Write on: Letters to the editor

January 19, 2005


Eva Cheng's review (GLW #609) of The Trouble with Capitalism by Harry Shutt was terrifically interesting, because it pointed up the highly interventionist character of capitalist states and debunked the commonly (still) held view that capitalism is nothing more than the "free" play of market forces. In fact, capitalist governments actively intervene to shore up a system which is no more "free" than is Communism. (A further thought is that no system is natural, but all, being man-made, require some human interference). It is important to repeat that the only "freedom" capitalism offers is the freedom to exploit others — which is, first and foremost, what socialism denies.

Those exploited by capitalism form 80% of the world's population, Obviously, then, if democracy represents the people, only socialism can viably govern the world in a democratic way.

Marie McKern
Surry Hills, NSW [Abridged]

Centrelink jobs

The Community and Public Sector Union's claim that Centrelink has reduced staff numbers in the past year by 3000 is exaggerated and misleading. Over the course of any year, Centrelink's temporary staff numbers go up and down to enable us to implement specific Australian government initiatives.

At June, 30, 2003, Centrelink had record-high levels of temporary staff who were employed for a defined period to implement the government's Employment Services Contract 3, Drought Relief and More Choice for Families programs.

When much of this work ended in October 2003, Centrelink's number of temporary staff reduced as was planned.

At June 30, 2004, Centrelink's total staff count had reduced by 1689 from the previous year, not 3000 as the CPSU claims. Almost 90% of this reduction was the result of these temporary measures ending.

The reality is when you take into account temporary programs and changes in our responsibility, staffing numbers have remained comparatively stable since Centrelink's inception.

Hank Jongen
Centrelink national manager


In this post-truth era, lying is not something new, it's just because it's more crude — more blatant. Hiding and/or distorting the truth has long been a prime tool of politicians and the media. Indeed, there's been centuries of it. George Orwell observed more than half a century ago: "Words falling on the facts like soft snow, blurring their outlines and covering up of the detail".

It can be to our — the people's — benefit that the current "liars" are so crude, so blatant, that even "poor blind freddy down the road" can see through their lies. They are so pathetically infantile.

They use lies to divert us from realising how we are being fooled by the real powers in our now globalised society; the giant corporations which make profits, immense profits, from everything from food to medicines, from the fast disappearing oil to water (a fact, already in some countries — ours soon?). Profits from atomic weapons, to land mines (to blow off children's feet/legs) to anti-personnel missiles, to hand guns, sub-machine guns, etc.

They aren't ever going to admit this, so they have "front men" — politicians, the media, to divert us. As well as lies they invent words/phrases to dehumanise meanings such as "collateral damage" = kill civilians, "search and destroy" = kill, mostly civilians.

Reject and eject our liars and their masters.

Jim Knight
Kangaroo Creek, NSW


Australia's master-servant relations continue in dispatch of police "aid" to quell PNG's criminalisation. Not only must they now beg as they are squeezed into "structural adjustments" by European corporate bankers, but are blamed for their crippling poverty and unemployment, as if they have no history of European domination. Their former rulers punished indigenous resistance and denied their right to manage their affairs with viable village self-development but extracted profits from large scale plantations (of inedible crops) using indigenous "cheap" labour. Land is their only social security but cannot sustain a population boosted by missionary zealots. Except for a few national elites, our neighbours are suffering "independence" subject to neo-colonisers "law-and-order" for foreign plunder without resistance.

Lyn Ariel


Childcare centres, service providers, and schools, are misleading parents over the issue of vaccinating their children. Also importantly, the government has been slow to rectify this misinformation.

School is compulsory, vaccination is not. In fact, it is normal and beneficial, for children to have these early childhood diseases. "Suppressing measles fever and rash by vaccination leads to cancer and degenerative diseases of bone and cartilage" (Lancet, September 1985). It was also reported that a bout of measles during childhood, may help to prevent asthma. Consequently, these early childhood diseases are there "to prime and mature" the children's immune systems.

You are not bound to have your child vaccinated, for them to be eligible to attend school. A vaccination certificate may be required, but is not essential. You can present the blue book, and they may photocopy the relevant pages at the back.

If you choose not to vaccinate you child, then your doctor will fill in a simple form, at your request, which is called the Declaration of Exemption from Vaccination. This form will advise Centrelink and Medicare about your decision not to vaccinate your child. And that your doctor has discussed this issue with you the parent, or guardian.

Outbreaks of measles or whooping cough are of particular concern to the health department. There is one particular "safeguard" that has been emplaced deliberately to try to enforce vaccination. Which is, if there is a confirmed report of either disease at a school or childcare facility, then there maybe a two week (or more) exclusion period imposed, from school, for any unvaccinated child.

But note — the health department only, and not the school, can enforce this rule. In some cases the initial diagnoses has been wrong, with children being removed from school unnecessarily. Pathology testing is required to enforce this exclusion.

C. Bohackyj
Towradgi, NSW [Abridged]

From Green Left Weekly, January 19, 2005.
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