Letters to the Editor

November 10, 2006

North Korea

The imposition of sanctions on North Korea by the United Nations is another small victory for John Bolton, United States' ambassador to the UN, in his avowed campaign to either make the UN a mouthpiece for the US or to destroy its credibility. This action has the support of the so-called international community, that is, the Western and pro-Western governments.

But there is another "international community" — the majority of the world's citizens, who have no voice and no vote in these matters, but who regard such sanctions as blackmail and the boarding of ships in international waters as no better than piracy. They can see clearly how the UN is being manipulated to suit the interests of the United States and such morally reprehensible actions will not improve the popularity of the US around the world.

Col Friel

Alawa, NT


In an article by Graham Matthews in GLW #685, he states that "On September 18, Australia's most senior Catholic leader, George Pell, following the lead of his boss, the pope, repeated the lie that Islam is a violent religion. 'They [people of the Muslim faith] show the link ... between religion and violence, their refusal to respond to criticism with rational arguments, but only with demonstrations, threats and actual violence', he said, referring to international protests against Pope Benedict XVI's quoting of a Byzantine emperor's characterisation of Islam as violent. Pell's comments dovetail with those of Howard, who has accused "a small section" of the Muslim community of preaching violence." I ask, where is the lie? Was there in fact violence, threats and demonstrations? Was it led by Muslims? Where is the lie? There was no lie.

Richard Miller

Via email

Dole budgers

Each Centrelink recipient will attend a live four-minute interview at Centrelink each fortnight. It's a Centrelink privilege! Mr Joseph Hockey will weed out all dole bludgers and welfare cheats from government handouts. Do you know what that means? It should mean no government money for the likes of John Howard, Peter Costello, Tony Abbott, Amanda Vanstone, Malcolm Turnbull, Malcolm Brough, and Kim Beazley.

Jane Wallace

Riverwood, NSW

Work 'choices'

PM John Howard and the ACCI want us to do our bit for Australia and sign an AWA. Wages are far too high, which is clearly inhibiting progress and prosperity. We must follow
the example of our trading partners. Rice is a fine food and its thrice daily consumption would significantly reduce grocery bills, thus allowing wages to be reduced to the US minimum of $5.50 per hour. Tipping can be introduced of course, if you wish to send your children to a private school. The important work choices contained in your AWA will reflect beneficially for all shareholders and workers alike — Howard has promised. So do not hesitate to sign your Australian Workplace Atrocity — there is really no other choice.

Earl Simpson

Taigum Qld

School chaplains

Why can't John Howard understand that he has no right to use taxpayer money to give religion a boost? $20,000 per annum is to be provided to schools that employ an approved chaplain. But school counsellors should not be representatives of particular religious groups or people who promote religious views.

Schooling should be secular. It is in the long-term interests of both children and society that pupils be exposed to ideas supported by logic and evidence — and belief in God and various other religious doctrines don't pass this test.

Humanitarian values deliver all that is needed morally, and if parents are committed to exposing their children to religious influence they should do this outside school hours and without government support.

If schools have just one chaplain there may be unpleasant disputes about which religious creed he/she will represent.

The government should only fund properly trained school counsellors, not church chaplains.

Brent Howard

Rydalmere, NSW

Baby bonus

With global warming affecting our water and power supplies to our major cities it is a no brainer to continue to subsidise population growth in the way of the baby bonus (otherwise known as the flat screen bonus). Do we really want to breed another generation of consumers of the world's precious resources?

These kids, brought up on a diet of daytime TV on their wide screens, have an increased incidence of Attention Deficit Disorder directly related to the number of hours of TV watched. They are 30% more obese than their parents due to inactivity and overeating and will consume more than 50% more in terms of health resources to treat their diabetes, heart disease and arthritis in old age.

Their aspirational parents have bought a new home in the 'burbs, poorly designed with no room for trees to shade the western side, no verandahs and no passive solar heating; requiring expensive energy guzzling airconditioners in summer and heaters in winter. There is no provision for rainwater tanks which could have been put under the two-car driveway to collect grey water to nurture their water guzzling lawns.

Their large four-wheel drives run on petrol not biofuel. Their triple bathrooms spew hot water with no solar hot water on the roofs. Seriously though, to call for a ministry to manage global warming without a ministry for population is to deny the major cause of global warming and that is population growth.

Colin Hughes

Glen Forrest, WA

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