A service, not a business

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A service, not a business

Your correspondent correctly says that the privatisation of public “human” services is doomed to failure (“This is bound to fail”, Letters, The Sunday Age, 30/5).

Profit, not service, is the private sector’s reason for existence. Even if there are some well-intentioned providers who genuinely set out to deliver good service, they inevitably find they can only compete with other providers if they trim their sails, so they will always be seeking to cut corners to remain viable.

With human services, the care and support functions are so crucial that they cannot simply disappear. Heaven help us if the “productivity reformers” quoted by Ross Gittins (“Reform of ‘human services’ sectors another example of magical thinking”, Business, 29/5) are let loose in this area.

We need to accept that some services will always depend on public subsidy to survive at the required standard: that’s still the most cost-effective use of our taxes.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale

Risky business
Closing Collingwood community garden (“(Green) thumbs down for garden closure”, The Age, 5/6) because of snakes and star pickets?

It’s a good thing no one does any gardening anywhere in rural Victoria. Defang all snakes now. Tie soft cushions around all star pickets. Cotton-woolling gone mad.
Mick Webster, Chiltern

Things have changed
Your correspondent seems to be comparing the Christmas NSW COVID outbreak with the current Victorian one (“Let’s follow NSW’s lead”, Letters, 4/6). Perhaps they didn’t see the medical information that the NSW northern beaches outbreak was the “UK strain”, but that the passenger who came in from South Australia and re-introduced COVID-19 to Victoria recently has the more virulent “Kappa strain”. Now I hear we have the even more concerning “Delta strain”.

However, if they are an epidemiologist, please write again and give us more advice on why we should cancel lockdown.
Chrissie Schubert, Windsor

On my radar now
ABC, thanks for pulling the Four Corners program on Scott Morrison and his alleged links to a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory movement.

I had no interest in QAnon, which I considered an American madness. But now I will keenly follow this thread.
Kishor Dabke, Mount Waverley

I was not surprised
When my husband and I landed in Launceston way back in January, we were heralded into an arrivals area that resembled a customs hall.

Complete with officials behind perspex screens, we felt as though we had travelled to an overseas country as they checked every person to ensure a valid Tassie travel permit was held. This was at a time when there were no active cases in Victoria.

We were not entirely surprised that there was no similar system in place on our return home two weeks later.
Paula Wales, Research

Teach them early
I agree with Nicole Precel (“The baby bind: Approach with caution”, Opinion, The Sunday Age, 30/5), that teaching consent cannot wait until adolescence, nor should it be solely about sexual relationships. Precel has started by protecting her young son from people who assume they have consent to touch babies.

For consent to be taught effectively, we need to see children as human beings, with feelings to be respected and voices to be heard.

Children and adolescents will be socialised when their behaviour is seen as the way they communicate. If managed with power and control, they will learn to exert power and control in relationships. That is a foundation for coercion rather than consent.

Thinking of your child’s behaviour as struggling with expectations they cannot yet meet is preferable to interpreting it as being manipulative and attention-seeking.

In addition, challenging behaviour can be used an opportunity to teach social emotional skills. This can in turn teach children empathy and respect. These are essential components learning about consent. We need to reassess how we treat children so they learn collaboration, empathy and respect.
Cathie Hutchinson, Mulgrave

Suspicions confirmed
The Prime Minister on Friday announced, after the meeting of national cabinet, that he and state and territory leaders were “leaning heavily” into the possibility of mandatory vaccinations for aged care workers.

I have always thought that certain members of the political class were leaners not lifters and he has now confirmed my suspicions.
Jack Morris, Kennington

An incomplete picture
Your correspondent’s argument about vaccine risk is incomplete (“For some of us, the health risk is very real”, Letters, 5/6).

In their scenario, only one person in 100,000 faces the possibility of any harm, overlooking the significant and real risk of many of the remaining 100,000 catching the potentially lethal virus if they haven’t been vaccinated.

I appreciate their concerns, which I understand are shared by many, but it is statistically very clear that the risk of catching the virus – and possibly spreading it to loved ones with serious consequences for them – is far higher than the remote chance of clots from the vaccine.

I urge them to discuss their concerns with their GP, and be guided by their professional knowledge.
Christine Harris, Mordialloc

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