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Breathe deeply and say “ninety-nine”

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A rich heritage and an optimistic future: the Journal’s new Editor-in-Chief contemplates its upcoming centenary

On 4 July 2014, the Medical Journal of Australia will celebrate its centenary; so we are about to turn 99. As we contemplate the approaching milestone, we hold our breath a little — a lot of batsmen wobble at 99!

Another significant date is also fast approaching. Whatever the outcome of the federal election on 14 September, new national policies for the financing, governance, quality and scope of publicly funded medical and hospital care will soon be under construction. For these policies to work well, the new government will need the participation of those who will implement them, including, quite obviously, the medical profession. For this participation to be at its best, the profession needs access to the information that underpins high-quality professional performance. Throughout its 99 years, the Journal has helped communicate that information among the profession and beyond.

My historian colleague Milton Lewis points out that in playing this role, the Journal has continued a tradition dating back even further — to colonial days. The first Australian medical journal was born in Sydney as early as 1846. Lacking adequate support, it soon…