Take action against 'tanking' culprits
BROCK McLean has confirmed what all football supporters have always suspected and that is that AFL clubs have demanded that coaches ensure their teams lose games ("Demons tanked: McLean", Sport, 31/7).
Despite "rigorous" investigations by the AFL, we are now safe in our knowledge that the Melbourne Football Club did not play to its potential so it could secure draft picks.
Given that betting occurs on football surely playing to lose is illegal and the culprits must be brought to account. It has brought the game and the club into disrepute. We Melbourne supporters deserve better and we must ensure that the administration and the board are made to answer these most serious allegations.
Andrew Dowling, Torquay
ABC, SBS on track
FURTHER to Associate Professor Paula Gerber's article (Comment, 30/7), the principles underlying the "Nolan rules" that apply in the UK have already been applied to a range of similar bodies in Australia.
The federal government has implemented an election promise to reform the way appointments are made to the governing bodies of the ABC and SBS.
Under the new merit-based appointment process, recommendations for appointment to the boards of the two public broadcasters are made by an independent nomination panel at arm's length from government.
Vacancies are widely advertised and candidates are assessed against a core set of selection criteria. The panel nominates a shortlist of candidates for consideration by the minister.
It is ironic that standard equal opportunity principles such as the publication of selection criteria, advertising of vacancies and nomination by an independent panel can be applied to our national broadcasters, but not to an organisation specifically concerned with equal opportunity and human rights.
Darce Cassidy, Parkville
Pay a fee for super, not a percentage
KEN Davidson is on the money (Comment, 30/7). If Australian superannuants were to invest another 10 per cent into the superannuation pot to increase it from $1.4 trillion to $1.5 trillion, they would collectively be charged another $1.5 billion a sum that would largely go into the pockets of the fund managers. We have to ask how much real work they did for this stupendous return. What risk have they taken on themselves?
Percentage-based payments for superannuation investments are a cancerous blight on the wealth of the nation. They do not in any way reflect the amount of productive work done, and the torrent of money they generate grossly skews the sense of self-worth of the financial services sector. We are all familiar with the aftermath of the resulting hubris.
Professional services such as these particularly those mandated by Parliament should be charged as a fee for a service where the charges are known clearly in advance. It is nothing short of amazing that it was a Labor government that initially established the arrangement, but perhaps investor rights weren't high on Bob Hawke and Paul Keating's agenda either.
John Colville, South Yarra
Treated with disdain
THANKS, Ken Davidson, for having the courage to say what must be said (more frequently) about superannuation. We are being treated with contempt by most funds.
After jumping through hoops for a month and witnessing super-bureaucracy at its (somewhat necessary) best, I managed to transfer five funds into one. However, I was so distracted by the complex process that I neglected to channel that paltry (in retirement terms) $40K into a cash account just paying interest. In two days more than $3000 had been wiped off. It was a week before I realised but it was too late. The fund had its fees.
I know markets fluctuate, but funds are simply dining out on fees that give them no incentive to increase returns. It makes me (and many) really mad.
Brent Coombs, St Kilda
Way of the future
DANIEL Flitton is right: Australia will run out of iron ore, coal and other minerals within a few decades (Comment, 31/7). And we are not thinking about alternatives to keep the people employed and the country prosperous.
Even before the mining boom ends, the manufacturing industry will disappear together with the skilled personnel needed for the industry. We are already witnessing the end of the car manufacturing industry. However, we are strong in agriculture. Australian farmers and farming practices are some of the most efficient in the world. As the living standard of the people of Asia is increasing, Australia can be assured of a market for high-quality agricultural products for a long time to come. The government should be putting more money in this area for R&D and infrastructure development.
Bill Mathew, Parkville
'P' word is racist
THANK you, Isabel Schofield, for your apology on behalf of all fair-minded Australians (Letters, 30/7) with regard to the racist column "Whingeing Poms". Many of us find the use of the "P" word offensive and insulting. Why is it that this word can still be used when to use derogatory descriptions of any other race is considered racially discriminating?
Chris and Rob Pritchard, Berwick
Dereliction of duty
THE closure of Kilmore Hospital's "Know your midwife" program is not only disappointing: it is a dereliction of duty. In fact, now that the research proves the benefits of this model of care, it behoves all Australian maternity services to offer it. The results are irrefutable: 22 per cent fewer caesarean births with infants born to these women being 37 per cent less likely to be admitted to a special-care nursery.
Not only does this model of care offer better satisfaction rates and outcomes, but it saves the health service money by reducing intervention rates. If these outstanding findings related to a model of care that improved outcomes in, for example, the management of heart disease, cancer treatment or some other serious medical condition, hospitals would immediately act to reform their practices to align with these research findings ergo to offer best practice/evidence-based medicine.
Women should expect this, for their own sake, and that of their baby the taxpayer should demand it as good management of an increasingly constrained health budget.
Maxine Hardinge, Balaclava
Poll question to pose
WHEN a Labor backbencher outpolls Tony Abbott among Coalition voters by a whopping 26 per cent, maybe it's time to stop speculating and instead pose a simple question: Would your dislike of Abbott cause you to switch your vote from the Coalition to a Rudd-led Labor Party ("Voters prefer Rudd to Abbott, want Labor leadership change", The Age, 30/7)?
Bernd Rieve, Brighton
I WONDER if just some of Julia Gillard's opinion poll problems are related to not just the fact that she is a female, but that she is an unmarried women who lives with her partner, and has chosen not to have children and pursued a career instead. Would society mark her differently if she was married like Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel or Margaret Thatcher?
Cameron Spence, South Fremantle, WA
Tough is not enough
OVER and over again we hear from Julia Gillard's supporters that she is tough. That is all they can say. Winston Churchill was tough throughout World War II, but he lost the first election after the war.
Australia needs a leader who can sell her/his achievements in government and inspire her followers and the public. Ms Gillard has been spectacularly unsuccessful.
Sid Morris, Elsternwick
Our common vulnerabilities
GERMAINE Greer's support of the chant "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!" (Life & Style, 28/7) was interestingly counter-intuitive, but oh, how I miss Kate Holden. Greer always seems to have a point to prove or a lesson to administer, whereas Holden's reflective poetic pieces had much more satisfying and thought-provoking insights to offer.
Germaine Greer generally leaves the reader feeling instructed and/or admonished. Kate Holden reminded us of our common vulnerability and humanity, and gave us different, and often inspiring, new ways of seeing this city and our world. Saturday morning hasn't been the same since she left.
Vivienne Player, Beaumaris