LETTERS

Super mistake

Super mistake

to allow trawler

THE supertrawler Margiris represents the opposite of the kind of fishing needed for healthy oceans and healthy sustainable fisheries ("Supertrawler 'could still be banned"', The Age, 5/9). Joe Ludwig can use his powers as Fisheries Minister to stop supertrawlers destroying our fisheries: Section 91 of the Fisheries Management Act allows him to take action in "exceptional circumstances" such as this to ban supertrawlers from our waters. Environment Minister Tony Burke's proposed conditions do nothing to address the concerns of conservationists and recreational or commercial fishers about local over-exploitation of fish stocks.

The conditions allow up to 10 seals to be killed every day, and if more are killed, a simple "review" is triggered and the trawler is required to move 50 nautical miles. Trawlers can cover these distances in a few hours, and given marine wildlife such as seals, dolphins and turtles are highly mobile, this does nothing to protect them.

We need to produce better valued seafood that doesn't rely on EU subsidies. We need sustainable fisheries that can keep local fishermen employed for decades not a few seasons. We don't want bycatches of dolphins, seals, birds and unwanted fish.

Lindy Davies, Caulfield South

Detention lesson

I CAN relate to the asylum seekers denied clearance by ASIO ("Echoes of Kafka in trials of detention", The Saturday Age, 1/9). With the outbreak of World War II, German citizens living in Mandate-administered Palestine were interned by British authorities. In 1941, these Germans were deported to Australia. We were kept in an internment camp in Tatura, Victoria, until mid-1946. The last to be released gained their freedom in January 1948. At no stage was any credible evidence produced by the British or Australian authorities that we acted against the British or Australian interests. We had no opportunity to appeal against what was done to us. At the end of the war, the government had to decide what to do with us. It appointed a judicial commission headed by Justice Wilfrid Hutchins. He checked all the intelligence information available and interviewed every individual aged 21 and above.

His finding was: "Generally speaking, these are men of standing and peace. They pose no threat to the Commonwealth or its allies. There is no reason for further detention."

Those findings could have been reached in 1939 or any year thereafter had such a commission been established. Thus we were incarcerated for eight years for having done no wrong. The government was only too happy to accept us as migrants and grant us British subject status. Why can't we appoint a judge to perform similar character assessments? Why can't we learn from the past or don't we want to?

Eberhard Frank, Basket Range, SA

Of protests past

I WAS at Monash University the day Malcolm Fraser was held under siege. I can assure Gary Newman it is not a matter of conjecture that Mr Fraser was holed up in the basement toilets ("Once were campus warriors", The Age, 4/9). As I remember it, students got in via the door at the rear of the stage, which was unlocked, and flooded the stage. Mr Fraser and his entourage ran up the aisles and out of the theatre, followed by a mass of students, to the basement, where he disappeared. There was talk he was in the toilets, which were locked from the inside. I remember undoing the screws of the air vent at the base toilet door to gain entry by reaching up and opening it from the inside. On peering in I saw three security men in suits across the floor, one of whom rushed towards the door. I quickly pulled my arm back thinking it may get broken.

I was present because Mr Fraser and the Liberals had cut government school funding. I thought he had a nerve opening just one facility while he reduced education funding nationally.

Greg Oates, Huon Creek

Out of the ordinary

ONE has to remember that "Vitruvian Man" is an average figure ("Vitruvian Man used to settle stoush over blades of glory", The Age, 4/9), and there are plenty of us who don't fit the mould. I, for one, am 1.9 metres tall, but my wingspan is nearly 2 metres, while my legs are similarly over-long for my height. It seems to me that the best way to assess the leg-length of Alan Oliveira would be to refer to the length of his arms. What struck me about his running in the 200 metres was that in the final straight his legs were moving faster than those of Pistorius, so he probably deserved his win.

Peter Hepburn, Claremont, Tasmania

Unhealthy message

AT TUESDAY evening's Melbourne Spring Fashion Week designer series catwalk show at Melbourne Town Hall, I was shocked at the skinniness of all 33 models. None could have weighed more than 50 kilograms they looked like emaciated clones of each other. Most of the audience were young girls and women. I wondered about the silent message they were receiving that to look good, you need to look anorexic. My 22-year-old size-eight daughter commented afterwards: "Did you find that you felt a bit overweight after watching the models and even the girls in the audience?" I'm sure she had articulated what many may had been thinking. Until this unhealthy modelling culture changes, girls and women will continue to struggle with body-image issues.

Vicki Singleton, Upwey

Reject skinny image

LIKE Dannielle Miller ("The toxic message in Facebook teen health and fitness sites", Comment, 5/9), I too am privileged to work with teenage girls. Over my 25 years of teaching I have witnessed the relentless way the media targets young women into believing that to be thin is the pinnacle of beauty. The encouraging fact is that in many girls' schools, teachers of health and physical education continue to work endlessly towards developing programs that encourage girls to believe in their own worth and to develop a healthy lifestyle. Despite this, much of the good work is undermined by sites such as those on Facebook. Young girls are vulnerable and take steps towards "fitting in". I will be using Dannielle Miller's article for analysis with my students in English class. Possibly they will begin to reject the notion that thin is best.

Gemma DiBari, North Balwyn

Say no to data move

ATTORNEY-General Nicola Roxon claims mandatory data retention is required to effectively fight crime ("Roxon edges towards keeping online data for two years", The Age, 4/9). Except the very people being targeted (criminals and terrorists) are smart enough to avoid tracking, through anonymous networks.

In an era where every facet of society involves online communication, data retention represents the grim and Orwellian beginnings of a modern police state where privacy ceases to exist. The "Liberal" Party is disturbingly complicit. It shouts "No" to countless areas of government policy, yet its silence is deafening when a fundamentally liberal value is under attack. It is to its shame.

Mark Colautti, Glen Iris

Bridge the real gap

THERE is already a foot/cycle bridge across the Yarra River at Gipps Street ("Project bridges missing bike link", The Age, 4/9). The width of this bridge may not meet modern standards but it is no different to the foot/cycle bridge downstream of the river at Burnley Street. What is required at Gipps Street is a cycle ramp from the bridge, leaving the steps for pedestrians. This should not cost $4.2 million.

There is no foot/cycle path along the west bank (or east bank) of the river between the Gipps Street foot/cycle bridge and the Burnley Street foot/cycle bridge. Cyclists using the Capital City Trail to go to the CBD have to cross the river at Gipps Street and follow a circuitous route and rejoin the Capital City Trail at the Burnley Street foot/cycle bridge. The balance of the $4.2 million would be better spent building this missing link of the Capital City Trail on the west bank.

Sarath Dias, Kew

Planning off track

SO MELBOURNE'S "super" stops are helping to achieve superior travel times ("Tram 'super stops' improve traffic flow", The Age, 5/9). But really it is at the user's expense. Where once there was an easily accessible tram stop at every major intersection in the Melbourne CBD that had a tram route, the introduction of super stops has cut that number dramatically. Yes, the stops speed up commuting, but now any commuter who wants to catch a tram may have to walk for five minutes or more to get to a stop. It seems to be that the planners have worked out that the transport system would function so much better if there weren't any pesky commuters slowing it down.

Sam Bando, St Kilda East

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