Minister’s bait and switch
Thank you for coverage on refugees and Karen Middleton’s article (“Deadline betrayal”, May 27-June 2). I could scream, however, at the mainstream media’s willingness to play the “look over there” game. Yes, announcing the deadline for asylum seekers to submit claims serves no apparent practical purpose. It nicely labelled those not previously allowed to put in their claims as probably con artists. Rather than guess the immigration minister’s motives, therefore, let’s just look at timing and effect. The Papua New Guinean authorities and those on the ground have rejected Peter Dutton’s claims about yet another life-threatening attack on detainees. It comes after his attempt to discredit detainees has been shown to be unwarranted and in the week when the senate is examining the incident. We have just learnt the illegal (according to PNG) centre is being demolished with no resolution of the fate of the people there. We know how difficult it can be to get two stories on related subjects to run in the media. Lo and behold Manus Island is now off the Australian media radar. Your coverage has been hugely important. Keep blipping, Saturday Paper.
– Annette Green, via email
Dickson has solution for Dutton
Mr Dutton dumps on the refugees and asylum seekers and he dumps on Australia’s most respected public-funded ABC (Editorial, “Tinfoil witch trials”, May 27-June 2). He thinks Q&A is a waste of taxpayers’ money and doesn’t like the direction it’s given by Tony Jones. Well, I think Mr Dumpon is a waste of taxpayers’ money and I don’t like the direction he is taking on refugees, asylum seekers and the ABC, and I would exhort all those in his electorate to do Australia a big favour and “dump” him in the next election.
– Les Lloyd, Noosaville, Qld
Ode to Schapelle
Oh, Schapelle, I love you
With your bright blue eyes
And your ambiguity
Your cage of freedom
A catherine wheel spinning
Sympathy and contempt
We came for you
With cameras on poles
Your head on a spike
And you played us for chumps
Instagram heaven awaits
Laneways of roses and potato chips
I even like it that the dogs you left
Were so ugly
– Hugh Riminton, Pyrmont, NSW
A warning from ancient Greece
One would have hoped the name “Plutus” for one of their subcontractors handling hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money might have raised at least one eyebrow at the Australian Taxation Office (Mike Seccombe, “The adventures of Plutus cash”, May 27-June 2). Plutus, the Greek god of wealth, was, after all, a leading character in the Aristophanes satire on corruption in ancient Athens. But then again, no one seems much bothered by the brimming store of Peter Dutton statements that read like a textbook profile of the authoritarian personality. Along with his visceral hostility to those whose views he doesn’t share, his wife has admitted he sees things in a kind of Manichean monochrome, i.e. black and white. After Trump, we should probably be more careful.
– John Hayward, Weegena, Tas
Work changes not immigrants’ fault
Con Vaitsas’s points are well made (Letters, “We need to talk about immigration”, May 27-June 2), but the connection government and commentators on the topic don’t like to make is the inexorable rates of de-skilling being experienced in many areas. This, if everyone is honest about it and wanting to start solving it, leads on to discussion of a universal basic income of some sort, rather than robodebting those who find themselves in need of assistance. Tim Dunlop’s Why the Future Is Workless at least tries to bring this discussion up to date, and to expose the issue to debate. Immigrants, if we’re not careful – and independent of arrival levels/rates – can easily become scapegoats for the effects of an underlying dynamic to which they do not bear a causal relationship. Oh, but they’re an easy target when it comes to an election.
– Paul Keig, Wahroonga, NSW
Holding on to Turnbull
I was astonished to read in Paul Bongiorno’s excellent article (“Shorten given Albo room”, May 27-June 2), that Peter Dutton could be in line for the leadership of the Liberal Party. Is this the same Peter Dutton described in a survey of 1100 doctors as the worst minister for health in 35 years? Is this the same Peter Dutton who as minister for immigration has presided over the most inhumane treatment of asylum seekers in recent history? Is the party so bereft of talent this incompetent minister could seriously be considered as an alternative leader? It is little wonder that, in spite of his lacklustre performance, the party is still clinging to Malcolm Turnbull as leader. The alternative is too frightening to contemplate.
– Arvi Biela, Gordon, ACT
By the time I get to Wichita
I was looking for some “light relief” after articles on the Sydney siege, a $165 million tax fraud, Dutton’s deadline, The Donald’s world tour and the Dutton editorial. Fortunately, former Hoodoo Gurus frontman Dave Faulkner didn’t disappoint with his piece on Jimmy Webb looking back (“Wichita lines man”, May 27-June 2). A fascinating insight into the brilliance of a man who wrote the songs that pressed the soundtrack of my life.
– Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jun 3, 2017. Subscribe here.