New concerns surround the government’s increased use of legislative powers to bypass the parliament and create laws that cannot be amended or overturned. The federal government has embedded special powers in new Covid-19 laws to make unilateral changes to non-pandemic-related legislation, using what are known as ‘Henry VIII clauses’ – named for the unchecked power they involve.
Morrison upfront about approach
Thank you, Sophie Morris, for reminding us of Treasurer Scott Morrison’s recent remark to Annabel Crabb that his pre-election brutality towards refugees was to make both them and people smugglers understand that, if the Coalition were elected, “their worst nightmare had arrived” (“The Coalition’s new power pact”, October 31-November 6). We need to pinch ourselves very hard to remember that he was talking primarily about innocent people he intended to torment as a political expedient on his way to his present office, where he presumably can continue to exercise his moral creed.
– John Hayward, Weegena, Tas
Duo comparison stretches credulity
It was bemusing to read the comparison of Turnbull and Morrison to Hawke and Keating (“The Coalition’s new power pact”). There is absolutely no comparison. Hawke and Keating were true visionaries whose policies laid the path for an economic and social future of grand proportions for all Australians. Theirs was a partnership of great political acumen, social justice and social equity. Turnbull and Morrison are at best lacklustre careerists whose right-wing conservative political positioning over the past five years has been a conglomeration of lies and inhumane policies based upon ideologies of racism, fear-mongering and bigotry, whose concepts of social equity lie in the favours bestowed upon big business and the richest 20 per cent and who have no concept of real social justice. Australia’s growth was thwarted by their negativity while in opposition and thrown into the Dark Ages of fear, hate and bullying tactics while in government. And not one single policy beneficial to Australia in five years. I am aghast at the idea that they are redolent of Hawke and Keating.
– Ian Ossher, Dover Heights, NSW
The zoo connection
Of course one would prefer animals to be in their natural habitat and it must be admitted that few species after being humanised can return “to the wild” if and where this still exists (Maddison Connaughton, “Animal pragmatism”, October 31-November 6). But the zoos provide an animal experience where hopefully the visitors appreciate similarities between both species on either side of the fence. This may assist in teaching them that animals are not kept for those seeking financial gain or for the amusement of armed trophy hunters. The “reinforced steel cages” referred to at Melbourne Zoo are used as night quarters and to train the gorillas to obey commands so that the use of anaesthetics may be minimised for health checks and procedures. For those who are disturbed by animals in captivity, the Werribee Open Range Zoo may be preferred. There the humans are enclosed and the animals run free!
– Beverley McIntyre, Camberwell, Vic
Blurring the lines
An open society does not rely on a single source to garner information, but rather on a plethora of sources. Martin McKenzie-Murray’s article (“Nauru’s borders open up to allies”, October 31-November 6) clearly highlights the danger in doing so, since the weakness of Chris Kenny’s reporting style stems from the fact that it is not objective and investigative but rather subjective and directed. Objective and investigative journalism tests every hypothesis with facts, whereas subjective and directive journalism chooses facts that essentially suit a hypothesis. The latter blurs opinion with factual reporting. Practitioners of this type of reporting always couch facts into left and right political divides. So long as a plethora of sources are blocked, we shall never be comfortable with Kenny’s – let alone with anyone else’s view – of what is happening on Nauru or Manus Island.
– Dr Ellak I. von Nagy-Felsobuki, Arcadia Vale, NSW
Inspiration for others
Well done, Therase Lawless (not her real name), for sharing your experiences of dealing with a predator who held, and still does, a position of trust and the system that shields him (“The unpunished teacher”, October 31-November 6). Hopefully your piece will build therapeutic confidence in others who have had similar experiences and encourage them to come forward. You are a brave person.
– Michael Minns, Katoomba, NSW
Refugee crisis not an easy fix
Paul Bongiorno may not like Tony Abbott, and let’s face it he is a hard person to love, but your columnist should not let his emotions interfere with reasoning (“The Abbott loosens his collar”, October 31-November 6). The terrible truth is that the onslaught of refugees into Europe is causing problems, one being the rise of right-wing extremist parties. Both Abbott’s and Angela Merkel’s policies are only attempts to address the symptoms of this humanitarian disaster and don’t address the cause. Both are about as useful as issuing aspirin as a treatment for a malaria outbreak – it might make you feel better but probably makes the situation worse. Military intervention in Iraq was a disaster but the failure of Western governments to intervene in Syria, perhaps only with enforced no-fly zones, could have prevented the current mess three years ago.
– Don Owers, Dudley, NSW
Bill of rights explained
I’d never understood why we might need a bill of rights in this country until I read the article by Lucia Osborne-Crowley (“Reining in the rogues”, October 24-30). I almost didn’t read it because that kind of subject matter is normally dry as dust to me. But it was written with great clarity, using examples from recent political events to explain the arguments, and I found it enjoyable as well as rewarding to read.
– Tom Downs, Kenmore, Qld
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Nov 7, 2015.
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