Letters to
the editor

Links between acts of violence

Martin McKenzie-Murray (“A history of violence”, June 24-30) raises the interesting possibility of a link between domestic violence and jihadism. While this may be complicated by a million other factors, what it highlights is the need to take any kind of violence seriously. Man Haron Monis, for example, was charged with multiple sexual assault incidents involving multiple victims, and there was the possibility that he may have engineered the murder of his ex-wife. Yet, he was out on bail. Surely one of the lessons of the Lindt cafe siege is that these charges of violence against women constituted strong evidence for his “propensity” to commit violent acts. Sadly, there was a failure to protect, precisely because violence against women is legally and socially minimised.

– Tracey Jarvis, Mona Vale, NSW

When rationality goes out the window

Things must be tough on the starboard side of politics when three conservative ministers, all law school graduates, move from dog-whistling their anxious rabble to spearheading it (Mike Seccombe, “The Coalition’s war on the law”, June 24-30). As such, their attacks on the Victorian judiciary, which were conspicuously lacking in detached and systematic reasoning, clearly resembled demagoguery rather than populism. In their defence, it could only be argued they are as manipulated by the frightened impulses of their amygdala as any lynch mob. Despite their traditional claim to a monopoly on calm and detached rationality, their hostility to inevitable climate change sacrifices and acceptance of the ruinous costs of their exported xenophobia suggests they are edging into a zone of mass psychopathology not seen for decades.

– John Hayward, Weegena, Tas

Options for discarded law tomes

Cambridge University Press’s law catalogue lists many interesting titles on human rights, international humanitarian law, energy politics, climate justice, judicial review of counterterrorism legislation, adjudication in refugee and asylum status et cetera (Gadfly, “Throwing away the book”, June 24-30). Perhaps the University of Sydney law library’s Cambridge University Press books could be “rehomed” with George “Bookshelves” Brandis: they would make impressive wallpaper, or he could lend them out to his parliamentary lawyer colleagues, who clearly haven’t read a book since they left university.

– Gayle Davies, North Sydney, NSW

Loving thy neighbour, not coal

I admire Richard Ackland as a journalist who tackles with aplomb the social and environmental issues in Australia and raises the ethics of some of our leaders whose private faith and public stances are often in conflict. However, he should be careful not to tar all people of faith with a love of coal or incarceration of innocent refugees. Unfortunately, and erroneously, Richard as Gadfly (“Burning the fossil record”, June 17-23) tars all Christians with the same brush. He says, “It’s almost a given that those who believe in God also believe in coal.” As a lawyer, he has a responsibility to state the facts. As a journalist, he should just write, “Some Christians can be guilty of misinterpreting the teachings of the Bible.” Jesus commands His followers to “love our neighbours as ourselves” and our neighbour is anyone in need. It is God’s responsibility to bring the judgement, and that judgement is, “Have you done the will of Jesus Christ?”

– Antony Ault, Rose Bay, Tas

English delivery taken out of context

Great work Santilla Chingaipe (“Unsettling changes”, June 24-30) in bringing readers’ attention to the other side of the coin regarding testing migrants’ English, namely the current downgrading and disruption of the already meagre provision for people to learn English. The termination of an exemplary Melbourne program was described, which had included invaluable opportunities for refugee youth to integrate with and contribute to the wider society, such as learning umpiring with the Western Bulldogs and performing their own work at La Mama Theatre. Ironically, the program’s end is concurrent with a parliamentary inquiry into “antisocial behaviour” by so-called “migrant youth”.

– Helen Moore, Cook, ACT

Shining a light on opportunities

It is preposterous that Resources and Northern Territory Minister Matt Canavan would publicly state on Sky News: “There is a whole, in my view, ignorant and ill-informed campaign against fossil fuels and mining more generally across our country, and that puts at great risk our wealth because so much of our wealth comes from our natural resources.” (Karen Middleton, “Final chapter in Adani loan deal”, June 24-30). Instead of dismissing Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s clean energy target, Canavan should be running the numbers on what a $1 billion solar panel field will generate in Northern Territory sunshine (take off a couple of days for the occasional cyclone). This, too, is a natural resource, Matt, not to mention an incredible employment opportunity with manufacturing and technology benefits.  

– Ian Ossher, Dover Heights, NSW

Biting response

Bill Shorten’s true initials are WS, innocuous, whereas Scott Morrison’s coincidentally call to mind sadomasochism, perhaps apt (The Week, June 24-30). The treasurer may well reflect.

– Rod Milliken, Greenwell Point, 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 July 1, 2017.

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