It would seem many of the disillusioned would seek any semblance of a leadership voice even if that voice skips all the qualifications regarding the authentic part of that role. Barry Jones’s essay “The Courage Party” (February 11-17) provided for me some momentary respite, a calming concise collection of observations and alternatives from someone who possesses at least a combination of knowledge regarding political history, the wisdom that comes of experience, and the promotion of evidence in decision-making. I am fearful of the extra burden and responsibility placed upon me and my colleagues as an educational leader of a public high school in a disenfranchised suburban community, sitting in the shadows of the rapidly rising accidental wealth of nearby landowners. I find myself shielding and at the same time preparing our young people to counter the extremes of the rhetoric and the frightening consequences that they will inevitably have to deal with. In recent times, authentic brave and moral leadership across the world has fallen by the wayside. This is evidenced in the praising of politicians when they fire off personal attacks; the complete abandonment of values and the science; baseless arguments, signalling out of minorities, rampant unchecked ego, all of which is the very antithesis of everything we teach. The thinking behind an alternative model as Barry Jones wrote is one encouraging breath beyond the sighs.
– Ted Noon, Lugarno, NSW
Barry Jones outlined two compelling, confronting options for a possible new political force in Australia. However, he is surprisingly silent on the possibility that The Australian Greens already exists as the “party of courage”. Within the limitations of minimal resources (especially compared with the old parties) and a largely hostile or indifferent media, I can almost cut and paste Barry’s words to describe The Australian Greens’ policies as “essentially evidence-based ... emphasise finding solutions ... to refugees, a new taxation system, a post-carbon economy, biota sustainability, needs-based funding for education, ending toxic political culture”. And there is no doubt that The Australian Greens is led and peopled by “courageous people prepared to sacrifice time, effort, money and thought, driven by strong convictions, knowledge and ethics”.
– Adrienne Farago, Sawtell, NSW
Thank you, Geoff Pryor, for your lucid and succinct portrayal of why it is still taking so long to call to account the perpetrators of this evil, systemic practice (Letters & Editorial, “Preying again?”, February 11-17). The Vatican and our all-too-silent federal politicians should hang their collective heads in shame, especially those who like to flaunt their “Christianity”. The existence of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is a lasting tribute to Julia Gillard.
– Elizabeth Chandler, Napoleon Reef, NSW
Congratulations on an article that articulates the dilemma for rural and regional Australia (Claire Connelly, “Country discomfort”, February 4-10). On the face of it, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s suggestion prospective home owners move to the country has some merit. Country Australia is full of resilient, clever and productive people. It’s also suffering the impacts of globalisation, funding cuts, the digital revolution and deep government neglect. The “economic exclusion” the article described could be overcome if the federal government had a plan for rural and regional Australia. With the right vision, infrastructure and support, rural and regional Australia is ready to play a significant role in the solution to the housing crisis and job creation. I introduced a private member’s bill to the federal parliament last year calling for detailed and meaningful regional statements to be made public with each budget and midyear update. The call to the prime minister is: allow this bill to be debated and adopted, for the good of all Australians.
– Cathy McGowan, federal member for Indi, Wangaratta, Vic
I agree the One Nation party is not the same as that of 20 years ago (Karen Middleton, “Making sense of the New Right”, February 11-17). Accordingly, I have discarded my 40-foot barge pole and obtained one 60 feet long.
– Jim Banks, Pottsville Beach, NSW
I am no fan of One Nation but I hope the government does not try to recover Rod Culleton’s salary and expenses. The former senator provided the most enjoyable entertainment in the history of Australian politics. His press conferences were priceless.
– Simon Squires, Hornsby, NSW
The möbius strip, the infinity symbol devised by a mathematician, and the ABC’s logo do share some visual traits. Maxine Beneba Clarke (“Watching you, watching me”, February 11-17) writes of the “familiar infinity-sign-on-steroids logo” that signposts the ABC’s headquarters. As much as we wish the ABC to continue forever, its logo is based on the waveforms of an oscilloscope. It is a variant of the vibratory figure discerned by the physicist Lissajous. A ratio of 2:1 gives the infinity symbol. The ABC chose the designer’s ratio of 3:1. These three figures have their own exclusive identities and long may they reign, but not in myth.
– Bridget Jolly, Clapham, SA
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