More to Menzies’ legacy
Gadfly’s shortlist of Robert Menzies’ achievements (“Ming ding”, July 15-21) omitted his gift of $5 million to Tasmania’s Reece Labor government in 1965 to bulldoze a road into the south-west wilderness. Via that road the Hydro-Electric Commission destroyed the astoundingly beautiful Lake Pedder National Park. Perhaps sorrowful of Menzies’ misguided largesse, Tony Abbott has since called for Lake Pedder to be restored. And so say all of us.
– Bob Brown, Cygnet, Tas
Denying the scourge of racism
After reading your editorial “Race to the bottom” from the July 15-21 edition, I am even more convinced that the prescription to help cure the onset of the fatal virus is for more people to stay clear of the likes of Prue MacSween and other so-called “social commentators” et al in the faint hope nobody will take notice of them.
– Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
Educate youth to stop sickness
I completely agree with the three readers responding to your editorial last week (“Force of Abbott”, July 8-14). It is uplifting and encouraging to read your accurate and truthful evaluation of Tony Abbott and his career in politics. The claim that he was a good opposition leader – some lunatics even suggest he was the “best ever” – is so far from the mark, it is pathetic. To have the high point of one’s political career based on destroying the efforts of others is a shame not a triumph. And when I thought an editorial could not get better, “Race to the bottom” appeared this week. Yesterday I had to listen to someone railing, “They just don’t fit in ... next we’ll have sharia law” et cetera, et cetera. I hope we don’t “remain sick”. I hope voices will rise up and remind us that Australia has transformed into a much more vibrant and interesting society since it became multicultural. We need to make serious changes to reverse this race to the bottom, expressed in the hysteria of hatred spewing from the mouths of too many players in the commercial media, supported, if not encouraged by their bosses and owners. This was illustrated so perfectly by the examples you quoted from Sky News and 2GB. Many schools are working hard to this end and, hopefully, when these teenagers are adults, the majority will not accept this right-wing, ugly and destructive propaganda.
– Louisa Jordan, Galston, NSW
Days of reckoning
Gerard Henderson’s letter (“Commission’s Catholic focus questioned”, July 15-21) shows that he still doesn’t get it. The proportion of time given by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to the Catholic Church vis-a-vis the Uniting Church is not an issue of substance. The issue of substance is whether either church takes responsibility for the sexual abuse of children in their care. Tortured efforts to deflect would suggest no responsibility has been taken.
– Mark Porter, New Lambton, NSW
Comparison with Curtis Cheng case
On October 2, 2015, Curtis Cheng, an accountant with the NSW Police, was murdered. This was referred to as an act of terrorism. Why then was the murder of New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage officer Glen Turner by Ian Turnbull not considered as an act of terrorism? (Tanya M. Howard, “Farm clash”, July 15-21). Was it not intended to spread fear among the public servants who were implementing the NSW government’s legislation? Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and the others who didn’t condemn Turnbull’s actions were condoning this act of terrorism. The NSW government now is giving into terrorism by watering down the tree-clearing laws.
– Terence Gilmour, Pozieres, Qld
Water depletion also critical
Tanya M. Howard contends that the forthcoming coronial inquest on the murder of Glen Turner will bring out the facts in this case. Let’s hope this sheds more light on the despicable murder of an environmental officer merely doing his job on the North West Slopes of NSW. As implied by Tanya M. Howard, I share doubts over honest self-regulation by landholders with self-interest at stake. The same water users have formed an unholy alliance with the Greens in opposing the extraction of coal seam gas, contending that this will damage the largest underground water resource in Australia, the Great Artesian Basin. Let’s remember that the same landholders have been “mining” the Great Artesian Basin for the past 140 years. Some 5000 bores have been sunk with the flowing water largely being wasted through delivery along extensive “bore drains”. This has resulted in the failure of about one-third of the bores as the resource is depleted. The landholders are now relying on government subsidies to reduce water losses in the “bore drains”. So can these same landowners be trusted on “self-regulation” when it comes to illegal tree-clearing with considerable financial gains at stake?
– Peter S. Smith, Soldiers Point, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jul 22, 2017. Subscribe here.