Preventative health Peter Grigg writes: Re. "Dear preventative health wowsers: stop taking the piss" (November 19). Bernard Keane is copping some stick from the preventative health gargoyles. Maybe they have some points but I sure as hell don't want them homogenising life as we know it. Margaret Beavis GP has it all wrong in Friday's comments, when she decries the fact that alcohol is cheaper than bottled water. She has it arse about, it's just criminal that bottled water is more expensive than alcohol. David Hand writes: Margaret Beavis GP (comments, Friday) argues that preventative health saves money but I find her example is not clear enough. The 50:1 saved by avoiding cancer needs to be offset against the cost of whatever it is that eventually does get you or else you need immortality. I suspect Margaret's 50:1 savings come from comparing dying of cancer with not dying at all. It is clear that preventive health has enormous therapeutic benefits and that is where its power lies. It probably has a positive economic effect especially among the young where a type 2 diabetes epidemic would prevent many young people from contributing economically to society. But from a purely cost savings perspective, is cancer at 60 cheaper of more expensive than renal failure at 99? I have yet to hear any preventative health advocate deal with the subject in this way. Maybe drinking yourself to death at 75 is the cheapest way of all. I myself am interested in immortality. That's why I write to Crikey. My musings have the possibility of being read by someone 500 years from now. Well that's a form of immortality isn't it? GST John Kotsopoulos writes: David Thackrah writes (comments, Friday) "it remains a fact the GST was proposed by the Liberal government of the day". The implication is that John Howard achieved a mandate for the GST as a result of his win at the 1998 election. Yes Howard won the majority of seats and hence achieved government in 1998, but it remains a more relevant fact that Labor under Beazley won the popular vote, 50.98% to 49.02%, and gained a swing of 5% taking 19 seats from the Libs. Only a fluke Senate outcome and the complicity of the late and unlamented Democrats gave Howard the numbers to get the GST legislation passed. I am confident in saying that an even greater swing would have occurred in 1998 ensuring a certain Howard defeat if people had thought the GST was any real chance of getting up. As it was Howard could so easily have been a oncer as this bit from indicates:
"The ALP made the single biggest gain by an Opposition party following an election defeat. The swing was sufficient in all states to deliver government to the party, but the uneven nature of the swing denied Kim Beazley the extra few seats necessary to command a majority in the House."
The GST is an insidious, regressive and lazy tax which according to recent reports has boosted the black economy instead of containing it as was one of its chief attributes according to proponents. Needless to say offsetting tax cuts have long been dissipated, but worst of all compensating handouts to the housing sector have just boosted prices and smashed affordability. Any change to the level or scope of the GST is to be resisted at all costs (no pun intended). Religion and the royal commission Brett Gaskin writes: Michael Byrne (comments, Friday) writes "Mother Church lives history for the greater good, notwithstanding the deeds of some of her servants are too often not matching her message, and indeed betraying it". What a quaint way to excuse the good times the church has brought us -- highlights include the crusades, the inquisition, the "conversion" of indigenous populations, witch hunts, and several hundred (if not thousand) years of child s-xual abuse. We can also throw in being anti-science, bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, and generally any excuse to put the church before the good of mankind and especially womankind. While it is indeed unlikely, let's hope dearly there is indeed a hell. Keith Binns writes: If Matt Davis (comments, Friday) wants a real answer then, briefly, he was both. All four Gospels show clearly that they thought Jesus was the Son of God and that he thought so himself e.g. at his baptism, God speaks from heaven and says "This is my beloved son". But he was also a very naughty boy as he was in conflict with almost anyone with any sort of authority. His disciples took ages to understand who he was. His family thought he was nuts. His home town rejected him. The religious leaders of all ilks hated him because by claiming to be the son of God he made himself equal with God which was blasphemy. Driving the money changers out of the temple because they were exploiting the poor didn't make him very popular with the powers that be either. That Christianity is now largely associated with the Right and the Establishment shows clearly how far the churches have strayed form their actual roots. The Christianity mostly on public display now is a tiny remnant of the original.