Letters to
the editor

WikiLeaks and the US election

While your front-page story (Martin McKenzie-Murray, “What is going on with Assange?”, October 29-November 4) was quick to criticise Julian Assange, and accuse him of “carrying Putin’s water”, the article offered no positive proof that the Clinton email hack was carried out by Russia. This allegation is a Democratic National Committee smokescreen to divert attention from the very damning contents of those emails. To suspect that, “like the Kremlin he favours Trump”, is to present two speculations for which there is absolutely no proof. It is more likely that, like many of us, Assange is very unexcited about both major party candidates. However, it is important people make an informed choice, and Assange should not be pilloried for telling the truth.

– Joy Ringrose, Pomona, Qld


More of the same

Can anyone think of a single thing the government has done since Christmas? I’m struggling. No doubt this lack of activity is feeding into voters’ disappointment in Malcolm Turnbull (Paul Bongiorno, “Power of disappointment”, October 29-November 4). The year started with lots of confident speeches about how great it was to be alive – but nothing much happened because we needed to put everything “on the table” before the budget. Having laid out all the mouth-watering possibilities, they then decided it was pretty much a dog’s breakfast, so we ended up with a budget that promised little and did less. What next? It seemed we then needed an election. And not just any old election, a double-dissolution election. Predictably, the election changed absolutely nothing, apart from raising from their graves the undead One Nation zombies. That went well. And since then? Pretty much nothing. Literally. If they stick to their current calendar, the senate will have sat for 42 days this year and the reps 50. Now that’s productivity.

– Marc Sassella, Coledale, NSW


PM wrong on ban plan

I didn’t think it was possible for Malcolm Turnbull to sink any further in the popularity stakes, but his latest pronouncements on asylum seekers are really scraping the bottom of the barrel. And endorsements from people such as Pauline Hanson are hardly the ones I would be seeking. So let us start having special classes at school on the meaning of compassion before this word disappears from our lexicon altogether.

– Jim Banks, Pottsville Beach, NSW

Will Labor do the right thing?

I remember when Kim Beazley decided that it was too difficult to stand up to the Howard government when the Tampa picked up asylums seekers from a sinking boat. I fervently believe the Labor Party lost its moral compass at that point. I wonder if they have the moral compass now to stop the disgusting legislation Turnbull has announced banning any refugee/asylum seeker on Manus and Nauru from ever having the audacity to try to come to Australia, assuming they survive.

– Joan Lynn, Williamstown, Vic

Garrett misses out role of others

Peter Garrett’s aspiration for Labor to centralise around the environment (“Environmental pressure”, October 29-November 4) is admirable, but his reflections conveniently ignore reality. Mr Garrett’s text is almost fictitious in its singly focused depiction of former PM Whitlam’s role in protection of the Great Barrier Reef (former PM Malcolm Fraser got protection across the line). Also, he skips reality on the carbon price under PM Gillard. This was a truly great initiative but (remember “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead”) the Greens got that back on the agenda, were key in the design, and got it across the line. The Hawke government did wonderful things in environmental protection, but you only need look at what Graham Richardson had to say in his recollections to realise it was primarily about politics not party integrity on the environment.

– Michael Noble, Preston, Tas

Answering call on environment

Way back in the time of Gough Whitlam, I joined the ALP. That I was young and idealistic could perhaps be sheeted home, a decade earlier, to the privilege I saw, and questioned, as a resident of a university college in Sydney. I lasted only some 10 years as a party member as I had no interest in a political career, and Malcolm Fraser had seemingly become entrenched. But the idealism remains. Now in my later 70s, I find Labor disappointing and the only serious alternative, the Greens, stuck at 10 per cent. So it was with something akin to a frisson that I read Peter Garrett’s piece in which he urged the ALP to bite the bullet and develop an unequivocally radical and differentiated environment policy. Saving our Barrier Reef; a decline in coal production; focusing on renewable energies – the people are ready for this now. As they may well also be ready for a compassionate approach to the long-term detainees on Nauru and Manus. I desperately need a reason to vote for Labor – not merely against the meanness of the Coalition.

– Ian Nowak, Subiaco, WA

Justice for Human Rights Commissioner

Your editorial (“Triggs warring”, October 22-28) regarding the error made by Gillian Triggs in relation to an interview in your paper was a gracious acceptance of her apology. Personal attacks on her by this government, including Christopher Pyne’s latest comment that she should “stay out of politics and stick with human rights”, are unacceptable and intended to make her position untenable. She is an outstanding human rights advocate and your editorial’s acceptance of her retraction is in itself a fine example of journalistic integrity.

– Vicky Marquis, Glebe, 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 Nov 5, 2016. Subscribe here.