LETTERS by News WeeklyNews Weekly
, May 6, 2000
Aged care reply
Your correspondent Juliet Hoey (News Weekly, April 22) took issue with some of my comments in my Aged Care article - indeed she found these comments "downright irresponsible." I had passed to the editors a short answer for the last edition, but it must have slipped through the cracks.
But in it I said that Ms Hoey had raised some important issues, which should be examined in a follow-up piece. No matter: but this is nonesuch; just a letter by way of reply.
Quite obviously if all people were as Ms Hoey, matters in Australia would be very different, and my Aged Care piece would have taken a very different direction.
But alas, they are not - hence my comments.
Her story of agonising about a ninety seven year old mother, who had had a stroke - the correspondent's agony being to have to relinquish her caring to a hospital - indicates a degree of fidelity and concern far beyond the call of duty. To that extent, we were talking about different things.
But the general issue which she also raised - the prospect of more and more people living to a great age, e.g. 95, or, soon, 100, requiring medical care and supervision for long periods, does raise some chilly prospects.
Either an unconscionable burden upon families, entailing almost fatal disruption to their lives and legitimate prospects; or a ballooning of social security costs; or the internment so to speak, of increasing numbers of old people in homes or villages, for a period of twenty to thirty years. In prisons without bars ... so to speak.
That is but one of the issues we should be discussing; and I shall. Perhaps even more important than mandatory sentencing in Western Australia or the Northern Territory?
But this subject is, in reality, a hot potato, a Pandora's Box; so anyone who tries to delineate some parts of this reality as he sees them, amid our permanently adversarial modes of discussion, now so fashionable, might expect, for his pains, to be called downright irresponsible.
Apparently it is a tax one has to pay.
North Fitzroy, VicStolen generation controversy
In the lead article "John Howard trapped in Aboriginal mine field" (News Weekly, April 22) it is observed that "The Government's report to the Senate on the stolen generation - which however you try to get around it attempted to claim it never happened - showed an insensitivity and carelessness which deserved condemnation".
If the "it" that "never happened" is understood to be the inappropriate forcible removal of Aboriginal children from their mothers then it is simply not true that the Government claims it never happened.
On the contrary, the report repeatedly admits this sad reality, despite the impression given by many media commentaries.
On the other hand, if the "it" refers to the "stolen generation" then the Government's critique of the term, and of Sir Ronald Wilson's upper figure of one in three Aboriginal children forcibly removed as misleading, is factually correct.
The most that can be charged is that the Government picked an unnecessary fight over terminology, a fight it was unlikely to win due to the shallow sloganeering by the Aboriginal industry which has found such unwarranted favour with the mass media.
Perth, WAEmployment options
Regarding "The Nucor approach", (NW, April 22) as the Proprietors of a very struggling-to-survive niche market manufacturer, employing an average of 18 people annually, we earnestly desire a lot more information on how these people function. I am most impressed! How do they make it work?
The nuts and bolts of giving opportunity to earn according to productivity ... The weekly bonus ... The Department Manager incentive plan ... The non-productive, and non-department-incentive plan for all those who do not fit in the above ...
I believe, truly believe, that if I could get such a system working, we too could be a dynamic employment-creating entity that would certainly have a job stability that we do not have, and never have had, as a result of the very unlevel playing field in which we find ourselves.
I also totally concur with Bob Browning's summary on page 13 of the same issue of News Weekly. If the workers have no long term future, neither does anyone who wants to live off these workers income.
Morningside, QldWatering Australia
Australia need not be the driest continent on earth, limiting our population to 20 million or so.
If we were to divert the course of our northern rivers, which pour billions of litres of water into the sea every monsoon season, Australia could be greened.
This would mean that Australia could support a population of 50 million people and could take her place amongst the nations and have her opinions respected.
If we need courage to carry out this plan, we should take heart from the way the great Snowy Mountains scheme was brought to completion.
Glenroy, VicKeeping silent on GST
A recent headline in a national newspaper caught my eye.
Parrotting the Government's GST propaganda, it breathlessly claimed "GST to trim grocery bills by 1%".
Considering the rise in grocery prices over the past six months, it's hoped there will be some relief.
However, with two-and-a-half months to doomsday, there is still no debate allowed on the detrimental effect of this tax on services. Both John Howard and Peter Costello studiously avoid defending the indefensible.
I have attempted to explain this problem to any number of politicians - to no avail.
Perhaps the ones I spoke to have never managed a successful business or perhaps they adhere to the old dictum:
"It is better to remain silent and have people think you're dumb, than open your mouth and remove any shadow of doubt".