Letters to the editor May 22 2017

HEAVEN SENT: A storm front gathering from Hill 60 by Michael St John. Send your pictures to letters@illawarramercury.com.au or post to our Facebook page.

HEAVEN SENT: A storm front gathering from Hill 60 by Michael St John. Send your pictures to letters@illawarramercury.com.au or post to our Facebook page.

GAMBLING WITH KIDS

The piece in last Saturday’s Illawarra Mercury “Victorian research on pokies centred on Illawarra children” drew plenty of conclusions about the impact gaming machines have on young people.

Unfortunately, they can’t back up any of these claims.

The suggestion that children are “being seduced by the ‘winning sounds’ and ‘flashing lights’ of the pokies” is akin to saying that children who walk past a hotel bar on their way to the bistro might feel compelled to drink alcohol because they’ve been exposed to people having a good time while enjoying a few beers.

The “study” lacks credibility. For a start, it is based on the responses of 45 children aged 6 to 16.  Hardly a solid sample. The fact some of these 45 children were sourced via a post on the author’s Facebook page with the promise of a $30 gift voucher for their parents raises more questions.

It’s worth noting that the questions asked of the children are not listed in the report, making it very difficult to draw any worthwhile conclusions.

It seems the authors of the report were more intent on generating sensational newspaper headlines than a rigorous piece of academic research.

ClubsNSW, on the other hand, is interested in the facts. We have provided a donation to the University of Sydney to conduct research into responsible gambling, including examining what forms of gambling education work best. This new material will be tested with club patrons during Responsible Gambling Awareness Week.

Furthermore, our ClubSAFE (responsible gambling management program) Ambassador Nathan Hindmarsh has spent the past three years visiting schools across the state, sharing his own experience with problem gambling, identifying the warning signs of unhealthy gambling – and letting students know where they can get help. To date, approximately 10,000 students have heard Nathan’s message.

The report is right about one thing: “children often find gambling a difficult concept to talk about”. That’s because most children know very little about the subject. It is not front of mind for them. Children are faced with a myriad of societal choices as they grow up, surrounding everything from alcohol to gambling and from sexual activity to safe driving.

As a society, it is our job to give them the information they need to make the right choices. Education is the key. Generating cheap headlines to justify a research grant does nothing to educate children about the potential for gambling harm.

Anthony Ball, ClubsNSW CEO, Sydney

Labor hides the truth

We all know what the first victim of war is.  The truth. Recently sighted in the Ulladulla area was a mobile billboard adorned with the “Protect Penalty Rates” campaign - sponsored by the SDA.

Firstly - lets just remember that it was Bill Shortens’ Fair Work Commission inquiry that instigated the cuts (that’s right - NOT Liberal - but Labor instigated cuts - another convenient lie by Labor). Secondly - the SDA has a VERY short memory in relation to penalty rate cuts.

As recently as 2016 the SDA cut the wages of 250,000 workers to the tune of $300 million dollars. These deals were done with the agreement of employers, on the condition they sign up their workers to the SDA. They sold out 250,000 workers for $10 dollars a week in union fees.

Coles workers, 77,000 staff, pay cuts of $3500 p/a. Woolworths workers 90,000 staff. No weekend or after hours penalties costing each worker around $1000. McDonalds workers: pay cuts as low as $10 per hour and between $2000 and $6000 a year and worse off.

Labor Candidate for Gilmore, Fiona Boyd-Phillips, claims she stands up for workers rights. What about these workers Fiona? 

Grant Schultz, Milton

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