Research has highlighted the significant challenges and barriers faced by people with intellectual disability accessing healthcare. Poor and tragic experiences have also been a focus area of the Disability Royal Commission.
The current challenges as a result of shortages in a range of medications (The Age, 10/1) will specifically impact on people with disability who, for a range of reasons, often use liquid antibiotics when required. There is also a high rate of people with intellectual disability who live with epilepsy where medication is also scarce.
We are experiencing very serious issues in our health system, including difficulties accessing general practitioners and significant pressures on emergency departments and hospital admissions. These circumstances, the current health climate and the high demand for services following the pandemic means a “perfect storm” is brewing for people with intellectual disability. Urgent action is needed to prevent it.
Stephanie Gotlib, disability advocate, Collingwood
Seeking a return to the community health program
Re “The overlooked asset: the community health sector” (Letters, 10/1). John Hedditch’s words should be heeded by politicians who seem to have lost the capacity to use common sense. It is amazing that such a logical, cost-efficient and expertly presented theory by a former senior public servant could possibly be ignored.
Therese Geary, Fairfield
Equal access and improved services for all
How wonderful if we could work towards effective and well-funded primary care, which delivers prevention, early intervention, treatment and referral in a timely and effective way. We also need an increase in clinics which offer low-cost or no-cost (i.e., government-funded) after-hours service in metropolitan and regional areas to alleviate the pressures on emergency departments and paramedic services. Tele-health has proven to be effective, if required, particularly in rural and remote areas. It is time to provide equal access and improved services for both the providers and the recipients of care.
Lesley Osenieks, Birregurra
An honourable man
The late Cardinal George Pell was a man highly respected by some and much maligned by others, especially by those whose views were informed by often quite hateful journalism. Pell loved God and his Church, and indeed had great affection for Australia. As archbishop of Melbourne, he instituted the Melbourne Response to try to provide some form of redress to victims of sexual abuse within the Church.
Although an inadequate scheme, it was nevertheless a pioneering move. It will ever be a stain on both the state of Victoria and Victoria Police that Pell served over a year in prison, including five months in solitary confinement for crimes he did not commit. The High Court’s overturning of his convictions says it all. May this decent and honourable man rest in peace.
Peter Curtis, Werribee
Support of paedophiles
My lingering memory of George Pell will be of him accompanying the horrific Gerald Ridsdale, who was imprisoned in 1994 for sexual abuse of children, to court. Pell always gave more support to pervert priests than he did to their victims.
Adrian Hyland, St Andrews
Such dignity and grace
The phrase “grace under pressure” was coined by Ernest Hemingway. And Cardinal George Pell exemplified this by his dignified conduct throughout the legal proceedings that wrongfully convicted him and his subsequent jailing by Victoria’s erring judiciary.
Dennis Walker, North Melbourne
Pell’s terrible legacy
I listened to Francis Sullivan, CEO of Truth, Justice and Healing Council. His response was exactly what I think about George Pell, his legacy of division within the Catholic Church and his tarnishing of it in Australia through covering up of child sexual abuse. I believe he was very good with finances.
Louis Ferrari, Richmond
A small step to closure
With the death of George Pell, hopefully there will be closure for many of the victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.
Mary Fenelon, Doncaster East
The same old disputes
The dispute between the Australian Education Union and Education Department (read Victorian government) over the funding of teachers’ time in lieu (The Age, 11/1) is predictable.
As an ex-principal, I have witnessed this type of dispute many times. An agreement is reached but there is disagreement on its resourcing. The department says schools can pay for it through their own (highly constrained) budgets and schools say rightly, they do not have the resources.
Another tactic is to invent such ludicrous notions as “off-duty” time during excursions or camps. I am sure a parent whose child suffers an accident or adverse health event would be only too willing to accept that he/she was not adequately cared for because a teacher was “off-duty”.
Victoria’s public schools endure the lowest per capita funding in Australia (and have for many years) and are well behind publicly subsidised Catholic and independent schools in terms of the per capita funds available through state, federal and parent fees. This impacts on all aspects of their operations from staffing levels (especially non-teaching staff) to facilities and pay levels. Australia has developed one of most un-egalitarian educational systems in the world and this dispute is another example highlighting that fact.
Brian Burgess, Middle Park
Follow the EU’s lead
The federal government will enforce pollution caps on industry’s biggest polluters but industry groups want it “carefully calibrated over time” so we remain competitive with international rivals (The Age, 11/1). Instead of compromising best practice, why don’t we take a leaf out of the European Union’s book and put tariffs on international producers which enjoy cheaper prices at the expense of the environment?
Jeff Moran, Bacchus Marsh
Danger: wood smoke
I agree with Karina Kanepe (Letters, 9/1). I do not understand our collective blind spot on wood-smoke pollution. People complain about a whiff of cigarette smoke outside, but can barely bring themselves to believe that wood smoke, despite being similar in chemical composition and having far higher emissions, is anything but benign. It is a scandal on the level of the Volkswagen emissions scandal (“Dieselgate”) and cigarette smoking. At a minimum, the wood heaters should come with a health warning label.
Liz Poole, Northcote
No longer our tournament
Alan Attwood’s article “Paying for quallies kills Open romance” (Comment, 10/1) sums up my feelings on the Australian Open over recent years. Ticket prices have gone through the roof and the event seems to be more about entertainment rather than tennis.
When do “greed and growth” finally take a back seat to your average supporter wanting to enjoy a nice day with a reserved seat in the shade at a reasonable price? For example, you now pay out $300 for a ticket in the top section of Rod Laver Arena on the Saturday. Sorry, that is not the semi-finals, it is just the third round. And good luck trying to secure a seat on the outdoor courts which are over-sold with ground passes. The quallies at $10 a ticket appear to be a winner, Alan.
David Gill, Wodonga
Surviving terrible trauma
Like Julia Baird (Comment, 11/1), I sympathise with Harry’s childhood trauma. At the age of 11, I too lost my mother. I found her, naked and face down on her bed, the telephone off the hook. Worst were the feelings of guilt – that I felt relief rather than anguish.
Now I can see that her alcoholism was a sign of the times – a beautiful, intelligent woman’s escape from a boring life in the suburbs of the 1950s, devoid of meaningful work. But at the time, it made my childish life almost unbearable. It took about 20years to get over it, but I did, and I suspect Harry will too.
Meredith Doig, St Kilda East
The win-win solution
Eliminate myki. Make public transport free, frequent and comfortable. To pay for this, impose a levy on household rates. Let’s help to eliminate pollution, road accidents and incessant road building.
Gael Barrett, North Balwyn
When Japan said sorry
The claim by China’s ambassador to Australia that Japan has never officially apologised over its actions during World War II is wrong. During a visit to Australia in December 1957, Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, responding to a toast by Prime Minister Robert Menzies at a parliamentary luncheon held in his honour, stated: “It is over 12 years since hostilities ceased and over six years since the formal conclusion of peace, but notwithstanding that passage of time it is my official duty, and my personal desire, to express to the people of Australia our heartfelt sorrow for what occurred in the war”.
Dennis Dodd, Wangaratta
Protecting our youth
Surely consumerism is at least part of the problem regarding younger generations’ relationship with money. By introducing lessons in financial literacy into the school curriculum (Comment, 10/1), we would only be repeating the same mistakes that the Commonwealth Bank’s Dollarmites program established.
We need to regulate the cryptocurrency and short-term financing services – and reduce the level of exposure that school children have to them. And this is where appropriate government oversight must step in.
Anders Ross, Heidelberg
Know your students
As a retired secondary English teacher, I find the flurry of concern about universities being able to detect essays generated by artificial intelligence rather amusing. Secondary teachers have been dealing with this issue for quite a few years. The simple answer is that you have to know your students; when they suddenly produce an insightful essay on a text which they previously struggled to read, you know that it is not their own work.
Perhaps the administrators of the tertiary sector are more worried about the cost of employing sufficient tutors and lecturers to achieve that same level of knowledge.
Russell Kealey, Corio
Doomed to a ‘no’ vote or…
How can the government expect us to vote on the Voice when we don’t know the details of the proposal? Labor wants us to “trust” them to get it right, without meaningful input from the public. This referendum appears to be a failure already.
James Sarros, Black Rock
Here we go again, ideological opposition to the Voice. Its the same empathy-bypassed group which peddled the nonsense that the Mabo decision imperilled suburbanites’ titles to their backyards.
Lucy Niu, Mount Waverley
Listen, it’s impordant
Memo to television journalists and politicians. There is no “d” in the word “important”, silent or otherwise. Also, “umm” and “ahh” take up space that may otherwise be used for disseminating “impordant” information.
Anna Dillon, Warrnambool
Target Time, a free for all
Hooray. At last I got a perfect score on Target Time (Puzzles, 9/1) after I eliminated cerous, coinsure, conure, cornu, crus, cruse, incus, incuse and unci – all words l have never seen written and never used in my almost 80years. And I am tertiary educated. I had great fun writing my own meanings, however. For example, unci: a nickname for uncle. Cornu: a corner that becomes a u-turn. I added two of my own inventions in Tuesday’s puzzle – eeeyc and gneery. I don’t know what they mean but that obviously doesn’t matter.
David Allen, Bayswater North
AND ANOTHER THING
Does Pell now face a definitive trial? Unfortunately I doubt it .
Mark Cherny, Caulfield
George Pell, I’ve got two bob that says heaven might be full.
Andrew Dowling, Torquay
RIP George Pell, or should I say farewell? Now we wait for the hagiographies. Another door closed in the controversial chapter of the Catholic Church.
Julie Ottobre, Sorrento
“The sad news of George Pell’s passing.” Hmm.
Neale Meagher, Malvern
Re Harry’s preference for Steinbeck over Shakespeare. He clearly missed Much Ado About Nothing.
Don Hyatt, Dingley Village
Clearly, Prince Harry hasn’t learnt which bridges to cross and which ones to burn.
Mary Wise, Ringwood
So, how many think it’s a good idea to have that English family supply our head of state in perpetuity?
David Baylis, Drouin East
But why so monotone, Harry? It sounds like you’ve said it a dozen times before. Bored? Me too.
Lois-Ann Davey, Leopold
What if Harry is right?
Les Cooper, Anglesea
No, Harry, silence is not betrayal, it is golden. Please shut up.
Jess Mackenzie, Brunswick
In the land of the fair go, how can MPs not be given a conscience vote on the Indigenous Voice?
Gwenda West, Research
Scott Morrison: Legend (10/1) in his own lunchtime.
Rob Walton, Sandringham
Forget the Moon and outer space travel. Save the planet we live on.
Katriona Fahey, Alphington