LETTERS: 21.12.19

You’ve shamed every mother
I WAS absolutely appalled by The Speaker’s Corner “Mental health is in the mouths of babes” in last week’s Voice.
How could you publish such inflammatory material? Accusing parents who bottle feed their babies of contributing to “a pandemic of mental health problems” and then further linking that to domestic violence and mass shootings is outrageous and is not going to warm anyone to the author’s view that breast is best.
The author’s mini bio at the beginning of the article seems intent on giving her credibility for having such strong opinions.
This is clearly only one women’s opinion though, not backed by science.
An article from 2017, that described the same author spouting her views, at least balanced it with a position statement from the Australian Medical Association who wrote; “There must be a balance between promoting breastfeeding and supporting mothers who cannot or choose not to breastfeed”. 
The author appears happy to lean on science when it supports her views (breastfeeding benefits) but not when it is a contradiction (co-sleeping recommendations).
This article instead shames probably every mother in some way or another.
On top of formula feeding, she has demonised caesarians, epidurals, induced births, working mothers and even those who simply follow sudden infant death syndrome guidelines and avoid co-sleeping.
One sentence even refers to ‘families that break down’ and ‘bottle feed their babies’ in the same sentence as if they are related.
For context, I have exclusively breastfed two children until 12 months.
My parenting journey has encountered no major dramas but it is still a really tough gig and I hate to think of people in a more fragile state reading this article and feeling shame and guilt when they are trying to do the best for their children.
The fact that this article was not only published but spread across two pages disturbs me and I urge you to apply more scrutiny to such provocative and accusatory opinion pieces in the future.
Carly Hobbs

He’s a real bright spark
AMAZING; I read that ScoMo dreamed up a new tax for electric vehicles before they even hit the road.
Was it on the grounds they will not be paying fuel tax?
The rest of the world is subsidising EVs on the basis that we will all benefit from clean, breathable air, plus billions of dollars saved in health costs.
But wait, Sco Mo’s right – how can we replace the lost revenue for his precious surplus.
Easy, according to the International Monetary Fund which found global subsidies for fossil rose to $5.2 trillion dollars in 2017.
Subsidies in Australia are around $30 billion and increasing annually.
Green energy subsidies are less than half that – around $14 billion.
Get the feeling your being lied to?
The IMF report found that if fossil fuels had been priced appropriately, global carbon emissions would be reduced by 28 per cent.
Significantly, effective fossil fuel pricing would also lead to a decrease in air pollution. Guess you could say we’re paying them to poison us, and they keep putting up the cost.
So it seems logical that by reducing the subsidies for fossil fuel plus the obvious health savings maybe even ScoMo could start a program to install EV infrastructure for cleaner, healthier Australian cities.
John Paterson
White Gum Valley

Big is…?
The front page article “Developers Dream” (Perth Voice, December 14, 2019) underscores a discussion we need to have about whether or not we want a greater population locally, statewide or nationally.
The issues of having a greater population are not static with merely creating a better ambience within a defined area.
Sustainable Population Australia, a think tank on examining such issues, has recently produced a report called population growth and infrastructure in Australia.
This report highlights some important myths about rapidly growing a population.
Foremost is the fact that we will never be able to simply build our way out of the road congestion, lack of healthcare space, lack of green space and the like. We would always be playing catch-up.
Then there is the issue of whether or not we should be reinforcing our regional centres.
The lack of infrastructure within regional centres too, would become a problem, but the rush away from the country into the city over one single generation has left the regional centres with no ambience as well.
Some might say the city is selfish to think it could absorb whole swathes of people with no thought for growing our regional centres.
Increasing housing density also has the parallel problem of growing elitist vs not-so-well-off residential areas.
One day only the wealthy will have large backyards and the “poor” will be circumvented into pokey apartments that ultimately turn into ghettos. Care needs to be taken or another problem grows out of historical policy.
It’s good to have the discussion, but we should not rush headlong into the myth that increased population will solve all our problems.
I’m all for a vibrant city centre, but simple solutions rarely work and more discussion and analysis needs to take place before embarking on a population growth inspired remedy.
Colin Scott
Deague Ct, North Perth

I WAS shocked to read Ann McRae’s Speaker’s Corner article “Mental health is in the mouth of babes” (Voice, December 14, 2019).
Within the first two paragraphs, Ms McRae has referred to domestic violence as “episodes” and depression as “plain”, before curiously connecting Australia’s drought to breastfeeding.
Whilst I don’t doubt Ms McRae’s breastfeeding experience, both personally and professionally, her perspective insults legitimate mental health illnesses and bizarrely blames Australia’s ‘mental health problem’ on women.
Her argument only serves to further isolate women, rather than offering support and compassion that new mothers so desperately need.
This article fails to consider wider psychosocial contexts that influence a woman’s ability, and choice, to breastfeed.
What we need in the world right now is empathy and this piece was entirely devoid of it.

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