Those who care should act
I read the article on Shaima by Martin McKenzie-Murray (“Family murdered as Morrison stalls”, December 13-19) and I wept. It is by this government that we are shamed. The Labor government instigated the concentration camp on Nauru and Scott Morrison has further promulgated it as a solution... to what? The silence from the media in Australia shows a callous indifference on the part of Australians to the suffering of refugees. I am also ashamed that Labor originated that false and destructive term “illegal immigrants” that Abbott and co have so assiduously promoted to whitewash their inhuman prosecution of lonely and terrified people. If this country wishes to prevent refugees coming here and to justify their inhuman “non-settlement solution”, why doesn’t Abbott have the guts to simply tear up the refugee agreement with the United Nations? We need a mass movement of we few who care to “shirtfront” Abbott and Morrison on their illegal and inhuman degradation of refugees. I commend your paper for its attention to this rotten and terrible policy.
– Paddy Forsayeth, Atherton, Qld
Blind pursuit of ideology
Martin McKenzie-Murray paints a disturbing picture in Scott Morrison’s grasping after unfettered secret powers. Disturbing for what it reveals, apart from terrible tragedy. Outcomes of his inhumane policies can be sheeted home to a vague, obfuscating and slow bureaucracy, sidestepping responsibility. At the same time, his bullying silencing of Shaima’s advocate betrays an incapacity to actually register the damage being done. That would require a responsible consideration. This incapacity seemingly affects much of the government: while the prime minister vacillates on climate change, he escalates a blind history war, in both cases not registering damage being done by promoting self-serving inaccurate information. But responsibility for outcomes is not taken, national reputation and our institutions are trashed, as if we don’t live in a larger world that does register what we do. Is the government that blinded by the pursuit of power without governance?
– Gil Anaf, Norwood, SA
Coming home to serve
Gadfly’s mention (December 13-19) of Alexander Downer’s armchair pronouncements on war and politics, often to the detriment of the ALP, reminds us that the Fiend in Fishnets is also given to making lofty observations on the Vietnam War, such as in his 2005 Earle Page speech. Downer (born 1951) was, of course, tucked away safe from all the Vietnam action in the UK, studying at Radley College and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Meanwhile, all of us young men of Downer’s generation who stayed in Australia were required to register for the draft at the age of 19; about 10 per cent of us were conscripted, with a proportion of these being sent to Vietnam, where some were killed. If Downer, like the Liberal Party at the time, believed so strongly in Australia’s participation in the war, surely he would have taken a gap year or two to enlist?
– Mike Puleston, Brunswick, Vic
In defence we trust
During the budget debate in May, Joe Hockey was asked why, when he was tearing the guts out of health, education, pensions, dole payments, science, etc, he could afford an $18 billion down payment on a strike fighter still on the drawing boards. He replied with another Coalition three-word mantra: “Defence is important.” That was it. When Tony Abbott was asked how he could afford millions to send planes to bomb the Middle East, and young men to fight and maybe die, he replied, “I’ve looked at the budget, there’s no problem.” In the parallel universe that is defence, money grows on trees!
– Richard Keys, Ainslie, ACT
Put hot air to good use
If there was not so much hostility from the Abbott regime, there would surely be an opportunity to create a renewable energy manufacturing industry in both South Australia and Victoria (Max Opray, “Holden out for a miracle”, December 13-19). Wind turbines, already a large part of SA’s energy, as well as large- and small-scale solar could be produced locally. If the cost/productivity equations add up, foreign manufacturers could be induced to set up locally.
– Harry Verberne, Churchill, Vic
An opportunity missed
Your headline “Agreeable and vacated: The Malcolm Turnbull Story”, December 6-12, made me wonder just what you were thinking? I would describe it as Australia’s tragedy that the popular Malcolm, learned, moderate, climate believer, may never take his place as leader of any party.
– Joan Croll, Drummoyne, NSW
None of the fun of the fair
It is embarrassing when a prime minister resorts to the tricks of the fairground in order to survive in power. The Coalition persists in playing the shell game. Having used a thimble to cover up the $7 co-payment, where is the real tax? The Coalition claims to have got rid of the carbon tax by a sleight of hand, but under which thimble is the tax that supports the so-called Direct Action plan? The mining tax vanished and the education pea is still there under the thimbles. The latest game is to try to introduce changed policies while shouting, “Look over there at the new Indigenous constitutional reforms that have no substance”, “Look over there at these glossy ads that you have paid for”, rather than look at the changed costs of higher education, dismantling of initiatives and the potential costs of climatic change. Sleight of hand, smoke and mirrors. Politicians. Fairground conmen and women.
– John Garretty, Kelso, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Dec 20, 2014. Subscribe here.