tip off

Make all govt initiatives prove their worth

Crikey readers talk the dangers of marijuana, Australia’s scientific achievements and how else the Abbott government could cut costs.

Does the Cancer Council need our money?

Jim Marshall writes: Re. “Let them take taxis: what else the Audit Commission can flog off” (Thursday). How about it if the Commission of Audit were challenged to identify every subsidy to business enterprises and publicly give its judgement on whether it should be abolished; and if not, under what sunset conditions might it be continued.

This includes grants to the voluntary and non-profit sector — such as the Cancer Council.

Well done, Professor Bragg … if only we had a science minister

David Thackrah writes: Re. “Meet Sir Lawrence Bragg: the greatest Australian you’ve never heard of” (Friday). Australians, let us rejoice in our ability to invent and innovate and to achieve academic success for the nation and mankind worldwide.

The crystallography and the development of X-ray technology work done by William Lawrence Bragg and a cohort of PhD students in Australia and the UK is totally under-valued by our present society. Also bear in mind we Aussies had a hand in inventing the microwave, Wi-Fi and high-tech hearing devices.

There must be a ministry of science that permanently recognises these scientific contributions by Australia, and some form of reprise on Australia Day for these “cast-off” genius contributors to society.

All of this was won through brilliant academic application occasioning hard and very focused work and effort, not only by Lawrence Bragg and his father, but also the many students and scientific assistants who laboured for the cause of providing mankind with huge health and welfare benefits.

Hidden dangers of pot smoking

Gin Graham writes: Re. “Get Fact: is marijuana no more dangerous than alcohol?” (Thursday). David Ross has not mentioned that marijuana can ” double the risk” of schizophrenia in ” those that are vulnerable”, as per the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre.

I can understand it would be difficult to get statistics on how many people this has affected, and at what long-term cost to them.  Many of those statistics will be hidden in deaths and hospitalisations due to mental illness, rather than being directly attributed to marijuana.  But my opinion is that it should be included when you are judging the relative dangers. It may be a low proportional risk, but it is a high-consequence outcome.

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