LETTERS 13.7.13

20. 787LETTERSFishy business
YOU highlight an important debate in “Foie gras faux pas” (Voice, July 6, 2013).
However, I wonder how many readers are also aware that a significant number of restaurants in our local area continue to serve shark fin products, particularly shark fin soup.
I don’t make a habit of eating in restaurants which glorify the practice but I know for one that in February this year it was proudly served by the Dragon Palace on Francis Street, Northbridge.
A brief look on the internet would suggest that this continues to be common practice and at a time where protection of our marine life is particularly topical: Australia is currently involved in oral hearings, having filed suit against Japan in the International Court of Justice with regard to whaling.
Shark finning bans apply in most Australian State and Territorial waters and while these restaurants most likely source from outside of these restricted areas, the Australian bans and our government’s objections to whaling reflect national sentiment.
As the RSPCA put it on its website “the popularity of shark fin soup has soared and the effect on wild shark populations has been disastrous”. Perhaps it is time to throw the overfed geese in amongst the sharks when we think about being ‘what we eat’ and ask ourselves, do we want to be catered for by people who treat our food sources with such disrespect?
Mark Hutchison
Palmerston St, Perth

Profit needed for rainy day
IN a June 26 article in The Record—a Catholic newspaper—Nigel Hayward wrote; “The pursuit of profits in the public utilities sector, where ‘competition’ is viewed as being beneficial to all, has meant that the family is increasingly viewed in purely economic terms, valued only as a power of consumption or source of labour.”
“Pursuit of profits in the public utilities” means that some governments seek to take money away from them.  Believe it or not, in a time of increasing economic stress, the WA government recently wanted the State Government Insurance Office to pay a dividend to Treasury.  A parliamentary or some such delay meant the money could not be transferred by the end of the financial year to help reduce what will be a huge deficit.
Anyone who remembers the strain on the huge insurance brokers Lloyds of London some years ago, knows in his/her heart that if an insurance firm makes a profit, it must be kept; most going into banks or similar, and a smaller portion going into gilt-edged investments.
Australians all ought to still have in their minds that parts of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales were flooded twice in a short time, resulting in huge payouts by insurance companies and governments. The disastrous bushfires in various states have also cost insurers dearly.
There is no excuse for the LibNat government to take money off the SGIO. Not ever. And certainly not when the Cabinet is wasting millions on digging up the Esplanade, sinking the railway, selling land at Burswood for a $30 million discount, financing new football ovals for millionaire football players, and loading ratepayers with amazing increases in payments to local government mayors and councillors.
John C. Massam
Cobine Way, Greenwood
Ed’s note: This letter has been edited for length.

Keep out of the toll lane
THE proposal for a toll road in Perth is in the news. I do hold out a hope that westerners are of sterner stuff and will not allow this nonsense, especially if a toll road is to be sans toll booths.
It is not as though WA has not been raking in enough revenue from the miners to have the funds to manage a budget for road improvement.
Of course, having the money and being able to manage it are entirely two different  matters as we see with toll roads in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Polls indicate westerners are indeed of sterner stuff with about 60 per cent thinking the government should fund infrastructure.
There are also no toll roads in Tasmania and SA. The territories round out those resisting allowing these operators to get a foot in the door, where you may need to make an appointment to use a road or give them access to your bank account.
Please be careful what you wish for.
Barry Powell

Hyding to nothing
“HYDE haunts Perth” (Voice, July 6, 2013) is in a way reassuring.It reminds us that only history haunts.
Can we now trust that the immediate former MP for Perth has exhausted means of worming his way into the Voice?
As for betting on it – steer clear.
Aaron Tofler
Murray St, Perth

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