PM sets the standard
Karen Middleton in her list of Malcolm Turnbull’s “achievements” (“Making sense of his first two years”, September 16-22) fails to emphasise his only real victory. He has managed to hold on to office by pandering to the extreme right wing of his party and appeasing the reactionary and greedy elements of the community. The real issues of the 21st century have been ignored or shelved. The environment and replacing polluting coal with renewable energy sources are pushed aside. There is no social reform; people dependent on welfare benefits are harried and persecuted while tax evaders and exploitative employers waltz free. Universities and the CSIRO lose funds and valuable staff. Many private schools are overfunded while government education is starved of resources. To cap it all, asylum seekers are driven to despair on islands that do not want them. Refugees face unlimited detention in subhuman conditions, deprived of hope and bullied by a minister who is devoid of compassion or human feeling. What a great record as prime minister.
– Gael Barrett, North Balwyn, Vic
Don’t follow US on North Korea
Martin McKenzie-Murray (“It’s possible this man isn’t crazy”, September 9-15) quotes Turnbull as saying: “I remain confident the global community will put more economic pressure on North Korea and that will bring the regime to its senses.” The main threat seems to be that Donald Trump wants to stop China (and presumably anyone else) supplying North Korea with oil. When Roosevelt did that to Japan, the result was the attack on Pearl Harbour, and a deadly assault on the rest of the Western Pacific region to capture Dutch and other oilfields. And Japan did not have an H-bomb. I do not expect Trump to know anything except the dollar, but after losing wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and the war on terror in Afghanistan, while slavishly obeying their American masters at the cost of thousands of Australian lives, I should expect an Australian government to recognise at last the US hasn’t a clue about international affairs. One might think a government that talks about almost nothing but squeezing the poor to balance the budget would not want to spend even more dollars. It might even have some sympathy for the allegedly famine-ridden poor of North Korea, or are they to be sacrificed like asylum seekers?
– Terry Stanton, Tinonee, NSW
Climate sceptics in our government
Thank you, Mike Seccombe. The article on the shameful failure of the Coalition to make any progress in bringing about a genuine move towards a reduction in our emissions was as good a piece of journalism on this overwhelming issue as I have read in the past 20-odd years (“Climate stalling both here and in America”, September 16-22). The article left me with the disturbing feeling that many in this government are simply not playing with a full deck on the questions of climate change and renewable energy. But why? A spokesman from the Institute of Public Affairs is quoted as saying that “a majority of Liberal Party members are ‘solid sceptics’ about the science of climate change”. We are hopefully talking here about seemingly competent people who yet blindly reject the science. I don’t believe it. They can’t be that stupid. Every national science academy and university in the world has totally endorsed the known science of anthropogenic climate change and the crisis that confronts us. So for members of the Coalition to remain climate sceptics is to suggest we need a basic IQ test of the entire government. Or perhaps there is some other reason for this irrationally heroic support of the polluting coal industry? And then there is Turnbull, who pontificates: “I will not lead a party that is not as committed to effective action on climate change as I am.” Probably a good line for his headstone.
– David Payne, Bermagui, NSW
Riders on the storm
The PM and I have one thing in common. We both love our grandchildren and want the best for them and all future generations. Where we part is how we believe scientists and climate experts warning about the need to make changes now. How many extreme tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts and floods do we need to experience before the realisation that perhaps the experts are right? If we fail to take notice, what then? A question our governments seem loath to even consider.
– Joan Lynn, Williamstown, Vic
Pick and mix on women
Jane Caro (“Entrappings of high office”, September 16-22) puts forward facts, some she qualifies as evidence, showing women in power are automatically seen as illegitimate; they are wrongly in a man’s world and will fail in leadership. It’s a credible proposition but there’s a lot of cherrypicking of evidence to outline the problem she presents as entrenched. So how does Angela Merkel “survive” in Germany? She is likely to win a fourth term. When she met Trump, their press conference showed a confident Merkel and a sulking Trump. Donald seemed lost when he couldn’t do his “You Jane, me Tarzan” routine with her. And Caro made no mention of Jenny Shipley or Helen Clark, both relatively successful prime ministers of New Zealand. The “failures” got the article’s focus.
– Des Files, Brunswick, Vic
Make it a royal occasion
St Matthew’s Anglican Church in Albury would be glad to help out the Ballarat couple dumped over their support for marriage equality. St Matthew’s has a long aisle, glorious garden and the pulpit used at Westminster Abbey for the wedding of George VI and Elizabeth the queen mother.
– Archdeacon Peter Macleod-Miller, Albury, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Sep 23, 2017.
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