Letters to
the editor

Where’s the will to share the wealth?

Mike Seccombe’s “Charting the war on young people” (March 4-10) shows how the case for or against penalty rates can be a diversion from the broader issues of intergenerational inequity and the exploitation of labour by capital. Not only have wages been stagnant while company profits have risen, jobseekers are even expected to wait in absolute poverty for the dole or to provide unpaid labour, so-called “internships” previously known as slavery. Neither of the major parties appears to have the courage or the integrity to address these long-term issues of inequity. If governments do not protect the vulnerable, there is no point in having a democracy.

– Mark Porter, New Lambton, NSW

Penalty rates needed to break even

My son, like many, lives away from home supporting himself through work in hospitality. There is a break-even figure he needs to earn each week to pay his rent and other living expenses to maintain his independence. If he gets enough hours of work he can save a little money. As a consequence, working on Sundays is crucially important to his welfare. A cut in Sunday penalty rates will mean that he has to hope for an increase in the number of hours he works to make his break-even point. If his employers offer him the extra hours he needs, then those hours are not being used to employ others, therefore no rise in employment. If he isn’t offered any extra hours to make up for the cut to his pay, then he must find a second job, which will only increase competition among the unemployed and underemployed. Anyone who has ever visited the United States knows that low wages are subsidised by consumers in the form of customary tips. Is this where we are eventually headed?

– John Bailey, Canterbury, NSW

Baby boomers not the bogymen

I agree there is inequality of wealth across the developed world, throughout the world in fact, and I agree young folk are getting a raw deal, but come on, Mike Seccombe, why blame baby boomers? I am so tired of all this baby boomer bashing and I find it both arrogant and ignorant in the assumption that your experiences are representative of the experiences of all baby boomers. Why do journalists persist in generational generalisations, and in peddling generational envy?

– Chris Regan, Winmalee, NSW

Turnbull warrants those rotten polls

It is particularly unhelpful for the prime minister to blame the government’s poor Newspoll showing on Tony Abbott’s interventions (Paul Bongiorno, “Divide and Stonker”, March 4-10). Malcolm Turnbull would be better served focusing on areas where policy is seriously adrift, such as housing affordability and climate change. Or on such debacles as the Centrelink debt recovery scheme and the Fair Work Commission’s ruling on Sunday penalty rates. This later problem might well be the “independent” umpire’s decision, but as a policy long championed by the government and its business allies, it is highly disingenuous for Turnbull not to own it. The federal government ignores the waning gravitas of neoliberalism and continues the theme of the hugely unpopular 2014 budget – bash the poor – and is unpopular because of its policies, not because of the outlandish public commentary of its previous leader.

– Dave Lisle, Mullumbimby, NSW

Setting the Lin tragedy straight

I refer to Miriam Cosic’s report of the Lin murders case (“Family tatters”, March 4-10). I only wish to correct one inaccuracy. Brenda Lin disclosed to me what her uncle had been doing after the murders about one week before she was due to give evidence in 2014. I had been involved in supporting her for several years and she had become close to other members of my family as well. She revealed this information in a conversation with my wife and I at a weekend. I did not report the matter immediately to the court, as Ms Cosic reported. Such hearsay evidence would have been inadmissible, and it would in any event have been a breach of confidence. Rather, over the next few days of talking through the issues, Brenda came to the point where she felt she could make this disclosure herself in the form of a statement, which I took. It was then relayed to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the police. As a consequence, the defence asked for a mistrial, which the judge granted, given the potential significance of the new evidence.

– Professor Patrick Parkinson, AM, Camperdown, NSW

Leave out reference to sexuality

Maybe I missed something, but in Guy Rundle’s otherwise excellent comment piece (“Loves labour’s lost”, March 4-10), I could not see the relevance of labelling Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, as an “ ‘out’ lesbian”. Even if she is “out” and self-identifies with this term, of what relevance was this to the article? I notice no other politician’s sexuality was referred to.

– Kerry Mullan, Kensington, Vic

Just the puzzle for The Saturday Paper

Thanks from a first-time reader. Mungo MacCallum’s cryptic crossword was the essence of a small but powerful weekend paper. It wasn’t imported and show-offy, I could do it alone over lunch and there were so many laughs in his word grid I didn’t need the funnies as well. The journos’ articles covered all bases too. Keep them coming.

– Jan Hogarth, St Lucia, Qld

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 March 11, 2017.

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