Letters to
the editor

UN must step in on asylum seekers

As I read the horrific accounts of abuse and hopelessness on Nauru (Martin McKenzie-Murray, “Fear and abuse: the Nauru letters”, November 15-21), one question is dominant in my mind: when will Australia be held to account by the United Nations? Surely the public disclosure of the letters written by these asylum seekers must be sufficiently alarming to spark an inquiry on an international scale. Surely our country is breaking a whole raft of laws regarding duty of care and guarantee of safety to refugees. What is the UN waiting for? Our own government has no interest in fixing the sickeningly disgraceful treatment of the vulnerable, so it must be time for the world to step in and investigate. Nothing will change without our government receiving a resounding slap from the international community. If international law is being broken, there must be demonstrable consequences. That the Australian government believes it can delegate care and responsibility for refugees to another country and to private contractors is both criminal and cynical. 

– Paul Cutlan, Summer Hill, NSW

Government focused on now

Tony Abbott said that jobs and economic growth, not “what might happen in 16 years’ time”, would be the focus of the G20 summit in Brisbane. “I’m focusing on what we’re doing now,” he said. The fact that what we’re doing now may have serious consequences for our climate on a time scale of decades is of no consequence to Mr Abbott and his government. This irresponsible short-term perspective and its disregard for the future of our nation and our planet shows that Mr Abbott is unfit to govern. 

– William Grey, Tarragindi, Qld

Ignore the press bullies

Wayne Swan’s article (“Swimming in the News Carp pond”, November 15-21) makes depressing reading. Clearly it requires courage for a Labor government to weather media storms from the Murdochracy, but weather them they must. When the electorate votes in a Labor government, they are knowingly voting for improved redistributive policies. These need to be enunciated clearly pre-election. Provided that the government implements policies consistent with its philosophy, the people who count will support them. Forget the opinion polls until the next election. I can’t recall seeing a single copy of the ubiquitous Daily Terror in recent years that hasn’t shredded anything to do with progressive policies with vitriol. On the other hand, Coalition politicians are almost beatified. It isn’t going to change any time soon. I was taught as a child that the best way to treat a bully is to ignore him. Try it sometime Labor – cosying up clearly doesn’t work. 

– John Nicol, Surry Hills, NSW

Waiting for a whistleblower

One day, one of the Murdoch journalists might become disaffected and become a “whistleblower” and tell us all how the Murdoch press in Australia really does operate. We already have a good idea how it has been operating in Britain. Thank you for your frank article, Wayne Swan. 

– Gavan Bracks, Kurrajong Heights, NSW

Communicating without words

To answer Gadfly (“The vices of King Malcolm”, November 15-21): Malcolm remains adorable to the public because when he smiles, you can feel his humanity.

– Jonathan Silberberg, Newcastle East, NSW

The secret life of Samuel

Samuel Johnson, you have made thousands of us smile, following your journey and keeping you and your sister in our thoughts. Who knew you had such a story (“Poète maudit”, November 15-21) and in your own way, when ready to share, put it so eloquently. I love all that you do and hope my three adult sons can be a smidgen as compassionate as you.

– Helen Sieker, Wheelers Hill, Vic

Cross words

While I do appreciate Mungo MacCallum receiving compliments on his cryptic crossword compiling capabilities as a straight crossword addict I am forced to suffer the shame and guilt of having to surreptitiously sneak The Daily Telegraph through the checkout to get my fix (three straight crosswords each issue). It’s my one and only criticism of The Saturday Paper

– Victoria Kennedy, Goonellabah, NSW

Cryptic rewards

The Saturday Paper is a welcome breath of fresh air at the end of the week. I agree with Vicky Marquis (“Kind Words on The Cryptic”, Letters, November 15-21) that The Cryptic alone is worthy of the outlay. Gems keep tumbling from the clues and the mental challenges are endless and rewarding – where else for example would one discover that SATURNALIA is an anagram for AUSTRALIAN!

– Bob Speechley, Parkville, Vic

Hostile environment

I would like to applaud your considered editorial (“Greg Hunt must resign”, November 8-14). I am in Sydney attending the World Parks Congress and can report that the reception of the opening ceremony audience to the current federal “environment” minister’s speech was muted to say the least. Objectively, the loudest applause came from the congress’s very polite international participants. The minister was fortunate not to have been booed or have the homegrown audience turn their backs on him.

– Ellie Bock, Mena Creek, Qld

Letters are welcome: [email protected]
Please include your full name and address and a daytime telephone number. Letters may be edited for length and content, and may be published in print and online. Letters should not exceed 150 words.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Nov 22, 2014.

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