Letters to
the editor

Closing the camps is Greens policy

Your otherwise excellent editorial on the disgrace of offshore detention (“Bribe and prejudice”, April 30-May 6), practised by previous Labor and current Coalition governments, concludes with the observation that another solution “won’t be found on either side of politics. Close the camps, and bring these poor souls here.” May

I remind your readers that there are more than two sides of politics in this country. The editorial has articulated the longstanding policy of the Australian Greens. Close the camps. Bring the asylum seekers to Australia to be processed. We can find solutions to this barbarity. 

– Barbara Bloch, Hurlstone Park, NSW (Greens candidate for Watson)

Answers can be found

It is clear that no simple solution to the asylum-seeker problem can be found. A complex solution is required. Labor and the Greens could provide leadership for the community if they seized the moment. Several interventions are needed. They include: quiet negotiation with Asian neighbours for us to empty their camps quickly in return for their non-corrupt policing of coastlines to prevent boats departing; provision of big numbers of immigration officers to quickly process applications; negotiation with universities to provide their training; and scholarship support to course applicants. Refugees with no papers could be settled in designated areas with regular monitoring and with training to develop small business skills. All of this would cost less than maintaining camps in Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Christmas Island and the Cambodia solution, and recover our self-respect. 

– Lawrence Bartak, North Carlton, Vic

Vote wielding for policy change

Martin McKenzie-Murray has it right (“This is not our Australia”, April 30-May 6). I have written to both non-misty-eyed Malcolm and ballot-box Bill to inform them that I will not be voting for anyone in the lower house until one of the major parties formulates a just and moral policy to deal with the overwhelming refugee movements of today’s world. To justify the cruel punishment of a small number of people under the specious argument that this will save the many is neither just nor moral. It is crassly political. 

– Michael Ryan, Stanwell Park, NSW 

PNG taken for granted

Australians know about prison colonies in strange lands. What our politicians haven’t realised yet is that former colonies become independent. In 1975 Papua New Guinea wrote a 20th-century constitution entrenching human rights. Now its Supreme Court has ruled the Australian insertion of an asylum-seeker processing centre that deprives people of their liberty without charge is unconstitutional. This is despite PNG’s attempt, encouraged by Australia, to make the Manus scheme legal by amending its constitution. Any Australian attempt to finesse the issue at this stage and prolong the presence of the detainees is yet another case of Australia taking PNG for granted. It is also encouraging the current PNG government to break its own constitution, again, at a time when the prime minister is fighting an arrest warrant on a corruption matter, and the attorney-general, a judge and the prime minister’s lawyer all have been charged on serious matters. Our current buck-passing is yet another case of poorly advised neo-colonialism, which shames many in both countries. Australia needs to respect the rule of law in its neighbour. Fingers crossed there will be no more dangerous riots among the desperate detainees in the Manus centre, which Australia falsely claims is all PNG’s responsibility.

– Bill Standish, Watson, ACT

Shameful policies must be exposed

Thank you, The Saturday Paper, for continuing to alert us to what is happening to refugees, and for pointing out the shameful policies of both this government and previous governments. By getting the message out to more people, hopefully your paper can influence those in power to act.

– Jennifer Gibb, Moruya Heads, NSW

Movie script to follow?

James Wheeldon, please write the book with all the characters (“Fluff cop on the beat”, April 30-May 6) as an Australian sequel to The Big Short. It follows some of the same aspects from a different point of governance but extends that to illustrate where Western democratic governance has declined, hopefully to its lowest point. Make the film to give the subject a wider audience as an example of where self-interest manipulating power on all sides of the political arena has become the utopian ethos of Western governance. This is a short step from the Middle Ages. It took 500 years to reach a balanced democracy. Now it has only taken 25 years for Western political culture to take us back 200 years. The pen and the film may be our only saviours left to change that course by clearing the decks for a new beginning. 

– Trevor Pratt, Eaglemont, Vic

A state too far

Perhaps it is the oversensitivity of an adopted Tasmanian but I couldn’t help noticing the excellent article on the incompetence and blindness of Tasmania’s governments (John Martinkus, “The price of power”, April 30-May 6) was written by “a foreign correspondent”. 

– Jim Heys, South Hobart, Tas

A fitting royal tribute

Maxine Beneba Clarke, love your wordcraft. “Kingdom come”, Prince (April 30-May 6), what a gem! Moved me to utter these little words. 

– Irene Anderson, Hastings, Vic

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 May 7, 2016.

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