Letters to the editor | May 18, 2018

Call for alcohol register

AS THE former owner of the Commonwealth Hotel buildings in St Arnaud and a long-time crisis accommodation provider in Melbourne, I am calling for state and federal governments to require doctors to contribute to a register.

This register would inform police of people who should be on an alcohol ban list, so as to direct hotels and bottle shops to restrict, if not instruct, a total ban on the sale of alcohol to chronic alcoholics.  

The system would work in a similar manner, which currently works with the police ban list of problem drinkers which hoteliers cannot serve in a bar. 

I've seen too many alcoholics unable to give up their addictions due to the easy availability at bottle shops. It's time alcoholic sales were restricted from sale to those who it is doing so much harm. If this measure is deemed too hard for MPs to achieve, then the cashless system of welfare payments should be rolled out to cover all Australians – not just in Indigenous communities. This would help poker machine addicts, too. 

It is also already well known that when anyone drinks and drives, there is an increased risk of accidents. 

When going to an auction of a house, you don't take a bid from a drunk to be serious enough to be an enforceable contract to buy a house – so why do we still allow gambling while drinking alcohol in our society? 

Politicians already know that alcohol impairs judgment to make reasoned decisions – yet they don't apply the law in relation to what the beer and spirits corporations sell.

In doing so, they are working against the health and financial well-being of the nation. 

Gilbert Boffa, Yarra Glen

Public service is costly

I HAVE voted against Labor legislation that aims to create more layers of public service administration and public servants.

The Victorian budget, released this month, has shown that the public service has bloated enormously under the Andrews Government.

Under Labor, the Public Sector wage bill has increased by nearly 40 per cent, jumping by more than $7 billion since 2015. Public servants’ wages will cost taxpayers nearly $26 billion in 2018-19.

Labor’s legislation looks to make Service Victoria a new whole-of-government service delivery agency for the state and provide regulations around identity verification.

All of this is unnecessary and could be achieved in simpler ways without creating more administration and administrators. Even Labor knows it is flawed.

This is not about public service delivery – this is about increasing the public service, and by extension, union membership which ultimately feeds funds back into the Labor Party.

Service Victoria is already floundering due to lack of leadership and direction – and I don’t know of anyone who thinks dealing with Victorian Government agencies is any easier in recent years.

The creation of a GovHub in Ballarat does away with the Coalition plan to relocate VicRoads to Ballarat. Instead, the Andrews Government will create another level of administration and bureaucracy within VicRoads, called Regional Roads Victoria, and move only that part to Ballarat.

This is Labor 101 – creating layers of bureaucracy when none is needed – and it all has to be paid for.

Let’s just create a little bit more bureaucracy, a little bit more administration and a little bit more cost to the taxpayer by creating another authority to do what? No-one knows.

It is only about playing politics and brinkmanship to appease the Member for Western Victoria James Purcell whose vote the government will be looking for if the Fire Services Bill returns to the Parliament.

Simon Ramsay, Member for Western Victoria 

The future of meat

LAST year, the dairy industry attempted to ban the use of the word "milk" for plant-based drinks like soy and almond milk.

We pointed out that, if accuracy is their goal, their bottles should be labelled "a mammary secretion of animals for the nourishment of their young".

Now, the Cattle Council wants to ban the word "meat" from vegan products that look like animal flesh but are clean, cruelty-free and better for our health.

They want the law changed to define meat as "coming from the flesh of a slaughtered animal".

We do hope they’ll print that on every package – they’ll will win our campaign for us in the first week.

These petulant reactions are indications of how threatened these industries feel.

Suggesting that people do not know that vegan sausages, burgers and schnitzels are plant-based and cruelty-free is absurd – those are the reasons why these products are taking the market by storm.

Very soon, clean meat grown from stem cells in the laboratory under sterile conditions and without any animals being tormented and slaughtered will be widely available.

Except for the absence of bacteria coming from filthy feedlots and abattoirs, it will be identical in flavour and texture to meat from slaughtered animals.

Forward-thinkers like Bill Gates, who recently invested millions into clean meat, know that it is the "future of food".

Consumers are far smarter than the meat industry believes.

They know that regardless of what they’re called, vegan and clean meats are the humane and sustainable choice.

Desmond Bellamy, special projects co-ordinator, PETA Australia