The Guardian 15 June, 2005

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Letters to the Editor

"Call me Sol"

The American telecommunications guru ó call me Sol ó Solomon Trujillo, is to take over the position of Telstra CEO on July 1.

His "poverty" wage will give him a mere $8 million to turn up to work and who knows what other perks come with the job.

He was introduced to the Australian media by Don McGauchie who came to prominence in Australia when he supported the use of scabs to work on the Australian waterfront during the 1998 MUA dispute.

Sol is just the right boy to slash more Telstra jobs and make Telstra right for total privatisation and thatís what his appointment is all about.

There has been a long struggle against the privatisation but it is going to be difficult to stop now with Howard having a majority in the Senate.

But maybe one or two of the independents in the Senate can be persuaded to stand up for Australiaís national interest and principle if sufficient pressure is applied against what can only be regarded as the greatest betrayal and sell-out to foreign shareholders in for the kill when the time comes.

He will be looking after his US mates thatís for sure.

If and when that happens yearsí long loyal customers of Telstra will be freed of any obligation to remain loyal and will begin to make other choices.

But itís better if the privatisation gallop is stopped. Time is short.

Bruce Gillman
Sydney, NSW

Scurvy politician

Some time ago the Minister for Education, Dr Nelson had made some silly remarks about the price of sausage rolls at Uni canteens as compared to the price of a sausage roll in Newtown (nearest eat street to Sydney Uni) which was about 20 cents cheaper. I am happy to tell our readers that a Newtown shop advertises lower prices for sausage rolls at the moment ó provided you produce your student union card! Good on them. After all, Dr Nelson was really talking about abolishing student unions, not providing subsidised food for students.

Dr Nelson seems to be a very ambitious politician who really wants to be in the spotlight all the time. It might be a good idea if he started to fulfil his obligations as Minister for Education with the same zeal he seems to be employing for his self-promotion.

Todayís paper (Sydney Morning Herald, June 13) has an article on students so malnourished that some present to the doctors with symptoms of scurvy. That is according to a Senate inquiry into student income support.

Scurvy used to be associated with sailors who were deprived of fresh food for long periods of time and thus lacked vitamin C in their diets. This resulted in swollen gums, livid spots, and loss of teeth. Scurvy has not been around in this country for a long time and the only chance you had of coming across it was during some quiz. Iíd say many young doctors would have difficulties in diagnosing it.

But maybe they should be really dusting off those volumes of what we all hoped and believed were the diseases of the past, including scurvy as the new dark ages are descending upon us.

The same inquiry also questioned the ethics of medical trials where students participated as guinea pigs for questionable products such as sleep deprivation drugs. All this in order to buy food.

We as a society have a duty of protecting the young ó as our future as a society if nothing else.

How can we justify the treatment of our young when their health is undermined by the system that does not seem to care one little bit about not only their health but also the health of their offspring?

You canít really have healthy kids if parents had been deprived of nutrition and gone through God knows what experimental drugs.

The inquiry heard that some students tried to survive on $30 a week and their skin started to erupt. Thatís what Dr Nelson should be concentrating his mind on, not just political games.

R S Cairns
Parent and graduate

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