Sports betting ads should be banned, just like tobacco


Australia’s anti-smoking campaign was opposed by Big Tobacco, but the campaign has been a great success, saving hundreds of thousands of lives over the past 25 years (“Sports in fight over gambling ad rules”, February 28). Tobacco does obvious physical harm but poker machines, as well as online gambling and porn, does psychological and financial harm. Online gambling is Big Sport’s new-found revenue source, which it will fight tooth and nail to protect. Most gambling addicts will declare: “This is a free country. Anyway, I am not addicted, but I enjoy a flutter. I don’t bet what I can’t afford to lose.” Really? That is the insidious nature of psychological addiction. The addict doesn’t suffer heart attacks or lung cancer but, for many if not most, their destructive addiction grows inexorably. Geoff Black Caves Beach

It is quite a distressing statistic to read that the NRL had no intention of bowing to inclusiveness during Sydney’s pride festival. Meanwhile, the powers that be seem to have no intention of regulating the insulting level of gambling advertising related to their games. Night after night, the television advertising spruiks the all-inclusive possibility that one’s hard-earned wages could end up in the coffers of the sports betting companies. Statistics show that they are raking in millions related to gambler’s losses. The simple gesture of including the NRL into the Pride festival celebrations ends up in the “too hard basket”, while gambling away one’s livelihood on their games continues to be “too easy”. Greg Vale, Kiama

<p>Credit:John Shakespeare

Now that sportspeople are becoming vocal advocates for various causes, I would have thought that socially and environmentally responsible companies would be clamouring to sponsor televised sport. Just as with the break from tobacco advertising, the long-term benefits of weaning sport from gambling will spread far beyond the sporting field. Philip Cooney, Wentworth Falls

The spat over sports betting ads merely confirms my long-held view that sport itself is merely a backdrop to a vast money-making machine in overdrive and that promoting the enjoyment of sport for its own sake is secondary to the greed of pushing ways to make money out of it. Never mind what we spoil, how we do it, or the harm done in the process, so long as we rake in the dosh. It’s pretty sad if that’s the basis of “a legitimate Australian pastime”. Adrian Connelly, Springwood

It seems sporting bodies are more concerned about the loss of revenue from gambling advertising than its effects on children and those with a gambling problem. Professional sport has a powerful influence in this country and those involved are richly rewarded. They have a duty of care to those who support them. Spectators will vote with their feet if irresponsible, mean-spirited sporting bodies don’t get their acts together. Sports fans will adjust to less free-to-air sport if necessary, but Free TV Australia and greedy sporting bodies have much more to lose. Graham Lum, Rocks Road

Gambling ads? Just ban them. Jeremy Spinks, Baulkham Hills

Pet owners must pay the price for wildlife carnage

The NSW government has been sitting on its hands as far as controlling cats is concerned. No curfews, no rules, just cats wandering around wild, killing millions of native animals (“Efforts to keep cats in from the kill”, February 28). When will it be the right time to act and stop the carnage? Many of our native birds and mammals are already critically endangered and facing extinction. If not now, when? Ignore the owners who plead, “That’s not my cat, he wouldn’t do that.” Just get it done. Josie McSkimming, Coogee

Keep Tiddles quietly indoors

Keep Tiddles quietly indoors

Living in the Hornsby Shire, I am all for people containing their cats in their own yards. I live beside the bush and regularly walk around the area. It upsets me when I see the number of cats slinking across from a garden and into the bush. Some owners simply do not want to accept the fact that their cat could be a killer there. It is not funny to have your cat bring in a dead native bird or any other small animal. Cats are natural hunters and some will become hunters when they can. The problem is for owners they often do not see the kill their cat has made and there it is in the morning miaowing and rubbing happily against their leg. Naturally, owners are blind to the damage the pet may have caused. Sadly, there are also domestic cats that have gone feral and not only hunt and kill but breed, which compounds the problem. All owners of cats and dogs must be responsible and confine and control their animal. If they do so, good, but if not, then councils and governments must take action. That way, owners will be able to enjoy both their pet and the local wildlife, which will benefit us all. Augusta Monro, Dural

Wonderful news that NSW has a new national park (“National treasure: New NSW park bigger than Yosemite”, February 28). More of Australia locked up so that Australians travelling with their dogs are not allowed to visit. It is larger than Yosemite in the USA, where we spent a week and met many Americans with their dogs. There was no trouble, dogs on leads and families with pets enjoying themselves. Yet in Australia it is not allowed. It’s such a pity. As, like many senior Australians, we have a van and travel with our pet. Our eight-year-old Lagotto looks more like a sheep than a wolf, but we are obviously too dangerous to be allowed into a national park. We have travelled around various parts of Australia over the past 30 years and have not been into one park. So many Australians are locked out of their own country.
Neil Duncan, Balmain

Urgent action needed on super

Jessica Irvine (“Is a dignified retirement out of reach?” , February 28) poses the question before identifying the shortcomings, for some, of compulsory superannuation. It seems super is a constant target because it’s not perfect. Yes, we are struggling with low wages and housing affordability, but emasculating super is not the answer. It’s the government’s job to improve super, not destroy it, and this needs doing now. The previous government was reckless when it allowed young people to raid their super for a housing deposit, achieving little while jeopardising a decent income for future retirees. This government has more appealing options for affordable housing. One would be to compel super funds to invest large sums in a residential property scheme, as Singapore did so successfully decades ago. Rob Mills, Riverview

Retirement Village option, with enough money.

Retirement Village option, with enough money.Credit:Scott McNaughton

Jessica Irvine says that superannuation takes funds from low-income earners when 10 per cent of those earnings could be scrimped to fund a modest home deposit. So, 10 per cent of annual earnings of, say, $60,000 is $6000 a year saved. At that rate, a deposit of $120,00 on a modest home would take 20 years to save. With some compound interest $150,000 might be available. But house prices are rising so rapidly that those savings will never be enough. It would be far better for government to find other ways of helping low-income earners into home ownership. On retirement, the $120,000 in superannuation could pay off any remaining mortgage, allow the purchase of travel or other luxuries, even to help a person’s own children. Brenda Kilgore, Red Hill (ACT)

Silicosis legacy


<p>Credit:Cathy Wilcox

In my early working life as a doctor, I saw many coal miners struggling to breathe due to “miner’s lung” when I worked for the coal board (“Dust-up brews for silicosis talks”, February 28). It was only legislation that changed this situation, which is now less familiar. In my middle working life, it was asbestosis causing breathing difficulties and, in some of my patients, a terrible death due to fibrosis and the deadly cancer mesothelioma. The danger was known for many years before legislation was introduced to ban the deadly asbestos. Now it is silicosis causing similar problems. Yet, the government drags its feet to introduce bans and appropriate workplace health and safety requirements. It is the government, funded by us, the taxpayers, who will have to wear the cost of healthcare and the often less-literate members of our society, who work in these dangerous environments, who will ultimately bear the pain and suffering. Australians do not need stone slabs in their kitchens. There are plenty of alternatives. Katriona Herborn, Blackheath

Deserted in despair

The immediate effects of the February 2022 flood were worse than disastrous for Lismore and surrounds (“Lismore residents hung out to dry by neglect at all levels”, February 28), but we now know there was more to come.
One month later, La Nina tricked us all and turned on herself, delivering another deluge on the same area. We who were there to assist with the recovery from February’s event were aghast to find ourselves flooded in, unable to get to our posts at evacuation centres and inadvertently now part of the problem. One year later, many flood victims remain homeless, dispossessed and in a limbo of decay and uncertainty. No wonder the people of NSW Northern Rivers district feel angry, deserted and despairing. Meredith Williams, Northmead

Wrong path

As your correspondents point out, our TAFE system is in disarray (Letters, February 28). The real problem is that NSW requires students to stay at school until at least 17. By then, students are already on the path to the HSC and an ATAR. With few options, no wonder students go to the open arms of universities, only to find out that this type of study is not for them. The government needs to open pathways for students to leave school, get a trade, get an apprenticeship and to study what interests them. The current system is merely rubber-stamping numbers for our greedy universities. Michael Blissenden, Dural

Maybe TAFE is the way to go.

Maybe TAFE is the way to go.

There may be one way to stop universities exploiting vulnerable, first-year students just to stuff more cash into their coffers. Make the universities pay back any funding for students who drop out before completing a course. It might also give them an incentive to select more carefully and then to support the students they do select. Tom Orren, Wamberal Heights

No changing gears

Calls for changes to negative gearing are not new (Letters, February 28). Labor went to the election in 2019 with proposed reforms to negative gearing and dividend imputation. These policies were strongly rejected by the electorate and were identified as significant reasons for Labor’s defeat at the polls. Negative gearing and franking credits are not on the government’s agenda at present and those hoping for change in the name of fairness will find themselves waiting for quite a bit longer. William Galton, Hurstville Grove

It’s unlikely negative gearing will ever be removed in its entirety, so here’s an idea. How about the government remove negative gearing on all investment properties that are used for short-term rentals? This might force/encourage some owners to put houses and apartments back into the rental market for those needing long-term rentals. Lizzy McLean, Bilgola

Election speak

It never ceases to amaze me how both sides of the political aisle manage to come up with brilliant and creative ideas to fix the big problems affecting NSW just as the election is around the corner. Under what bushel has all this brilliance and creativity been hiding for the past four years? Gerard Kirwan, Cremorne

One database to rule all

Instead of “sensitivity readers”, revision and censorship (Letters, February 28), why can’t we have just one national (or international) database available online where everyone can submit that which offends, denigrates, upsets or irritates – with an explanation and their preferred edits? That would be both interesting and educational. Ronald Elliott, Sandringham (Vic)

Surely, the last word on literary political correctness would be a reassessment of that very old book of stories that claims a woman and a snake are the causes of all humankind (read “man’s”) woes? Nola Tucker, Kiama

The Bible: could it be time for a re-write?

The Bible: could it be time for a re-write?Credit:Kay Craddock Antiquariun Bookseller.

The farce of virtue-signalling book-burning is beyond belief. We must not let anyone be offended, yet the virtual slaughter of hundreds of thousands of creatures, via electronic “games”, is considered somehow to be educative of our young. Ian Usman Lewis, Kentucky

Exotic brew

Triggered by a pile of party leftovers I came across while walking the dog, I started reminiscing about beer at the time I developed an interest in it, in my late teens, in the early 1970s. Back then, a beer was considered exotic if it came from Victoria. Steve McCann, Lane Cove

Victorian beer - once was exotic

Victorian beer – once was exoticCredit:Robert Cianflone

The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on
NRL, AFL on collision course with governments over betting ads
From Sean: ″⁣They said the same thing about cigarette sponsorship about 25 years ago but somehow managed to survive.″⁣

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