Letters to
the editor

Palmer must pay for mistakes

While most people have no objection to an individual or company enjoying great profits as a result of clever business acumen, the notion that an individual or company has the private right to these profits but in the event of a financial failure is able to transfer losses to the public (Mike Seccombe, “Is it all over for Clive Palmer?”, January 23-29) is, in the opinion of this writer, a complete nonsense that must be resolved if we are to retain confidence in our corporate regulatory system. I object most strenuously to wealthy individuals wreaking financial havoc and simply walking away as still wealthy individuals, leaving the public purse to foot the bill. The opportunity afforded by such lack of responsibility is quite probably responsible for some of the worst financial disasters in my memory.

– Bryan Moloney, Brunswick East, Vic

Actions done in our name

In light of the alleged apparent official indifference over a long period to the plight of Behnam Satah by Australian government ministers (Di Cousens, “Manus witness warned: ‘It’s very easy to kill you’ ”, January 23-29), and the continual tales of physical and psychological misery we hear from Manus Island and Nauru, we need to remember that this is being sanctioned and paid for by the voters and taxpayers of this country. We all own it. I find it highly hypocritical that provisional and permanent immigrants, and even some short-term visa holders, are obligated to sign on entry the Department of Immigration and Border Protection Australian values statement. Quoting from this document: “Australian society values respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual” and “fair play and compassion for those in need”. Happy Australia Day?

– John Nicol, Surry Hills, NSW

Facing up to the truth

The truth and scale of violence against women in Australia has shown its real face in Jill Singer’s article on Deanne Bridgland (“Lateral damage”, January 23-29). Deanne doesn’t fit “societal” guidelines on acceptable content – how this shames me. Her death is a blight on Australia and of late there are just so many blights that I despair at where we now find ourselves. How sad and tragic it is that we now have victims of violence so traumatised that there is a psychological term – “learned helplessness” – to describe the result of their prolonged persecution and abuse. I do believe that we need to remove the word “domestic” from the equation. What we see is violence, purely and simply violence against people who are physically and mentally weaker than the perpetrator. We can change the expression “king hit” to “coward’s punch” following the death of one young man and I do not intend to trivialise that or any other death that has resulted from that violence, but let’s call a spade a spade in all facets – this is violence, domination and abuse of power, money and position. The inclusion of the word “domestic” has for so many years allowed others to be removed from the need to address the issue – it’s a “domestic” issue so therefore it is not my problem. Well, as the then army chief Lieutenant-General David Morrison told us, “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept”, and violence on any level is unacceptable. The gauntlet is on the ground – we need to stop walking past it.

– Kylie Jacques, Robina, Qld

Chinese unlikely to use the force

As always, Hamish McDonald’s Asian-focused take on world affairs was well appreciated (“Ominous crackdown on Hong Kong publishers”, January 23-29). Yet one paragraph was particularly jarring. The suggestion that, after the election of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan, China might react “with force” to potential Taiwanese provocation seems implausible, notwithstanding the People’s Liberation Army’s recent reorganisation. Although China’s “new-found assertiveness” has been a major source of concern in Western capitals in recent years, China is a status quo power, very much concerned with global peace and stability. The idea that Russian aggression in Crimea might be a precedent for a display of Chinese force across the Taiwan Straits certainly makes good copy, but it ignores the radically different approaches to international relations exhibited by Russia and China. They might enjoy a stable strategic relationship, but Russian belligerence ought not be confused with the patient long game favoured by the Chinese.

– Dave Lisle, Mullumbimby, NSW

No need to wait

What great news it is that all states and territories are in accord that we should have an Australian head of state, although Western Australia could do with a bit of a nudge. But it vexes me that politicians can be so tortoise-like in bringing about this change. Our prime minister says that we have to wait until the Queen’s reign is over. What tosh. And the West Australian premier says that the time is not right. Again tosh. Woe betide any business corporations that have decision-making that involves saying, “Yes, a good idea and we’ll do it, but later on.” So, go for it, Peter FitzSimons, and get your simple question plebiscite in 2017 rather than 2020.

– Jim Banks, Pottsville Beach, NSW

Reasons to be cheerful

This morning I smiled. The Saturday Paper is back!

– Diana Modesto, Hunters Hill, NSW

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 Jan 30, 2016.

A free press is one you pay for. Now is the time to subscribe.