Bendigo Advertiser letters to the editor

Poker machine misunderstanding

Mr Sadler (Stop the populist rhetoric 13th May) has hit back on the pokies debate by labeling those who challenged his views as Green hornets who are "attempting to silence my right to question their policy" and also derides "their attempts to belittle me".

On the first point one has to question how a newspaper letter can silence (clearly it failed), and the second point would be a fairer description of his approach to the respondents to his previous letter.

The Greens are amongst a wide range of groups and members of the public who are concerned about the damage caused by the widespread of pokies in our community and would like to limit their numbers and to limit the harm they cause.

The first principle on the Gambling Policy on the Greens website is "People are entitled to choose to gamble" (surely before writing such a letter Mr Sadler could have spared 5 minutes to check that out).

It then goes on to list the sort of problems unfettered pokies proliferation can cause and some measures the Greens would be looking at to ameliorate damage. I commend it to anyone interested in the topic - but particularly Mr Sadler.

Mr Sadler goes on to attempt to verbal the Greens by asserting that revenue lost by reducing pokies will be by "taxing all voters in recognition for allowing the government to take control of their lives".

Skipping past his strange assertion that it constitutes government control, it indicates a complete misunderstanding of the ways revenue can be managed by a responsible government.

The right to act independently, think for yourself and take responsibility for your own actions is a fundamental fundamental bedrock of our society which Mr Sadler, I and the vast majority of the Advertiser's readers would defend, but there are responsibilities.

Helping those who are vulnerable to, and become addicted to pokies, is one responsibility I feel.

Knowing that our government is profiting from that addiction doesn't sit comfortably with me, even though it may reduce the burden on my hip pocket.

Bruce Rivendell, Bendigo

Junior sport entry fees anger grandparent

As a grandparent of three Junior football academy players I think it is disgusting that parents and grandparents who have travelled for over an hour to get to Rochester for their carnival have then to pay $10 per person to watch their own child play junior football.  I would like to know where this money goes as Rochester (Goulburn Murray) seems to be  the only place who charge to get into these junior carnivals.

Patricia Hall, Eaglehawk

Low paid and exploited

It is hardly surprising that it is so hard to find Australians willing to work in the horticultural industry. 

Exploitation is rife. With growers being squeezed on price by the large supermarket chains, there is incentive to pay illegally low wages. 

People are expected to work long hours for as little as $4an hour, cash in hand.

People who come here on temporary visas are an easy target, because the government has granted employers the power over whether or not such migrants can stay.

The chance is low of an employer getting caught and penalties are light for exploiting people on visas with work rights.

Meanwhile, ethical employers find it hard to compete.

Exploitation in this industry can only be stamped out by empowering workers to be able to defend their legal rights, increasing resources to relevant law enforcement bodies and ensure growers get a decent price for their produce.

Mark Zirnsak, social justice spokesman, Uniting Church

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