Letters to
the editor

Business without conscience

Having read Michael West’s “Getting down to farce tax” (May 13-19) I would like to bring into question the concept of corporate and individual ethics. How can these businesses and individuals justify, through what could be called “creative accounting”, amassing huge revenues in this country but paying virtually no tax in this country? Is this the subject of backslapping around the boardroom table – how clever we’ve been and how we deserve a nice fat bonus? No one is doubting the legality (perhaps in most cases) of these practices. But the people in these entities are enjoying the health and education systems, the roads and other infrastructure and services funded from the public purse to which they make no contribution. How do they sleep at night? I challenge anyone associated with this morally bankrupt practice to justify how they can live in Australia but make very little contribution to the lifestyle they undoubtedly enjoy.

– Ramon Jones, Carcoar, NSW

Get the tax before it’s too late

Michael West’s article highlights the failure of successive governments to ensure an adequate return for this country’s resources. I felt outraged to read about the potential returns for our gas from the petroleum resource rent tax. Inadequate returns now will have potentially disastrous consequences for future generations. There were mutterings about changes to the PRRT in the budget; too hard, maybe? Attempts to justify inaction on this inadequate tax gathering are an even greater outrage. Only when Australians understand how little they are getting for valuable finite resources and they call for action will anything change. Sad to say, I don’t believe we can rely on our politicians to look after anybody but themselves.

– Robert Gubbins, Ashfield, NSW

Lessons from history

At a time most commentators are declaring the old left–right dichotomy dead, Mike Seccombe provides evidence to the contrary. Last week he described the dismemberment of Fairfax (“What the future holds for Fairfax”, May 13-19) and the previous week the Coalition’s funding attack on tertiary education (“The war on universities”, May 6-12). This same period has seen increasingly xenophobic dog-whistling for “traditional values” and other forms of contraction from the government, including Peter Dutton’s applause for Fairfax's disintegration. Surrounding this has been the rise of such crude expressions of conservatism as Trump, Erdoğan, Orbán and Le Pen, who are not much different from the authoritarian personalities of the World War II era. These people share intolerance of diversity and social dynamism, along with a preoccupation with wealth and other means to power. Plus ça change.

John Hayward, Weegena, Tas

Why Get Out is a scary movie

Christos Tsiolkas is a writer second to none in this country, and a dear friend (“Out of Stepford”, May 13-19). It’s always a pleasure to read his film reviews. However, I beg to differ on his assessment of the terror invoked by the film Get Out. The fear here lies in the gaze of the viewer: this is part of the film’s brilliance. Just the set-up alone, a Meet the White Liberal Parents weekend for a black man, had me bone-chilled enough to almost exit the cinema. This film mirrors some of our most disturbing experiences as people of colour with goosebump accuracy. It unearths our most complex and horrifying fears: “becoming” whiteness; the extreme commodification of black skin as wholly dependent on the erasure of blackness. I shall continue to pester Christos about Get Out until he concedes its supreme scariness.

– Maxine Beneba Clarke, Melbourne, Vic

Targeted by new values

I rather liked Lauren Williams’s article, "Values added" (May 6-12), on the new citizenship test questions. However, she understates the savage underhanded attack Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton are mounting. Recently my wife, an Australian citizen of more than 40 years, was asked to “prove” her Australian citizenship to get a new passport, for which she has supplied documentation repeatedly before. Now, it appears, her bona fides are no longer good enough, on the basis of being an immigrant. It also appears from this that the government is targeting those who do not fit their mould. My wife, as a worker and volunteer in community service, has done more to advance Australia and Australian values than any seat-warmer in Canberra. We sought an apology for the appalling treatment, but have not heard a peep.

– Mark Davis, Mooroobool, Qld

Editorial writer identify yourself

Last century I decided newspaper editorials were a pompous anachronism. I know: I’ve written a few. But it does seem gutless to not put a name to them. In the May 13-19 issue a 15-paragraph bucket of bile is tipped on Labor’s clumsy advertisement about “Australians First”. Who wrote it? There’s no signature, byline or attribution. I dug through the notes in six-point on page 2 to discover “Editor Erik Jensen”. Stand up, Erik. Explain yourself. Why do the other pretenders in your rather smug publication get treated to bylines, a one-par description and a mugshot but you are faceless and nameless? You might even tell the truth. How refreshing to see: “The above was slowly tapped out by Erik and his pals Fritz and Ludwilla after a fine bouillabaisse, two bottles of genuine early-season Beaujolais, one of schnapps and a soothing Limoncello, good night and God bless you all.”

– George Williams, Mosman Park, WA

Fairfax’s man of the moment

Not sure whether it was Lex Luthor or Daddy Warbucks sinning your front page on Saturday.

– Terry Bourke, Maitland, 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 May 20, 2017.

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