Missing the criminals
“Liberals in deep with the banks” (Mike Seccombe, April 16-22) gives a rare insight; I am grateful for his work. An ancillary matter annoyed me during the recent Heydon royal commission into trade unions that is applicable to any proposal for a banking royal commission. The various police forces have the powers, I presume, to investigate any matter that “they” suspect to be criminal. In terms of Dyson Heydon’s work and now the assertions made by Seccombe, why have the police forces not been more obvious and active in these areas? Is their role limited to 19th-century crime? The emergence of such special inquiries is an indictment of the political processes as well as the roles, activities and leadership of the police forces and their ministers. Of course royal commissions have become political weapons rather than one to be used rarely with gravitas and decisively. Every such inquiry means, at least simplistically, that the “independent” police forces have failed over a long period. Why is that so?
– Ian Sinclair, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Worth the wait on banks
If Malcolm Turnbull runs true to recent form, public opinion will force him to back down on his opposition to a royal commission into the banking industry. But there is a risk in him establishing a royal commission prior to the election. This should be a matter of concern to those who want the banks brought to heel. It would mean that the current government might draft narrow terms of reference and might choose a retired judge with pro-banking connections or leanings. It would certainly be preferable for an incoming Labor government (which is now a possibility) to set up a genuine royal commission, after the election.
– Tom Kelly, Potts Point, NSW
Politicians show the way
At least the moralist campaigners of the 19th-century city provided alternative places for punters to spend their evenings. They erected dry hotels and coffee palaces where people could socialise late into the evening without the apparently degenerative impacts of alcohol. What Martin McKenzie-Murray (“Behind the closed doors”, April 16-22) sketches across Melbourne, Sydney and Perth are the shifting contours of Australian urban moralism at the beginnings of the 21st century. The contours of class and race come a little too close for the sensibilities of Sydney’s politicians. On second thoughts, those moralist politicians are offering us at least one alternative to going home: head to the casino.
– James Lesh, Brunswick, Vic
All minorities deserve a voice
With regard to the editorial “Please hold the line” (April 16-22), I have to ask whether all Telstra customers and shareholders agree with their funds being used to support the company’s same-sex marriage campaign. On the other hand, very many of the planned giving donors and widows’ mites that are the source of the “cashed-up” Catholic Church’s wealth would hold the supposedly “ancient” view of marriage. Strange that the same people who advocate for minority rights are quick to deny Christians a voice or opinion because they are no longer a majority in Australia. Apparently this is okay because the next census will place “no religion” as the first option in its questions about belief. What is the first option in questions about gender?
– Elizabeth Harrington, Milton, Qld
The bad News on the media
Congratulations to Andrew Stafford for an erudite and long-overdue exposé on just how disreputable The Courier-Mail has become (“Languish Barrier”, April 16-22). Australia is not well served by the unhealthy concentration of print media ownership, with news filtered to suit the agenda du jour of a foreign media baron. Global warming denial in particular is perniciously propagated by Rupert Murdoch’s alleged “flagship”, The Australian, to the great detriment of our international reputation. Independent, intelligent journalism such as that found in The Saturday Paper is vital to a fair and equitable society. Kudos also to Richard Ackland for his rare ability to produce laugh-out-loud observations.
– Chris Roylance, Paddington, Qld
Give us Moore
The audience laughed, sighed, nodded and clapped. Then I left the theatre and came home to read Christos Tsiolkas’s punishing review, “Moore is less” (April 9-15), of the film I had just seen – Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next. My mood quickly changed. Unease set in. It’s not only what Tsiolkas says, his critical points, it’s his all-pervading and unrelenting intensity of dislike for Moore’s work that induces feelings of dismay in this reader. As far as I’m concerned nobody does it like Moore. He may be preaching to the converted, but he is a voice for our collective disgust at what the rich and powerful do to the rest of us. Moore is Moore. And may we have more.
– Kaye Watson, Carlton North, Vic
Thinking green in the kitchen
Memo to all chefs, cooks and recipe writers: cling wrap is a single-use plastic, the production of which needlessly uses resources and energy, and its use immediately results in waste (Andrew McConnell, “Kneads-based flatbread”, April 16-22). Proving bread can be covered with a damp tea towel; bowls can be covered with a plate; or use a bowl with a lid. Aluminium foil is similarly wasteful and unnecessary. Either a different cooking method could be used, or more suitable cookware.
– Karen Joynes, Bermagui, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Apr 23, 2016. Subscribe here.