Julie Szego’s excellent article on the latest legal case against a practitioner of gender-affirming care (“‘Devastated’ woman’s legal action over gender transition”, 24/8) quotes Dr Cass’s observation of the UK gender services, that doctors felt “pressured to adopt an unquestioning approach” in dealing with patients who believed themselves to be transgender.
That pressure is even more intense in Victoria, where legislation labels any attempt to help young people accept the sex they were “assigned at birth” (ie, their actual biological sex) as a suppression or conversion practice.
In 2010, the year Jay Langadinos was referred for treatment, only seven children were referred to paediatric gender services in Victoria. Last year, it was over 800. How many lawsuits should we be expecting by 2030?
Emma Baillie, Alphington
Reasonable debate on trans issues have been prevented for too long. It is not transphobic to question the overly rapid affirmation of a very young person’s life-altering decisions. De-transitioners are attacked for speaking up, adding to their trauma. This stifles a clear perspective on what is really happening.
Chris Sitka, Northcote
Too many agendas
Like with many other mental health-related issues, the real problem surrounding gender transitioning that is later regretted is not a lack of funding, lack of services or overcrowded hospitals. At the core are the problematic attitudes and beliefs of individuals who are slaves to their own agenda rather than to the wellbeing of the individual(s) concerned.
In the current climate, clinicians or health workers questioning of the “gender affirming approach” bump up hard against a “wall of positivity”. They are shut down, labelled transphobic and, in the worst cases, what follows is ostracisation, public shaming and loss of employment.
We thank Langadinos for her courage in sharing her experience with us and wish her well in the no doubt harrowing and protracted legal process she is about to endure.
Duncan Cameron, community member of Mental Health Tribunal, Seddon
Tough call to make on tax
Ross Gittins is right (“Treasurer’s debt defying acts”, 24/8): Jim Chalmers is understandably reluctant to jeopardise his party’s reputation in keeping its word, but he needs to reconsider the tax cuts to high-income earners. Third-stage cuts will cost Australian taxpayers $184 billion over the next 10 years and cannot be justified in a grossly overstretched budget. Broken promises are an anathema to the ALP but virtuosity has its limits, and a treasurer who is seeking income equity should be prepared to wear the opprobrium of the wealthy minority.
Bryan Long, Balwyn
MPs have much to gain
Like Ross Gittins, I am not in favour of the stage three tax cuts. There is no logic in giving money to rich people when Australia has a huge debt and tremendous social inequality. However, I propose the reason for the ALP’s support is because every MP will receive a $9075 tax cut – as calculated by the Australia Institute. In essence, there is a conflict of interest.
Di Cousens, Upwey
Ross Gittins refers to the massive challenge facing Treasurer Chalmers in reducing the budget deficit and debt but dismisses the idea of increasing taxation of multinational companies. But as Tim Buckley argued (Comment, 22/8), reform of Australia’s corporate taxation and royalty regime would yield $322 billion in federal and state taxes over the next 10 years. Not to be sneezed at.
Buckley points out that the majority of fossil fuel multinationals exporting Australia’s finite natural resources “paid precisely zero corporate tax in the last seven years that Australian Taxation Office data is available, 2014-20, on a collective $228 billion of revenues”. It is also time to cease the ridiculous rebate on diesel fuel excise that is enjoyed by mining companies for off-road use, which deprives the federal budget of $11 billion per annum.
Andrew Trembath, Blackburn
One way to boost wages
The union’s use of industrial action has almost been legislated out of existence, which is likely a major reason profits have been rising while real wages have been falling. So the way to increase real wages and boost the economy is clear.
John Groom, Bentleigh
Pot shots at Morrison
When Anthony Albanese was sworn in as prime minister, we were assured the new spirit of politics would be one of inclusiveness and compassion, and there would be a more respectful tone of debate. It is now somewhat arduous to see the relentless pursuit of Scott Morrison for decisions that, while perhaps made in haste, were not illegal, did not financially benefit him, and were temporary according to the unique season at hand.
Thirty months ago, we were bombarded with vision of mass burial plots in New York, riots in India for oxygen bottles, and Chinese citizens in welded-shut apartments. Boris Johnson almost died from COVID-19. This was uncharted territory.
It is easy to be a hindsight hero but for what it’s worth, I am more concerned about the draconian and destructive measures that were implemented in Victoria.
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn
Open minds needed
Does Chris Uhlmann really want a warts-and-all COVID-19 inquiry (“Future generations deserve to know pandemic facts”, 24/8) or does he want a pandemic inquiry which confirms his existing biases? Uhlmann conveniently ignored why the hard lockdowns occurred – because Australia’s hospital infrastructures could not cope with the growing number of people needing care. The aged care sector suffered disproportionate deaths, young people had the potential to infect their grandparents and elderly neighbours, therefore getting caught up in the lockdowns while less likely to die themselves.
Leon Zembekis, Reservoir
Interrogate the costs
Thanks to Chris Uhlmann for his most recent column. I am a 28-year-old Victorian who lost two years of work and was forced to move interstate entirely because of the behaviour of our state government. I have little hope for my future and even less trust in the fabric of our society. I hope Uhlmann’s call for a country-wide royal commission into the pandemic is honoured.
Remy Chadwick, Wagga Wagga
Happy or not
Taking a line from former Speaker Tony Smith when dealing with Scott Morrison during question time, it doesn’t matter if the former prime minister “is happy” to be called to account (“Morrison stops short of taking part in inquiry”, 24/8). If the inquiry into his ministerial appointments is given power to compel witnesses, as it must, he will appear before it if he likes it or not.
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills
Powers too great
In Australia, prime ministers can take the country to war by simply consulting with the governor-general. No other consultation with parliament or anyone else is needed. Surely, this lack of accountability has consequences as serious as appointing oneself to secret ministries?
Julia Thornton, Surrey Hills
Give and take
As your correspondent notes, the Commonwealth Bank is partnering with CSIRO to reduce emissions in the residential sector. It makes sense when they have massive loan exposure in areas increasingly exposed to extreme weather events.
However, there’s another side to the story. The International Energy Agency has indicated we cannot proceed with any new fossil-fuel developments if we want to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis. Despite this, the Commonwealth Bank lends billions to support new fossil-fuel developments across Australia.
Peter Cook, Essendon
Cancer words can hurt
The language journalists use around a cancer diagnosis can be unhelpful and insensitive. In particular, “battle language” is problematic. When my father and brother died with serious brain cancers, they did not “lose”, they “lived” every day. Yes, it was a complex journey – a dance between treatments and undifferentiated cell growth.
The warfare language of “Farnham’s fight. Music legend battles cancer” (The Age, 24/8) is not appropriate or helpful. It doesn’t take much energy to change the language; it certainly takes sensitivity, intelligence and specific education.
Catherine Bearsley, Mt Waverley
New nouns not needed
Sports reporting has forced us to live with the “intercept”, reality TV has made a “reveal” common usage; the Greens have recently sent me an “invite” and my GP clinic talks to me about a “consult”. But now I read in a story about Morrison’s power grab (The Age, 23/8) about ministerial “appoints”. None of these newly minted nouns adds to the language; there are already well-known and acceptable nouns to do the work. Such coinage might be an attempt to appear up-to-date, but the effect is to appear semi-literate.
Steve Halliwell, North Fitzroy
Hard work needed
Danny Corcoran, James Hird’s former lieutenant says Hird would be a good fit as next Essendon coach (Sport, 24/8), observing that at Windy Hill “they do love their own” while ignoring that Sheedy came from Richmond. Essendon needs five years at least of simple selfless teamwork off the field before sustained good happens on it.
Greg Malcher, Hepburn
I loved Sue Hewitt’s article about keeping warm with Cara (“Little Cara, my canine hot water bottle”, 23/8). I work as a remote-area nurse and when it’s cold out bush, my dog, Bella, always sleeps in my bed with me. It’s a great sense of security and comfort to cuddle up with my best friend.
Maree David, Wujal Wujal, Qld
And another thing
Legal does not necessarily mean moral or honourable.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick
At least Morrison upholds the time-honoured Canberra tradition of offering Clayton’s apologies.
Bernd Rieve, Brighton
As the famous saying goes, nearly all men can stand adversity but if you want to test a man’s character give him power.
Rob Wallace, Red Hill South
Australians tend to turn sympathetic to a man or woman being kicked when they are down.
Peter Randles, Pascoe Vale South
On the one hand we have a shortage of highly valued and under paid teachers (“Kinders face shortage of teachers”, 24/8). On the other an excess of overvalued and overpaid politicians.
Brian Kidd, Mt Waverley
Of course there was a reaction against Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin enjoying herself during her time off. She is young, attractive and in a position of power – all threatening to the conservative establishment.
Marie Nash, Balwyn
I wish we had politicians with the joie de vivre of Marin. How perfect would it be if they allowed that to infect their policy making.
Sam Bando, St Kilda East
If reflecting on Australia’s most devastating biological invasion (“How 24 English rabbits took over Australia”, 24/8) I would have thought the 1400 English convicts and their jailers aboard the First Fleet would hold that title.
John Mosig, Kew
It’s not only those pesky rabbits that were out of control. First there was only Adam and Eve (allegedly) and look at us now.
Myra Fisher, Brighton East
So the Murdochs (“Lachlan Murdoch sues Crikey”, 24/8) will have to show Crikey’s article caused serious harm to their reputation? Interesting.
Peter McGill, Lancefield