Letters to
the editor

Reputation ruined by Manus actions

Thank you, Imran Mohammad, for your lucid and terrible description of life on Manus (“Alone and abandoned”, October 28-November 3) as the government prepares with stunning precision to remove those few physical requirements we all need. Apart from food, water and shelter, every attempt is being made to remove any semblance of safety and the rule of law. It is untenable that the requests for the freedom to live safely is met like this. Readers will have noted Imran is a Rohingya man and question how much he and others can be expected to bear. What is it that makes Minister Dutton impervious to the consequences of his orders? He has certainly added to notions that he, with the complicity of the cabinet, has trashed Australia’s international reputation. We used to be viewed as a contributing global citizen. Given these conditions of persecution and deliberate breaches of numerous rights, I dare say an immigration lawyer would have enough material to make a compelling case for asylum for all detained on Manus. Imran retains his dignity; Dutton has none. Like so many Australians I am affronted and ashamed that our government can shrug off its obligations and so readily abandon all Manus asylum seekers and refugees to danger.

– Judyth Watson, Palmyra, WA

Are these our Australian values?

It takes a stateless Rohingya refugee to remind us how cruel our once generous nation has become. Are these now our “Australian values” – to shut down hospitals and mental facilities, cut off power and sewerage and starve desperate people into submission? Time to think about what our nation once was.

– John H. Bennett, Dingabledinga, SA

Editorial makes connections

I applaud you for being the only newspaper that made the issue of Manus front page (Martin McKenzie-Murray, “These are the men we’ve left behind”, November 4-10) and editorialised (“This is our Guantanamo”), though I expected nothing less from you. I have phoned and written again to various politicians.

– Joanne Horniman, Blackheath, NSW

A call to action

A splendid editorial that was a call to action, not just a nod of agreement. Until the Australian government fears it may lose votes, even seats, it will persist with this cruel policy towards the asylum seekers. The condemnation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees does not move them, the appeals of well-qualified lawyers, the actions of the many refugee support groups mean nothing to a government lacking humanity and any sense of morality. The phone calls and letters of protest of thousands may influence them. Let’s do it.

– Gael Barrett, North Balwyn, Vic

Parry’s case on citizenship

It is beyond belief that it took a High Court decision to prompt senate president Stephen Parry to check if he was a British citizen (Karen Middleton, “Duals in the crown”, November 4-10). Surely he knew all along his father was British. Time for everyone to disclose their hand before parliament collapses like a house of cards, jokers included.

– Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW

Law-breakers are usually punished

Can somebody please explain why the politicians recently found to have broken the law are not being subjected to legal action and are being allowed to seek – in the case of Barnaby Joyce – re-election to the lower house of parliament via a byelection? This smacks of one law for some and another law for others. If I break the law, surely I should expect some form of penalty and, depending on the seriousness of the crime, find myself ineligible to seek election to the Australian parliament. If my understanding of the law is incorrect, I would appreciate advice as to my misinterpretation.

– Trevor Dudgeon, The Gap, Qld

Rough passage for Miller’s book

JR’s review of Alex Miller’s The Passage of Love (October 28-November 3) made me think we’d read different books. The book I read certainly does contain the poignancy, integrity and grace JR thinks are lacking, and it’s disappointing their presence was overlooked in JR’s careless and dismissive reading. The review contains factual errors: Robert Crofts doesn’t meet Martin and Birte “towards the middle of the book” – it is much earlier. And at the time Robert meets them, Lena is not yet his wife. Robert and Martin’s connection endures beyond the gift (not loan, JR) of Doctor Faustus, and themes of friendship and freedom, love and loss, are managed delicately and deftly. JR seems not to notice these, or the significance of the bird motif throughout. The reflective reconciliation of the older self with the younger – the anticipated experience with the actual – means The Passage of Love is a significant literary achievement and warrants more intelligent review.

– Lucia Callaghan, Eltham, Vic

Mother’s passion needed on hustings

Someone should get Rosie Ayliffe (Susan Chenery, “Labours lost”, October 28-November 3) up to New England for the next few weeks to ask Barnaby Joyce what he’ll do about the exploitation of backpackers if re-elected.

– Gavin Dimery, Dusodie, NSW

Rave for Cooke’s rave

Belated appreciation for Richard Cooke’s magnificently fulminating polemic (“The scum also rises”, October 21-27). It reminded me of the halcyon days of Harold Hark’s “Scum at the Top”. Can we please have more from Cooke? And thanks to all who write for this vital weekly.

– William Hageman, Burwood East, 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 November 11, 2017.

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