretation of the title of this editorial is to classify nuisance individuals as "nothing" which, by default, renders their misguided pronouncements on the core principles of our discipline, also "nothing." But to be effective in this strategy again requires the identifcation and preparedness of experts to be responsive and on-song to meaningfully fll the resultant vacuum. The “something” this will cost is the time and energy needed to invest in our expert spokespersons. The four Australian universities that deliver chiropractic education are the logical place to look for an initial core of expert spokespersons however there are two important considerations. The frst is the acknowledgement that a recent, vocal nuisance claimed a relationship to a university, raising the question of how a responsible body may flter the detritus from the substance, and second, the need to avoid reliance on the academic sector and to ensure the inclusion of individual practitioners with leadership expertise in particular felds. Our profession is replete with solid, sensible, highly-informed, articulate experts and with the appropriate support each can become the defnitive spokesperson in their specialty feld. Should university-based academics be approached there would need to be certainty around the concept of academic freedom and prevention of any future acts of political censorship. An encouraging development in this regard has been the passage of amendments to the Higher Education Support (HES) Act which now requires Australian universities to develop the best intellectual freedom policies they can.1 As described by George Williams, a legal academic at the University of NSW, the passage earlier this year of amendments that require universities to have policies in favour of intellectual freedom will force the higher education sector to "promote and protect free intellectual inquiry in learning, teaching and research." Given that universities funded under the HES Act "must have a policy that upholds free intellectual inquiry" there is much less risk of gagging an academic and a commensurate responsibility for an academic to speak within their feld of expertise.1 This latter requirement suggests that from now on, it would be very diffcult if not implausible for someone who claims to be an academic but has not published papers on, for example, the chiropractic subluxation, to offer critical comment on this topic as the topic would clearly be seen as outside their feld of expertise. As noted in a review of Smith's Chiropractic Wars previously in these pages2 chiropractic has again become the abused partner in Australia's health care system. If we don't fnd the resolve to learn from history, all that will happen is that we will repeat it. To break this cycle chiropractic must contribute to the public debate from a position driven by our hopes, not by our fears.* REFERENCES 1. URL: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/time-is-ripe- for-intellectual-policies/story-e6frgcjx-1226142100428 Accessed 23 Sept 2011. 2. Ebrall PS. The Medical War Against Chiropractors [Book Review]. Chiropr J Aust. 2011; 41:113. NOTE * The thought of being driven by hope and not fear is not an original thought of this writer. It is taken from material read around the time of conceptualising this current work, regrettably without due notation of the source. Phillip Ebrall BAppSc(Chiropractic), Grad Cert Tert Learning & Teaching, PhD, FICC, FACC Assistant Editor Professor of Chiropractic, Central Queensland University Adjunct Professor, International Medical University A Different Kind of Nothing that will Cost you Something
CJA March 2012