Religion in schools:

Mark Edmonds writes: Re. “Religion in schools: why teachers, parents are powerless to stop” (Friday, item 4). Crikey intern Ben Westcott wrote:

“From the comments on Crikey’s story on Monday, it seems clear that parents are concerned.”

No Ben, it just means Crikey readers are concerned, but then, Crikey has a track record of intolerance of Christianity, so this comes as no real surprise.

Chris Fotinopoulos’ article was fascinating in its condemnation of a young girl who turned away from a life of adolescent alcohol abuse because she became a Christian. His and Ben’s disparagement of the apparently felonious practice of bribing children with lollies overlooks the habit of parents around the world (well, maybe not Crikey parents) in rewarding or encouraging children’s behaviour with benefits.

It might not be a sophisticated engagement strategy, but it’s not worth the disparagement it has attracted in this journal. For my part, I speak Indonesian today because 25 years ago the Indonesian teacher at my government high school introduced me to the joys of sate ayam and gado gado. No permission note requested or required.

Medicines Australia:

Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw writes:  Re. “Tips and rumours” (Friday, item 7). I’m happy to confirm that we are indeed currently preparing for the next wave of our ongoing public awareness campaign to promote the contribution the Australian medicines industry makes to the health and wealth of the nation.

I can also confirm that we are conducting some research to determine people’s attitudes to healthcare issues that affect them. For the record, there are no questions about signing petitions, attending rallies or advocating on behalf of the medicines industry: the research will explore ordinary consumer attitudes to health.

As to whether something is about to happen to the medicines industry in Australia? Nothing specific so far as I’m aware. This campaign is simply about reminding people that we’re a great Australian industry, researching, manufacturing, exporting and supplying the medicines and vaccines that improve the lives of millions of Australians.