Letters to
the editor

Refugee agreement not for US

It was terrific to have a factual historical description from Jane McAdam on the UN Refugee Convention (“Conventional thinking”, November 19-25). Clearly it was an additional pleasure not to have the tainted opinions of the likes of Peter Dutton and Pauline Hanson to add toxicity to the facts. McAdam did not add the fact that the United States has not ratified the convention, presumably as at the time it was incorporated in 1951 the US felt that all refugees were intending to flood America. However with hindsight the US is very selective in what it signs at the UN, rejecting the International Criminal Court, the Moon Treaty and Land Mine Treaty among 30 others.

– Rob Park, Surrey Hills, Vic

SA government fixed on nuclear dump

Is it any wonder people feel angry? The reason is clear from Mike Seccombe’s article (“Unpopular demand”, November 19-25). A citizen jury, brought about by the South Australian premier, weighed the evidence and decided against a nuclear dump under any circumstance, stating they had no faith in government assurances. Government consultants were seen as not independent, and aligned with miners. Economic numbers didn’t stack up. Incredibly, the royal commissioner then declared the jury didn’t get “a sensible answer”, and Premier Jay Weatherill stated that “abandoning the concept was unlikely”, citing this as “a massive issue of trust” needing “more consultation”. Surely anger results from arrogant assumptions that spin won’t be identified, that no one will see jurors being asked for recommendations based on informed deliberation only to then be condescendingly dismissed. Leadership is not about manipulating citizens when government gets the answer it didn’t expect.

 – Gil Anaf, Norwood, SA

Republicans now face true test

It is fair to say that most Democrats and most Republicans are good people who live by their own interpretations of a moral code and by a vision of what is best for America (Martin McKenzie-Murray, “The blank face of a new America”; editorial, “Faceless man”, November 12-18). Donald Trump does not necessarily represent these people’s views; he is a Frankensteinian creature produced by an underclass of dispossessed and alienated Americans whose American Dream is a perpetual nightmare of poverty and disillusionment. In this, Democrats and Republicans are both to blame for Trump’s win. They have treated these people with lack of interest at best or contempt at worst for far too long.

The true test for the Republicans, who control both houses, will be whether they have the moral fortitude to resist the extremes of the moral decrepitude into which their country has slid, which underpins Trump’s win and may well characterise his legislative agenda.

– Chris Dockrill, Crescent Head, NSW

Finding a positive message

Your front page replaced Donald Trump’s face with a “void into which hope might be projected” and there has been no shortage of ideas as to what form such hope might take. Messrs Abbott and Bernardi ignored the radical contradiction between their traditional Christian family values and Trump’s actions. They see Trump’s victory as vindication of everything stupid or offensive they have ever said. Abbott even recognised in a Trump presidency further proof that climate change is a hoax. On radio he bludgeoned Labor’s plans for renewable energy, which – you guessed it – will bankrupt Australia. Yet there are positive signs. If it is true that Trump’s supporters take him seriously but not literally, then there is as much hope in the resonance of his message about inequality and a broken system as there is despair about the traction of his hyper-chauvinism.

– Dave Lisle, Mullumbimby, NSW

Move on ICAC not the people’s choice

How gullible does the Coalition government of New South Wales consider our people to be? What an insult to everyone in the state who has even an inkling of respect for honest dealings within public systems and legal financial systems (Editorial, “Blunting democracy”, November 19-25). The line-up of forgetful, resentful and obviously having-no-conscience types of individuals who appear at the hearings consider themselves much too important to ever be questioned by the brilliant counsel the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) fortunately has working for the people of this state. The shock jocks and compliant press have been howling for vengeance, demanding Megan Latham be sacked and no doubt many of her staff – quite a few have already been sacked by the Baird government. The big boys and girls in industry as well as others in government who do have any dealings to keep secret will no doubt have a satisfied smirk on their faces. The ordinary people of this state will be the real losers, looking with disbelief at the actions of this Baird government and those in the upper house too weak or too implicated to bring this pending protection racket for the privileged to a stop and leave ICAC with its full powers. ICAC was put in place to protect the people of NSW. Watch closely the action of everyone concerned with its fate, take notice, and you be the judge.

– Russell Schatz, Narrabri, NSW

Taken to task

Jill Stark’s excellent essay (“White Ribbon splits on direction”, November 19-25) contains the words: “a display of military might at the epicentre of political power”. Epicentre (a seismological term) has recently become a journalist’s buzzword, probably because it sounds far more impressive than centre, which is what they really mean. The Greek prefix “epi” denotes the sense of above, or near, or upon. The centre itself is always where the action is.

– Ian Nowak, Subiaco, WA

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 November 26, 2016.

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