Letters to
the editor

Turnbull must curb extreme right attitudes

The rise of the extreme right in Australia, as represented by people such as Cory Bernardi, is a cause for concern (Editorial, July 9-15). It is recognised that Australia is belatedly following trends in Europe and the United States, where hard right Tea Party-types are on the rise. Bernardi was an example of one of those players in the egregious Abbott experiment in rancorous and divisive politics of the right. Elitist politics that demonise public health systems and public school systems, and advance a massively skewed tax system in favour of big business must be rigorously questioned. Bernardi’s logic in equating same-sex marriage with polygamy and bestiality has a resonance in some sections of the community. Malcolm Turnbull has the inherent ability to be a very capable prime minister but he must, for the good of the country, confront the destructive extremist elements within the Coalition. Sooner rather than later.

– Bob Barnes, Wedderburn, NSW

Voters know the system’s on the nose

Thanks, Guy Rundle (“Key change from major to minor”, July 9-15), for the courage to make the call that we have been “sold out by a Labor Party that converted to the neoliberal market idea”. More than 30 years ago the American economist Herman Daly wrote that neoliberalism had an agenda that would ignore the prosperity of communities, the wellbeing of citizens and degrade the environment. Hello! As in other Western countries, the neoliberal agenda here has further enriched the wealthy and returned us to levels of inequality not seen for 100 years. Many young people have given up believing they can own a home, unregulated international capital is transferring our jobs to wherever costs are lower, tertiary training has become hugely expensive (it was once free) and we have yet to reverse the war on our environment. Dare we hope that the election result is a rumbling of disenchantment with this failed, selfish, growth-obsessed ideology, and that it leads to a more articulate discussion about what a desirable and sustainable future looks like.

– Peter Martin, Port Willunga, SA

Why Pauline Hanson got my vote

I don’t think either major political party (or journalists, for that matter) get it. Being a proud blue-collar worker, I’ve supported the ALP all my voting life, until this election, that is. I chose to vote for Pauline Hanson. No, it was not a protest vote, no I am not racist and no, it was not a result of “Mediscare”. The reason being was simply to put Australian workers first. During the “mining boom” and through the decline, I and workmates have continually lost jobs to temporary workers on 400 visas. Add to this recent free trade deals (free corporate deals) allowing companies to discriminate against local workers. Neither party has addressed this. There was a time we needed 457 temporary skilled workers. Now that demand isn’t there and companies are importing workers under trade deals, Australian workers are paying the price. This conservative government has been placing blockades on local workers. Look at the maritime crew visa case that was overturned in the federal court, only to have this government exploit an existing visa (designed for foreign defence personnel) allowing foreign workers to replace local workers under a special-purpose visa. I see this as a massive slap in the face to blue-collar workers who are either expected to stand aside and let foreign workers take our jobs or work beside them with drastically reduced wages and conditions. I think everyone will agree the health and safety and wages from where these workers are from is nothing short of abysmal. Is this where we want Australia to go? And what becomes of our skilled Australian tradies? This is why I voted for Pauline Hanson, to put Australian workers first.

– Wes Hodgens, Traralgon, Vic

Adult kids getting away with murder

Financial elder abuse is family violence. Research shows that women over the age of 80 are most at risk of financial elder abuse, with adult sons being the most common perpetrators. It is often a silent crime – unreported and unacknowledged. Like all silent crimes perpetrated mostly against women, financial abuse will be difficult to police. Claudia Castle’s examples (“Where there’s a will”, July 9-15) demonstrate that the opportunities for children to act inappropriately are enormous. There are no formal mechanisms to ensure that financial powers of attorney act in an older person’s best interest. Boomers with early inheritance syndrome feel a sense of entitlement to their parents’ assets. They make ageist and sexist assumptions that devalue the rights of their elderly parents. They often justify their actions by saying, ‘’Mum doesn’t need money now, and it’s going to be mine anyway.’’ For financial elder abuse to become a criminal offence, attitudes towards older people, particularly older women, need to change.

– Dr Sarah Russell, Research Matters, Fitzroy North, Vic

Hiding income all too easy in Australia

Michael West’s article (“Conflict of influence”, July 2-8) could not have been more timely. With the major parties getting a bitter taste of grassroots democracy, private power must now work harder to influence political outcomes. Thomas Piketty used census data to expose the increasing inequality of wealth distribution in most European countries. In Australia, such data is harder to obtain. The Henderson Commission of Inquiry into Poverty in Australia made the link between wealth and income transparency. Government officers are now being pressured, by their political masters, to make this link, at best, obscure. The business lobbyists encourage politicians to increase such pressures. But some new senators in our next parliament threaten this wealth conspiracy. Those who sit on their “dragon’s horde” of wealth are feeling afraid, as they awaken from their hubris.

– Greg McKenzie, Chatswood, 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 Jul 16, 2016.

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