Letters to the Editor

Suburb nostalgia

Reading the article about The Causeway ("Community in thought and deed lingers in this domain", Sunday Times, February 8, Pages 6-7) brought back many happy memories. 

My husband,  Ron Bean, was raised in the suburb and lived there with his mother Ethel, nee Robbie, and step-father Leo Harrington in No.99  Bluebell Street, until 1948 when Ron and I were married. 

Ron had nine siblings and the large Robbie and Harrington clans added many to the Causeway's population.  Family members will be rooting for the current residents in their battle to preserve the identity of the suburb and keep their homes.

Evelyn Bean, Ainslie

I read the interesting article in the CT on Causeway. However, it  said that the old wooden houses were replaced in the 1960s by the brick houses. This is incorrect. I watched and photographed some of this redevelopment and my photos are dated 1978. The old wooden houses were still there in the 1970s and the new brick houses began to go up in 1978.

Julie Macklin, Narrabundah


Potential for harm 

Peter Gotzsche exhibits considerable courage in challenging global leviathans on their product safety, so might well be advised to don bullet-proof kevlar" for protection on his speaking tour ("Prescription drugs killing people: expert", Sunday CT, February 8, Page 13).

Global pharma has enormous investment in perpetuating the myth that their drugs are a bland panacea for all ills, an invention equally propitious to prescribers and dispensers bottom line.     

Drugs are by no means innocuous chemical compounds, and the mere fact they are legally controlled and marketed, with fancy packaging and names, does nothing to mitigate their potential for harm. 

It is regrettable that a foreigner has to tour Australia to advocate the Therapeutic Goods Administration, prescribers and dispensers, should be more vigilant in their consumer protection roles. 

Professor Gotzsche, understandably, expresses particular concern for the vulnerable elderly, who may have  difficulty identifying side-effects due to failing faculties.

 Nursing home residents are especially at risk, as they are more likely to be recipients of poly-pharmacy, with up to 12-14 different preparations, administered contemporaneously  by minimally skilled staff with scant knowledge of pharmacological effects or dangers.  

Scarcity of clinical skills, engendered by a-race-to-the-bottom attitude, deprives nursing home residents of opportunities for assessment of causes of agitation, i.e. drug induced nausea, skin rashes, visual disturbances, hearing loss, dry mouth, etc., so the quick fix is to add an antipsychotic drug to their existing potpourri.  And calm returns!

Albert M.White, Queanbeyan

Another rebel against accepted medical practice has hit our shores, Professor Peter Gotzshe, of the Cochrane Collaboration ("Prescription drugs killing people", February 8, p13).

 Unfortunately he is correct about non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and anti-depressants. Any medical records coder in any hospital can verify that the number of NSAIDS (Voltaren etc.) users admitted with gastric haemorrhage is noticeable.

Any aged-care nurse will verify the common supply of antidepressants prescriptions marked PRN. That's a dosage instruction meaning, "as required". 

The drugs are supplied, for the nurses' convenience, as chemical straitjackets. Their essential function is to suppress, at one level or another, the alarm mechanism, including cardiac function.

Gary J.Wilson, Macgregor

Rugby days of summer

New Zealand High Commissioner Chris Seed is quoted as saying ("Kiwis dance to celebrate Treaty's 175th year", February 8, Pg3) that Waitangi Day is "about getting together, enjoying family, food, music and a bit of rugby. We always thank our founding fathers they decided to sign their treaty in summer, rather than the middle of winter, so we can enjoy great days like this".

 I always thought that rugby was a winter sport.

John Milne, Chapman

A nutty mantra 

 Love it, Paul Malone ("Does WA deserve more GST pie?" Sunday Canberra Times, February 8, p19) "Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation" – the perfect counter to that nutty Women's Lib mantra that prostitution is male exploitation of women.

Bill Deane, Chapman

Do we need subs?

Can anyone explain why Australia needs submarines? Do we have so much excess money that we need to cut foreign aid to build submarines? Or are subs  a new form of foreign aid? Are we wedded to a military technology that's  nearly 100 years out of date? Will anyone on the back bench ask these questions?

Charles J. Krebs, O'Connor

Singles worse off

To add some substance to the current debate about taxing policy, given this Government's new mantra is "helping families" (sounds like the old Labor one in fact), would someone please reveal how much tax people with children actually pay,  and how much they get back in multiple rebates and one-off payments like the school kids bonus?

It seems to me that the singles, often unknown to the welfare system, are doing most of the heavy lifting when it comes to tax paid by individuals and they do this for their whole earning lives, including from their super.

Sarah Brasch, Weston

Long grass a disgrace

Jon Stanhope may have had some faults, as we all do, but at least he was and still is proud of Canberra as most of us are. However, since  Stanhope's retirement, you cannot help but notice when you travel around Canberra the upkeep and cleanliness of this beautiful capital city is deteriorating. 

The present ACT Government must have run out of mower blades as Athllon Drive between Learmonth Drive and Beazley Street in Farrer has been mown only twice since April 2014 and then it was only partly completed. The park area between Florence Taylor Street and Lake Tuggeranong in that same time has been mown only three times. The current members of the ACT Government and in particular the Minister responsible for the mowing, must either be blind or too interested in a tram line that will service a very limited area of Canberra and have no pride in what the nation's capital should look like.

R.Wright, Greenway

Challenge of a republic

The Republicans are all fired up once again to bring on a referendum to throw out the monarchy and bring in a republic.

If we had voted yes for a republic at the last referendum would we have abolished the current constitution? If so, wouldn't the revised constitution, empowering and prescribing the workings of the republic, have to be taken into a referendum for endorsement? Given the answer is yes to either or both of the above questions, could not this result in all laws and legislation passed under the old constitution being  challenged in the courts, and even the jurisdiction of the courts being challenged if there is a gap, between the monarchy being dissolved and republic constitution being promulgated? 

Ed Dobson, Hughes

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