Letters to
the editor

Are you reading this, prime minister?

Thank you for your accurate, strong and forceful editorial comments regarding the Minister for Immigration, Peter Dutton (“National disgrace”, September 2-8). It would be excellent if the prime minister read and then acted on your words, but sadly I doubt if this government cares a jot about the welfare of the people seeking asylum for whom it is responsible, but whom it cynically uses to retain power. Like many in our community, I am saddened and very ashamed of our current policies regarding all asylum seekers, but especially those who arrived, or tried to arrive, by boat. No doubt in future years we will consider those policies and actions in the way we now view institutional child abuse – how could we have let it happen? Thank you for all your writing in relation to the plight of asylum seekers.

– Katherine Rechtman, North Carlton, Vic

The origin of ‘unAustralian’ jibe

I congratulate you on the clarity of your editorial assessment of the performance of Peter Dutton.

The term unAustralian is a jejune description brought into currency by a jejune prime minister some years ago. Its purpose was to demonise those trying to invoke a sense of fairness. Dutton’s recourse to that term only continues its disreputable use. I believe most Australians can sniff out unfairness. I trust that is more than a fond hope. Therefore, Dutton should be seen as a disgrace, and the prime minister’s eulogy of him testament to the low levels to which political discourse has sunk.

– Peter Wigney, Pakenham, Vic

Questions on Hamed’s treatment

Lauren Williams (“Dead refugee asked to go home”, September 2-8) sheds more light on the tragic, avoidable death of Hamed Shamshiripour. Williams exposes gross dereliction of duty by the minister and officials responsible for the safe custody of prisoners held on Manus Island. It is reasonable to ask why, given Hamed’s mental state, his request to be returned to Iran was not accepted; why, given evidence of his beatings, he was not removed for his own protection and given suitable medical help; and just why Hamed’s body has not been returned to his family. Yes, minister, I am ashamed Hamed’s death was done in my name and in the knowledge of your officials.

– John H. Bennett, Dingabledinga, SA

Churches the next target

What an irony it is that the Coalition For Marriage wants to prevent 10 per cent of the population from marrying (Sean Kelly, “Welcome to the ‘No’ case”, September 2-8). When Christian conservatives such as John Howard take the reins of power, the improvement of people’s lives is set back decades. In spite of all of the obstacles they have thrown up, marriage equality will get up. Many law-abiding people are tired of the religious views of zealots being used as an excuse to force their opinions on others. You don’t have to be gay to support gay marriage – just fair-minded. Another irony is the claiming of victim status, and lack of funds, by the church forces behind the “No” vote. The Catholic Church alone turns over $16 billion a year in Australia, and pays no taxes. Once gay marriage and voluntary euthanasia have been won, taxing the profits of religious groups will be next. That’s progress.

– Joy Ringrose, Pomona, Qld

Christians not being given a fair go

I like The Saturday Paper, indeed all Schwartz Media publications, because they investigate issues for the most part thoughtfully, rationally and with a sense of fairness. However, in the case of the same-sex marriage debate, journalists appear to have a bias against Christians, often distorting their arguments. There is plenty of evidence that those with a Christian view of marriage are being unfairly targeted, not only in the media, but by large companies in favour of same-sex marriage for commercial reasons. The Saturday Paper and The Monthly have failed to ensure the Christian side is fairly presented. The Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, Richard Condie, in his recent letter, says the Christian view of marriage is based on the Bible: “At the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female’  ” and “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh.” Also the prayer book sets out the purpose of marriage as procreation, as a remedy against sin and fornication, and for mutual support. Christians want to be obedient to Christ’s teaching and believe this is still the best model. They are committed to full equality for homosexual people under the law, which we have in Australia. Finally, the bishop encourages us to express our views as our conscience directs, not as our bishop dictates.

– Antony Ault, Rose Bay, Tas

Calculating Tony Abbott’s pay

In addition to $120,000 in travel expenses (Paul Bongiorno, “Climbing the greasy poll”, September 2-8), Tony Abbott is paid more than $200,000 a year to “represent” the people of Warringah. He seems to spend his time undermining the prime minister and pushing his parochial agenda.

 – Michael Paine, Beacon Hill, NSW

Ken Loach exposes parallel universes

The review of God’s Own Country by Christos Tsiolkas (“Country discomfit”, September 2-8) takes a shot at the Ken Loach film I, Daniel Blake for “soppiness ... antithetical to realist aesthetics”. The worlds Tsiolkas creates (The Slap, Barracuda) are not very relatable to me, but entering unfamiliar experiences is what the creative imagination is for. I have no trouble believing Loach’s protagonist does not use a computer (no, not even for porn; besides, magazines are not yet dead). Even the grittiest reality has its finer and coarser grains. I, Daniel Blake is an important film and any social worker or policy advocate will confirm it does not lack realism.

– Kathy Landvogt, McKinnon, Vic

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 September 9, 2017.

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