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Of all the hackles-rising topics that Crikey covered yesterday, two seemed to stand out among readers. The first was the Liberal Party’s problem with “merit” — something it seems to care about deeply (and publicly) but of which it seems strangely bereft in many of its candidates. The second was the NSW government’s refusal to establish pill-testing at music festivals; a choice many readers concluded was leading to deaths among young people. 

On the Coalition’s merit problem

Andrew Jagels writes: I must offer you Queensland’s own Andrew Laming, for well known for stunts such as taking engine oil into parliament, staining the leather and gaining the privilege of being one of the very few Coalition MPs ejected by Bronwyn Bishop. His latest gem is to describe homelessness as an excuse for not seeking a job. Unfortunately his 8% margin and the concentration of retirees means that even the coming red wave may not be enough to dislodge him, although three members of the Bowman constituency’s LNP FEC were ejected for daring to describe him as an electoral liability! 14 years and still on the backbench. Maybe not so much merit after all.

Wayne Cusick writes: If I misappropriated $38,000 from my employer, I doubt I could just pay it back, keep my job and get a promotion.

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gerryinoz writes: What about Mr Merit himself, Morrison? His opponent in the pre-selection for Cook flogged him by 80 odd votes to eight. However, after a hatchet job by Newscorp journalists on his opponent, lo and behold Morrison was in. Miracles occur if you pray for them.

On the lack of festival pill testing

Vasco writes: The continuing wilful ignorance of people like Gladys Berejiklian and Troy Grant and their pig headed refusal to acknowledge the expertise of our world class public health professionals is dire. This is a public health matter; refusing to make policy and establish programs based on that means more of our young people dying and more grieving families and friends. Shame on those responsible.

Dog’s Breakfast writes: The politicians have a means to prevent death but do nothing about it. It’s called a sin of omission, not helping someone you have the power to help, knowing they are putting themselves in harm’s way.

Ruv Draba writes: People taking unregulated pharmaceuticals for any purpose — medical or recreational — put themselves at risk. Young people are particularly exposed because of their inexperience, sense of invulnerability and susceptibility to adventuresome urges. But other vulnerable groups include desperate sufferers of acute diseases, impoverished sufferers of chronic diseases and anyone desperate enough or ill-informed enough to buy off-brand pharmaceuticals over the internet. I believe that if governments got out of the way, key community groups would substantially improve outcomes for the people they care for.

Dougz writes: I don’t think its far-fetched to suggest the politicians are killing these kids; collectively we have created a situation where the kids have no tools to distinguish between drugs that are probably harmful, and drugs that are probably deadly. We don’t have to do that, but we do. Alcohol is doing more harm, even though we test it for impurities, so what’s the reasoning not to save a few young lives at dance parties when it could be so easily achieved?

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Peter Fray
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