I read with considerable interest the letter from Ms Joyce Noronha-Barrett ("Comcare Tactics Under Fire", July 13).
The scenarios and tactics she outlines are distressingly familiar to me, and I commend her for having raised them with the Canberra Times readership. It is all to easy to characterise a reduction in payouts associated with a workers compensation scheme as a straightforward win against some imaginary cohort of workers seeking to rort the system at the taxpayer's expense.
In my experience, however, the vast majority of injured workers with accepted Comcare claims are seeking nothing more than simply a return to work in a safe workplace. Let us remember that the act under which Comcare is established is entitled Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation; I might suggest Comcare's auditors could be asked to be less fixated on trumpeting its achievements with regards the last of these three goals, and more on the first two.
Then, and only then, can we be confident that any reduction in financial costs truly represents a good-news story and not merely one that may have come at the expense of rising human costs and the proliferation of unsafe work practices.
Professor Peter Tregear, London, UK
Making a killing
It seems our current federal government can't cause enough misery – or do it fast enough.
It's not enough to deny the immense suffering caused by the consequences of damage to our climate, and by their mistreatment of asylum seekers.
It's not enough that we as the world's largest coal exporter are a major contributor to climate damage. Our government wants to dramatically increase our exports of coal so that we can more quickly worsen climate damage and deplete our precious freshwater resources.
It's not enough to fan community fears and rattle the sabres of war.
Now senior government ministers, Senator George Brandis and Christopher Pyne MP, want Australia to be actively helping people to directly kill each other – by turning Australia into a major arms exporter.
When will our elected representatives start governing for the common good in the long term instead of feeding their own pockets and egos in the short term?
There are far better alternatives to what so many of our "leaders" are trying to foist upon us. Urgent action to protect us and life as we know it from the consequences of climate damage, building stronger and more resilient community, and peace all come to mind.
G M King, Narrabundah
Christopher Hood (Letters, July 14) agrees that children transitioning gender need to be competent to consent to the treatment, which is "substantial and irreversible". He is insincere, however, to appeal to court findings of competence for minors, when he knows the courts can be solely advised by people not disinterested in the outcomes.
He would also be aware that transition lobbyists view court procedures as burdensome and unnecessary, and would prefer certain doctors give the OK. It comes down to whether children before puberty can be relied on to understand what it means to relinquish their reproductivity, be locked into "substantial and irreversible" medical treatment for the rest of their lives, while releasing doctors from liability. This is not to demean children, but to say parents should be parents. Interference in family life by popular culture and transition lobbyists, is what needs to get out of the way, so that parents in conjunction with their children, can take stock of the objective medical evidence, and discern what is best for the ongoing wellbeing of the children.
Arthur Connor, Weston
Who could disagree with Julia Baird ("Yassmin Abdel-Magied: the latest woman to be roasted on the spit of public life", July 15, Forum 10) when she criticises ad hominem attacks, bigotry, racism, threats of violence and trolling.
These activities are pernicious whatever the target. But in her defence, Baird understates the kernel of Yassmin's unsuitability as an ABC presenter and, more particularly, a DFAT adviser.
Baird says she "argued her Muslim faith could be feminist". No, Yassmin doubled down on the more Orwellian claim: "Islam is the most feminist religion". With Yassmin in mind, Baird says progressive Muslims are an antidote to extreme Islam. Has Baird forgotten that during this Islamist feminism controversy, Abdel-Magied sought advice from Hizb Ut-Tahrir?
Peter Robinson, Ainslie
The cultural Marxists at the BBC are at it again.
Not content with destroying their highest-rating and grossing series in Top Gear, they have now decided Doctor Who requires a makeover and have assigned the show for "re-education".
If not for the patriarchy, gender violence and rape culture the Doctor would have been born female; the BBC has rectified the situation for us following on from the remakes of Ghostbusters and the progressive new Star Wars.
I for one can't wait for the next "fixing" of a classic; Wonder Woman played by Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner immediately comes to mind.
Perhaps readers could suggest other shows due for a progressive makeover.
Damon Fraser, Weetangera ACT
Using the military to deal with domestic disturbances, including terrorist attacks, marks the start of a slippery slope. This genie could be hard to put back in the bottle.
Neville Barry, Cowra, NSW
Time for answers as treatment of asylum seekers brings only shame
This week marks four years since the then Prime Minister Rudd announced that people who arrived by boat seeking asylum in Australia would never be permitted to settle in Australia, but would be held in detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.
Since then over 2000 innocent men, women and children have been detained in disgraceful conditions, suffering abuse and neglect; some have lost their lives – either murdered or through medical negligence.
Despite the shocking and worsening conditions, for which Australia is responsible, there is very little media coverage of these people's plight.
In light of this shameful situation I'm writing to my elected representatives to ask them, given the indisputable evidence of mistreatment and abuse in Manus and Nauru, how they can justify this manifestly inhumane policy which contravenes international law. I do not expect satisfactory answers, but it is the only way I know of putting pressure on our politicians to change a totally unacceptable situation.
I will also, of course, be attending the protests, including the Candlelit Vigil at Garema place at 6pm on Wednesday, July 19, as part of the National Day of Action to mark these four years of shame.
Clare Conway, Ainslie
Eight months ago the US/Australia refugee deal was announced, and Minister Dutton confidently assured us that people would be moving from Manus and Nauru "in the very near future". Now we're informed that there is no possibility of the US accepting anyone until after October 2017. It is four years since the then Prime Minister Rudd announced that people who arrived by boat seeking asylum in Australia would never be permitted to settle in Australia, but rather would be held in detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. Since then, at enormous cost to the Australian taxpayer, over 3000 innocent men, women and children have been detained in disgraceful conditions, subjected to abuse and neglect. At least eight of them have lost their lives through murder, suicide or medical negligence. Many of those currently held on Manus and Nauru have been there for almost the entire four years. According to Australian government statistics, around 80 per cent have been determined to be refugees and entitled to protection. But still they are being detained. The government repeatedly states that it is satisfied with everything about the status quo in offshore detention.
The Labor Party remains shamefully silent about this policy failure of their making. Is it really beyond us – a wealthy, well educated nation with world class diplomatic capabilities – to deliver effective refugee policy as we would in other areas: rationally seeking sensible, cost-effective, durable outcomes that will allow its citizens to hold our heads high? Four years of shame, Australia.
Eileen O'Brien, Kambah
Lament for Ludlam
Tony Wright's piece ("Oh I'm sorry. I forgot I was born in NZ", July 15, p. 11) about Scott Ludlam's resignation from the Senate could have more usefully focused on something important rather than on a tweet he sent to supporters. Is Wright seriously suggesting that the Constitution is serving us well when Ludlam is rendered ineligible for elected office because he omitted to think back to where he and his family were living until he was aged three, after which he became a naturalised Australian?
I am a Greens member, and have been a candidate for the party, and it's people like Ludlam who make me proud to be so. He was focused on outcomes, not on party politics.
He was one of very few parliamentarians prepared to speak out and press for reform on the blindingly obvious dangers of a system whereby the PM acting alone can send the country to war. When the Australian government snubbed the recent UN talks that prohibited nuclear weapons, Ludlam was there, speaking at the UN plenary in support of this unprecedented global initiative. When Australia announced sales of weapons to that most oppressive regime, Saudi Arabia, which sponsors death and destruction in Yemen and elsewhere, it was Ludlam who raised the matter in parliament.
Section 44 has deprived us all of an outstanding, smart, honest, diligent senator.
Sue Wareham, Cook
Maybe it's because taxpayers bought him his seat for $80 billion that Pyne contemplates establishing an Australian arms exporting industry.
Australia serves as a junkyard for products of the US military-industrial-complex, the world's largest exporter.
The Joint Strike Fighter represents redundant airframe design and software always under US control. What a bargain.
Turnbull is demanding that those hoping to become citizens should possess "Australian values".
Pyne, in stating "the UAE ... shares many of our values", vicariously defines [these as] beheadings, absolute dread of democracy, kleptocracy, autocracy, stifled female expression and suppression of all forms of dissent.
Australia has approved four military exports to Saudi (2016), the world's second largest importer.
Pyne visited in December in an attempt to sell more, to a regime which is bombing Yemen into the stone age, [and] in [the] process generating a famine. The Dutch have cancelled arms contracts with Saudi, out of disgust with its humanitarian abuses.
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan, NSW
Insensitive sick plea
I refer to Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Pengilly's recent call for workers to stay home if they are sick [with the flu].
While unions support workers using their sick leave if they are unwell, there are over 40,000 Canberran workers who have no sick leave entitlements. It is insensitive to ask casual workers to choose between a pay cheque or staying home unpaid.
Many casual workers have told UnionsACT that they feel they cannot call-in sick, that they would lose shifts or even face the sack. Other workers on short-term contracts, including staff within the Health Directorate, feel enormous pressure to come to work when ill.
Imagine living in fear of getting sick and then losing pay or even your job.
Alex White, UnionsACT
TO THE POINT
WEDDED TO COAL
Nobody knows why the conservatives in this government are so wedded to coal, but we strongly suspect that it has little to do with our national interest. Do they really not understand the urgency of climate change? Perhaps they should hold their COAG Energy Council meeting on the giant iceberg that has broken away from Antarctica.
No wonder the states choose to go it alone with energy policy.
Rosemary Walters, Palmerston
BEHOLDEN TO NO ONE
I have to take issue with one of John Warhurst's assertions ("Signs point to Shorten as next prime minister", July13, p.17) that "Labor will be well funded and have effective allies in the trade unions and GetUp!"
The unions are affiliated to the ALP; GetUp! is beholden to noone.
Many a Labor policy, refugees being a shining example, is vehemently opposed by GetUp!
Bob Gardiner, Isabella Plains
NOT VERY TAXING
Lodged tax return on line on July8, received message from ATO advising return finalised on July14 and refund will be in nominated bank account in three working days.
Very good service, ATO.
Bruce Glossop, Holt
PAPER GOES MISSING
Judging by the rectangular dry space in the dew in our driveway this morning, July14, somebody possibly stole our copy of the Canberra Times. Has it come to the point that people would do anything to get a copy?
Susan MacDougall, Scullin
To the list of demerits of cigarettes well explained in your editorial of July14 should be added the public cost of living among the litter of cigarette butts, for which no one seems to take responsibility.
Ted Lilley, Aranda
REASON TO CELEBRATE
Two good things happened last week. Someone wrote something balanced and positive about President Trump ("Trump no idiot abroad," July14, p.18) and the Raiders won.
Open borders? Scott Ludlam? The first clue might be that All Blacks guernsey he's worn for the past nine Bledisloe Cup series.
Gerry Murphy, Braddon
If today's outlaw bikie gangs ("Bikies defended", July17, p.3) are citizen activists, then Ned Kelly was the leader of the Victorian Liberation Organisation and not just a backstabbing, bushwhacking murderer.
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