On Fairfax-Macquarie job losses

Michael Frazer writes: Re. “Magic jobs vanish, but hey presto, MEAA nowhere to be seen” (yesterday) Staff at Magic 1278 in Melbourne, mostly casuals, or “semi-employees”, ie permanent casuals had no interest in joining any union, even the MEAA, which is the remnant of the old AJA, the journalists’ union.

Why would radio announcers on a music station join a union? The answer is: they didn’t.So why would MEAA act for sacked people who are not members? The answer is; the MEAA didn’t and it did the right thing.

The MEAA just can’t go acting willy nilly on behalf of sacked people who are not its members. Simple as that.

I feel for the sacked people at magic 1278. Some of them I know personally but they don’t have a leg to stand on, MEAA or no MEAA.

The bottom line is that music stations like Magic and its equivalent in Sydney or Brisbane or elsewhere can be run out of one central studio in any place in the world, provided the announcer (singular) can give the time, the weather, and announce the next music to be played. “Three in a row, here we go”.

As unfortunate as these facts are, they are the facts about commercial radio (music) stations, especially on AM radio.

Richard Barlow writes: I am not sure why the MEAA have to take the heat for decisions being made by Fairfax and its employees. If you want to lay blame then try Fairfax, who are getting rid of their employees, and the employees, who overwhelmingly chose not to join their union.

On anti-vaxxers

Jason Wilson writes:  Re. “Anti-vaxxers are free riders, not a persecuted minority” (Tuesday). Yesterday, in a lazy swipe, Bernard Keane cited my latest Guardian column to imply that I was effectively a Labor stooge. It was an odd thing to write, not least because in the article he mentioned, I directly criticized the ALP for falling in behind the Coalition’s cynical move to penalize anti-vaxxers. Like Keane, I would prefer everyone to be vaccinated. But like leading experts in the field — such as Professor David Isaacs and Associate Professor Julie Leask — I think that withholding benefits from those who will not vaccinate their children is likely to be counterproductive.

I take my cues from the evidence and the experts; Keane takes his from his obsessions, which by now are as boring as they are self-contradictory. When he’s not railing against the public health lobby for its campaigns on alcohol and junk food, this self-proclaimed libertarian is advocating punitive financial measures against home birth parents and anti-vaxxers. When a writer’s idiosyncrasies have been indulged for so long, it’s puzzling to see them given even more space for their tantrums. On the other hand, watching the author of a supercilious book on the decline of public reason throwing hissy fits on Twitter when they disagree with something is pretty good fun.

At this stage it’s probably too much to hope that Bernard Keane might one day grow up. Oh well. There are plenty of writers and outlets capable of generating informed public debate. We can safely leave Crikey’s crank to go on yelling at clouds.