Views of decades ago
The debate and divide around gay marriage shows how far behind many in politics are and who controls them. The writings of Andrew Bolt take us back to the ’60s and ’70s and the Bob Santamaria point of view.
Maybe Mr Bolt and the few religious MPs should reform the DLP and pander to the Catholic church.
Stuart Davie, Corowa
Rural road funding fails
Since New Year’s Day, 87 lives have been lost on Victoria’s country roads. Our rural road networks are crumbling and urgently need an immediate funding injection to improve safety.
Instead, Daniel Andrews has slashed the regional roads budget by more than $360 million since coming to office in 2014.
Every time I speak to regional councils about their concerns, the return of the former Liberal-National government’s Country Roads and Bridges Program tops their wish lists. A recent report by the Municipal Association of Victoria found regional councils are struggling to maintain – let alone upgrade – their roads. The Victorian Auditor-General also recently reported deterioration of Victoria’s country road network poses a “growing risk to public safety”.
The experts have spoken but the Andrews Labor Government is failing to act.
Peter Walsh, Leader of the Nationals and member for Murray Plains
Trial is inherently flawed
The federal government's proposal to tackle illicit drug use through a drug-testing trial and changes to welfare activity requirements will have major consequences for people battling drug and alcohol addiction.
Changes being proposed will force around 5000 Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients to undergo drug testing and will subject them to a variety of restrictions if they test positive.
Drug and alcohol addiction is a serious health problem and there is absolutely no evidence to show drug testing trials will work. The experience of countries like the US and New Zealand show that drug testing has a poor record in modifying drug use.
In its submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee’s inquiry into Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians says the design of the government’s proposed drug testing trial is inherently flawed.
It’s simply not feasible that a program of this nature can operate effectively across Australia, due to the lack of accessible pathology and treatment services available. The trial’s design is skewed and unrepresentative. The government wants to trial the testing in sites where services are already available so it won’t inform any national program nor will it add to a meaningful evidence base of how drug testing works.
The RACP has serious concerns about other amendments proposed in the Bill that will remove drug and alcohol dependency as a legitimate reason for jobseekers to not meet participation requirements.
This measure will see the government essentially say to people who are facing extremely complex drug and alcohol addiction, “If you miss a job interview perhaps you are withdrawing or you are having a relapse, we are taking away your support”. In reality, it is applying a blunt instrument to a very complex problem. It won’t help these people and it won’t motivate them to seek treatment.
More must be done to help people in accessing treatment and support. Doctors see the enormous damage caused by drug and alcohol addiction. We know that the majority of these patients are suffering from other issues, for example, trauma, domestic violence, mental health issues or homelessness. These measures don’t address those underlying problems. Taking payments away from these people will only cause even greater hardship.