Letters to
the editor

Swisse stands by products

We stand behind our products, business ethics and company culture and are proud of building an Australian success story and world leader in the development of scientifically validated products to maintain health and promote wellbeing (Martin McKenzie-Murray, “Inside Swisse and its vexed ABC deal”, September 3-9). Debate about commercial partnerships to support the ABC’s international platform is one thing. Casting unfounded aspersions about the credibility of our business and product quality is entirely another. You gave prominence to a few critics but your story ignored our investment in research and development, our scientific partnerships and our support for innovation in complementary medicine. Our products are safe and regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. The issue related to our appetite suppressant was one of labelling, not product quality or safety. We are committed to building knowledge that improves wellbeing through complementary medicine. And we’ll continue to share our progress through safe and high-quality wellness products for consumers in Australia and overseas.

– Radek Sali, Collingwood, Vic, CEO Swisse Wellness

Real ways to improve health

Shortly after reading Martin McKenzie-Murray’s excellent report on Swisse using the ABC and celebrities to market its ineffective supplements, I listened to the Boyer Lectures, delivered by Sir Michael Marmot. He describes the way the social circumstances in which we live determine our health. Societies that are more unequal are worse for health, not just those at the bottom, but for all of us. The health minister has been conspicuously silent on this. As long as we believe health comes in pill-shaped packages, sold to those who can afford them, we will fail to address the real causes. Our health system will be ever more expensive, and health will remain a barrier to employment. This is another harm to add to the list in McKenzie-Murray’s article.

– Dr Tim Senior, Picton, NSW

Liberals no longer liberal

Mike Seccombe’s insightful article (“Former IPA head: radicals ‘hijacked’ think tank”, August 27-September 2) is important for a future thorough examination of the decline of the major political parties in this country and the loss of the public’s trust in them. I agree completely with Roger Neave, the former head of the IPA and a genuine liberal in the Menzies tradition. Having been in the midst of the change of Liberal Party values from the early ’80s as regards industrial relations to my sideline view of the present sorry state of asylum seeker policies, I share Neave’s embarrassment at ever being associated with a political party that is no longer liberal.

– Ian Macphee, South Gippsland, Vic, former minister for immigration and industrial relations 1976-1983

Minority report exposes inconsistencies

Mike Seccombe (“Inside the split at the Climate Change Authority”, September 10-16) comments that “There is scant mention of the adequacy or otherwise of government reduction targets or of carbon budgets” in the latest Climate Change Authority report. Dissenting members Professors Clive Hamilton and David Karoly, who have produced a “minority” report, regard this as a major flaw. And indeed it is. They strongly recommend a budget approach to setting climate change policy. The government’s current emission reduction target, set during the Abbott years, is to reduce our emissions by 26 to 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. In other words, Australia’s target is relative to our own 2005 emissions, not to any absolute carbon budget that might be used as a benchmark by other nations, and consistent with the need to hold global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. This government is well practised at silencing dissent, particularly when it risks the vested interests of its party donors. Hamilton and Karoly should be commended for their integrity, and for exposing policy inconsistent with Australia’s international obligations.

– David Nash, Manly, NSW

Campus campaign long overdue

Congratulations to the University of Sydney students and to Drew Rooke for exposing the extent of sexual harassment on campus (“Campus assaults”, September 10-16). But, oh, such deja vu! More than 30 years ago, as an academic there, I tried to have the sexual harassment of students dealt with and I appealed to my seniors for support. One told me men didn’t harass women, the women made up stories against men. Another questioned my sanity. A third believed I was so awful in raising such matters that I couldn’t possibly be a mother. The university authorities were only concerned with the reputation of the institution and in protecting male colleagues. The students’ complaints were never adequately dealt with and they remained traumatised. May the current campaign bring a proper resolution.

– Dr Marie de Lepervanche, Lane Cove, NSW

Politics in comedy mash-up

Last Saturday’s paper played out like a burlesque morality tale, beginning with a climate change commission having one relevant scientist and a plurality with perceived motives for standing on the carbon-abatement brakes. Sam Dastyari got into trouble only because he seemed oblivious to the negative connotations of blind avarice. The Turnbull government, the party of business, rated the almost affectionate accusation of being mad for inching towards the privatisation of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the body established as the independent regulator of private enterprise, increasingly seen as the regulator of parliament. It is looking as if the Great Barrier Reef may easily outlive Aussie satire.

– John Hayward, Weegena, Tas

Letters are welcome: [email protected]
Please include your full name and address and a daytime telephone number. Letters may be edited for length and content, and may be published in print and online. Letters should not exceed 150 words.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on September 17, 2016.

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