Letters to
the editor

US to benefit from refugees

Ray Hadley recently said the refugees going to the United States were dressed as if on a catwalk (Editorial, “Talk of shame”, September 30-October 6). I wonder who Peter Dutton is speaking to when he replies, “We didn’t ask people to hop on the boats.” In this sentence he reduces the actions of desperate people, the majority of whom have been acknowledged as refugees by the rules and regulations of his department, to people on a joy ride. It reveals his attitude to human rights and his steadfast resistance to showing any sympathy for, and knowledge of, asylum seekers. Having a well-founded fear of persecution is irrespective of how well off you are. In reality, those with a better education and employment are often more aware of their human rights and have the confidence to speak out when they are violated. If they are targeted because of this, they need to escape and become asylum seekers. They also become contributing members of the community that welcomes and accepts them. Australia is missing out on such citizens; our loss is the US’s gain.

– Helen Hill, Brunswick East, Vic

Dutton lacking empathy

The excoriating editorial on Peter Dutton was well deserved. How can it be that we taxpayers employ a man as immigration minister who has absolutely no empathy for people in distress? Do his colleagues wash their hands of his lies, careless and deliberate cruelties and the aspersions he casts on people who have fled persecution and threatening situations? Surely they are not all as ignorant as he has shown himself to be. To allow people who have sought our help to be murdered, women to be raped and children to be abused, to deprive them of hope, of liberty and human dignity is a crime. Holding on to political power by torturing the weak is indeed a filthy game.

– Gael Barrett, North Balwyn, Vic


Money case doesn’t add up

In a debate characterised by inane clichés and distractions from both the “Yes” and the “No” advocates, Mike Seccombe beats them all with his detailed exposition about “the economic benefits of changing the Marriage Act” (“The money case for gay marriage”, September 30-October 6). Over the course of more than a thousand words – nearly twice as much as he devotes to explaining the health and wellbeing benefits to legalising same-sex marriage – he calculates the value at well over a billion dollars to the economy and bemoans the fact that “the ‘Yes’ campaign has not put a lot of emphasis” on this. Does The Saturday Paper consider its readership so shallow that we will consider the impact on gross domestic product when evaluating the social institution of marriage and the laws that support it, or is this absurdity a sign of the editorial team’s own failing moral compass?

– Paul Cocks, Ivanhoe, Vic

More issues need measured approach

I appreciated Mike Seccombe’s article telling us about the research findings indicating better community-wide mental health in US jurisdictions that had a low-key approach to changing the laws on marriage equality. Imagine the improvements to nationwide mental health and the related economic savings if currently divisive debates in Australia were also carried out courteously, ethically, and with due regard to facts. Think for example about environmental preservation, educational equity and immigration.

– Rosamond Madden, Mosman, NSW

High price for space agency

The article by Karen Middleton on federal plans to form a national space agency (“Last in space: our late agency plans”, September 30-October 6) are encouraging, but its cost may be a factor mitigating its effectiveness. I suggest that if a role for coal in space could be devised by our CSIRO boffins, uninhibited government support for agency funding would be assured.

– Keith Mitchelson, St Lucia, Qld

Abbott pushes the limits

I hope the Warringah Liberal Party electors are watching their local member as closely as we are (The Week, September 30-October 6). Tony Abbott is becoming increasingly irrational and hypocritical, as seen by his strident advocacy for “free speech” followed by his attempt to ban a song at a football event; his claiming sport should be apolitical, while claiming considerable expenses for his attendance at sporting events; his denial of the opinions of 97 per cent of scientists about climate change; his belief in coal and its future, despite all evidence et cetera. His long service to his electorate seems to be taking a toll on his health. Perhaps he needs a long rest.

– Janet Simpson, Glebe, NSW

Comic interlude

In a week when there wasn’t much to laugh about, thank you, Gadfly, for several big laughs in today’s paper. The more I read, the better it got, and it was hard to go past “Nutcracker sweet”.

– Julia Osborne, Nambucca Heads, NSW

No nonsense

I enjoy The Saturday Paper. It includes a range of articles worth reading and thinking about. However, the person who compiles The Week on page 2 of each issue does a huge disservice to the whole paper. The first sentence describes the quote given in each case. The second sentence is a trite piece of nonsense that could be done away with without damaging the article. I would very much like to read the comments of The Week without the nonsense of the second sentence.

– David Jeffrey, Lenah Valley, Tas

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 Oct 7, 2017.

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