Coalition coffers take a hit
Rather than concede Labors’ ability to withstand the Liberal National Party’s “Kill Bill” strategy, consider the repudiation Malcolm Turnbull has received for his negative campaigning (Karen Middleton, “Grubby tactics in the Super Saturday elections”, July 28–August 3). By far the most serious consequence of the byelection results will be the failure of the Liberal Party to now attract sufficient financial backing from business for the costs of the forthcoming full election. I dare say there will be very little in the way of donations to “trickle down” in support after such a poor showing in persuading electors that their policies and candidates are worthy, or that their campaign skills are up to the task for the contest.
– Rod Milliken, Greenwell Point, NSW
Health database needs resuscitating
Tony Abbott confessed that he was “no techhead”. I think we can safely assume that if that Malcolm Turnbull types, it is with two fingers. We have to guess at Greg Hunt’s computer skills. However, anyone who has worked with a database knows that it will need a clean and constant input of data to be efficient (Lizzie O’Shea and Justin Warren, “Health share debate”, July 28–August 3). Marrying databases and cleaning data is a huge task for a small company, let alone a country. My Health did crash last weekend and I am not talking my hangover here but the federal government’s badly named database. I really can’t see “medicos” taking the time to battle with a slow My Health Record database while someone is undergoing defibrillation but then again, I’m no medico.
– Sue Dellit, Austinmer, NSW
Your Record or theirs
The federal government is advertising “Your health record in your hands”. This is equivocal. The word “your” refers to records kept by a hospital or medical practitioner and accessible on the internet. These records often differ from those kept by the patient. They are versions of the facts edited by doctors and hospitals and passed from one to the other with all their inaccuracies. They do not constitute what government would persuade us are our records. They record what medical practitioners decide to include in their reports and what they decide to omit. On the plus side for patients we are offered a choice as to whether we participate in the system. Until mid October 2018.
– Vanessa Toomey, Bellevue Hill, NSW
What about ABCDEF?
The takeover of the Fairfax Media papers by an entertainment-oriented media concern cannot be in the public interest (Alex McKinnon, “Nine cinch prevails”, July 28–August 3). The answer is to turn Fairfax into a public corporation and merge it with the ABC. Both public interest and greater efficiency would be served.
– Klaas Woldring, Pearl Beach, NSW
PM joins the Dutton gang
The editorial, “Gang of fear” (July 21–27), was excellent.
Peter Dutton is indeed racist. When he says he wants the right people, we know he means white people. It is sad that the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, whom I had once regarded as a fair-minded person, is now spouting the same slander against the Sudanese in Melbourne, just before the elections. The fact remains, according to crime statistics, 71.7 per cent of offenders are Australian, and 1 per cent are Sudanese.
– Susan Munday, Bentleigh East, Vic
Prevention better than child weighing
I fully support the arguments against the proposed introduction of measuring the height and weight of primary-school-aged children because of the claimed obesity epidemic (Cat Rodie, “A weigh-in a danger?”, July 28–August 3). NAPLAN already causes undue stress on many children. Adding another invasive procedure will only increase the distress experienced by children. Prevention is better than treatment. Deal with the causes by limiting the use of high-kilojoule corn syrup in products and taxing products with a high sugar content – often disguised by using different types of sweeteners such as fructose, dextrose and sugar in the one product – not by adding to the burdens placed on children. It is more cost effective to put a fence at the top of a cliff than an ambulance beneath.
– Meg Pickup, Ballina, NSW
Strange beliefs indeed
Patrick Parkinson is concerned by the “All of Us” teaching resource author’s susceptibility to confirmation bias (Bri Lee, “Christian lobby academic heads law school”, (July 21–27)) citing their “belief system” which “may be socially constructed” with its own language and rituals and going on to suggest “sincere people hold all sorts of strange beliefs”. How are the many authors of the Bible any different? The Bible, of course, is much older, ensuring that the social constructions its “teachings” have embedded are far more deeply entrenched in Western and other societies, giving them the appearance of legal permanence and unquestionable moral perfection in keeping with their origin in the mind of a creator. But to many non-Christians the Christian belief system is distinguishable from Scientology only by the specific tenets that confirm the bias of their respective believers. Parkinson is no doubt a sincere person but his own psychological need for a single answer that makes sense to him and excludes all others allows him to “hold all sorts of strange beliefs” as well as the next person.
– Tor Larsen, Marrickville, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Aug 4, 2018. Subscribe here.