Letters to
the editor

More time for Triggs

Your article on how the government is intent on persecuting Gillian Triggs for outlining human rights abuses is truly disturbing (Martin McKenzie-Murray, “Abbott’s war on Gillian Triggs”, June 13-19). Every so often, it seems, a person emerges with the real leadership qualities the nation needs: saying difficult things clearly as per her job description, withstanding bullying in pursuit of obligations that are right and proper while responding to criticism, and not resorting to sophistry. The government doesn’t like it. In reality, ministers line up to protest because she puts their tactics in stark relief: bullying, duplicity and misinformation, their only “vision” one of wanting us to be “very afraid” while they accrue power; “lazy or sneaky” was a description used by one of their own. We aren’t supposed to notice that while numbers of children in detention were indeed declining, the inhumane treatment of refugees was escalating, facilitated by increasing secrecy. When doctors and social workers are threatened if they speak openly about Nauru; legal aid funding is cut; people smugglers are perhaps paid to smuggle people back; refugees are abused; and citizenship revoked by a minister rather than a court, does it not suggest Gillian Triggs is right to call this? Since we can’t rely on the PM and his ministers to be straight, and we can see Professor Triggs is made of the right stuff, how can we support her office, and extend her tenure?

– Gil Anaf, Norwood, SA

Drawing on political knowledge

Geoff Pryor’s cartoon “The Initiation” (June 13-19) would be my nomination for cartoon of the year. Australia’s very own “Gang of Four” particularly targets women and human rights activists. It’s ironic after the criticism that, not so long ago, was heaped upon the relatively benign inner cabinet of Rudd, Gillard, Swan and Tanner.

– Malcolm Campbell, Highgate Hill, Qld

Ensuring food for everyone

Recycling or, better yet, eating discarded food that remains safely edible makes great sense (Drew Rooke, “Waste lines”, June 13-19). A note of caution though: dumpster diving by rummaging through discarded supermarket food bins poses substantial hazards from broken glass or rusty containers. Unwrapped food left in the heat and sun could be spoiled or denatured even if it hasn’t reached best-before and use-by dates. Supermarkets could keep in cool dry conditions perfectly healthy but blemished food for underprivileged customers to buy at a hefty discount, or even to be offered free at the end of the day. People do not then have to spend undignified hours foraging for usable food from messy mounds. They can feed themselves, their pets, and animals raised for food better, and spend more time working and looking after their kids. Restaurant food rescue and reusing supermarket groceries allow more humans and animals to not go hungry.

– Joseph Ting, Kelvin Grove, Qld

Supply and demand at work

Sophie Morris’s article “Blowing up the housing bubble” (June 13-19) falls short of good journalistic analysis. You cannot expect to get an unbiased comment on the housing crisis by seeking opinions from the Housing Industry Association or the Property Council. It’s rather like asking coal companies about air pollution. Houses, like any other item that is sold, are subject to the law of supply and demand and when demand exceeds supply, in this case because of high population growth, the only constraint is the capacity of the buyer to pay. Our population growth, largely caused by both governments’ high immigration policies, creates the demand that has outstripped supply and yet rarely gets mentioned in the media. The buyer incentives, low interest rates and first-home buyer grants, negative gearing, etc, have pushed up prices even further, perhaps beyond the point where governments, even if willing to intervene, could restrain them. The bubble, like all the ones before it, will implode when home owners become unable to meet mortgage payments either through loss of employment or interest rate rises, and the longer this takes to occur, the worse the consequences will be.

– Don Owers, Dudley, NSW

Deal with problems not rhetoric

The average worker must be dismayed at the media’s obsession with “gotcha” remarks, rather than examining the real issues of housing affordability. It is not a mortal sin to encourage workers to seek a well-paid job, more likely to occur under Joe Hockey’s budget measures boosting small business, etc. Labor’s answer is to look at capping house prices, most workers’ major asset, and abolishing negative gearing, driving up already inflated rents. Affordability wasn’t helped by the sweetheart deals with employers revealed at the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, restricting members’ wages during Bill Shorten’s tenure at the Australian Workers Union.

– John Shailer, East Lindfield, NSW

West welcomes new voice

At last your paper has reached Western Australia and our newsagent. I bought my first copy last week and am hooked. What thinking person wouldn’t be? With articles such as that on Gillian Triggs, and reporters such as Paul Bongiorno, we are now seeing a modicum of very necessary media balance. The Saturday Paper occupies
a small but very necessary niche in the current battle for truth and transparency in these fraught political times. I wish it well.

– Ian Nowak, Subiaco, WA

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 June 20, 2015.

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