Yes, we should worry about fracking

Dr George Crisp writes: Re. “The case against fracking has not been made“. The continuing assertion by both industry representatives and governments that fracking is safe because there is no evidence (so far) of harm contradicts everything we know about public health. This absence of evidence is absolutely no cause for reassurance. We know that many of the chemicals used or produced are harmful, or untested, and we also know that there are clear pathways by which human exposure could occur. Therefore any uncertainty regarding that contamination or exposure increases, not diminishes concern. More worrying still, the regulators have no ambition to investigate or discover what exposure or adverse events are occurring or likely to occur. It is logical to conclude that this is because industry and or government is very sensitive to the potential findings.

How (not) to get a credit check

Peter Finnegan writes: Re. “Privacy con? Big Brother is now watching your credit card” (yesterday). You weren’t kidding when you said a credit check was difficult to get. Having a spotless record, but deciding to check that anyway, I applied online and gave them every detail they asked for: passport, Medicare, licence, how many beers I had last Saturday, etc, only to be told “we cannot verify your identity”.

Makes you wonder if this is their default position to deter the faint-hearted, or whether  their computer system is just a heap of crap.

Weatherill’s government plenty legitimate

Joe Boswell writes: Re. “Crikey says: Weatherill the premier they didn’t want” (yesterday). Your editorial claims “the people of South Australia — a large majority of whom voted Weatherill out — will feel cheated … Legitimacy will be Weatherill’s biggest challenge … ”

That is doubtless true, because the South Australians will relentlessly be told as much by vested interests, including the Liberals and their media pals, until Labor loses power, but does Crikey have to join in? At this point in the count Labor has roughly 35% of the votes, and the Liberals about 45%. Neither has a majority of the total votes or any claim to represent directly a majority of South Australians. If that is a necessary test, there should be no government, but in fact it is a great big furphy. The essence of the matter is that the electoral system is not a proportional system. It is therefore absurd to demand a proportional result, and it is plainly wrong to say that a government with a majority in Parliament is illegitimate. By definition it is legitimate. Are the SA Liberals campaigning for a proportional system? If not, they have no legitimate complaint —  just a dishonest tactic.

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey