On the election

Dean Ellis writes: Re. “It’s a ghost election but no-one’s spooked yet” (yesterday). Comrade Rundle complains the election is boring, but I beg to differ. This is by far and away the most interesting election since, well, February ‘83 when Burkey got elected in WA. I say so because it’s infinitely amusing to watch the slow, steady but sure transformation in the language and looks of Turnbull & co into that of an opposition. The nightly news broadcasts are a joy; we see the Liberals playing catch up on Labor policy announcements where they are left flat footed and unsure reacting to Labor manoeuvres rather than expounding their own ideas. It’s like watching an act where comedy comes from a comedian trying to convince an audience of a complex argument but makes such a jumbled hash of the task that the audience becomes bamboozled at what should be a simple narrative. But, that is of course the joke and here the joke’s on the Libs. Bored? Me? No way! As the wise sage once said: “when too much politics is barely enough”.

On suicide rates

Lorraine Yudaeff writes: Re. “Are we succeeding in curbing suicide?” (yesterday). Not wanting to politicise a serious subject, but more research needs to be done into why suicide rates increase significantly when conservatives are in power. This increase has been found in Australia and the UK, and has been replicated for NSW by Sydney University’s School of Public Health. In records over the past century, male suicides are 17% more likely and female suicides 40% more likely when right wing governments are in power; the increases are highest when the LNP is in power at both state & federal levels. These results have been corrected for other potential causative factors, like economic slumps and war. Educated guesses as to the possible motivations simply aren’t good enough.

Got milk?

Bruce Hurst writes: Re. “Words are hard” (yesterday). I read with great interest your tip regarding “Coles Brand Fresh” milk. The topic of reconstituted milk being branded as “fresh” has a long history in our family. My father, now in his mid 70’s, had a long, proud history working in warehousing and distribution. Towards the end of his career, he worked for a large dairy distributor in the inhospitable wastelands in Melbourne’s southern suburbs. Dad has maintained for about a decade now that the “fresh” milk we buy in supermarkets is reconstituted, and that the only milk that is not reconstituted is of the long life UHT variety.

Over the years, we have dismissed his milk theory as yet another confected conspiracy from a crazy old man. We filed it alongside his other crackpot theories including, that in 50 years Muslims will have assumed a cultural takeover of white Australia, that broccoli was sent by the Italians to poison us all, and that Steven Morris is Richmond FC’s best player.  Dad has steadfastly stuck to his beliefs about milk over the years and has accumulated an impressive stockpile of UHT milk that he keeps in his wardrobe. Our standard response has generally been that surely wholesalers can’t label the milk as “fresh” if it isn’t. It appears that they actually can.

When considered in light of recent media, including today’s tip, about “fresh” milk, it appears that we all might owe dad an apology. Despite Coles’ stating that their milk is not reconstituted, there is a possibility that it really is. If Coles aren’t selling reconstituted milk as “fresh”, then it seems likely that somebody else is.

Peter Fray

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