Letters to
the editor

Time for constitutional change

Australia’s constitution continues to frustrate us all (Karen Middleton, “It’s all turned to citizenship”, November 11-17). Is it not time to recognise that it was created by conventions of men with whom we share very few values? They created a document that supported their values, not ours. Put Sir Samuel Griffith or Alfred Deakin into today’s political context and they would probably fit neatly into One Nation. We need to get rid of the whole mouldy and moth-eaten construct. It should be replaced with one that accords with our values, and it should have a termination date of no more than 100 years, because our descendants will not share all our values, and will need a constitution that suits their own.

– Dr John Nightingale, Corinda, Qld

Law should be applied to errant MPs

On June 23, 1999 the High Court ruled on section 44(i) of the constitution in Sue v Hill that the United Kingdom was a foreign power, disqualifying Hill as a member of parliament. This judgement made it abundantly clear to all political parties and future candidates that dual citizenship was a disqualifier from entering parliament. Since that date there is no longer any excuse for failing to comply with s44(i). Obtaining money by false pretences is still a crime in this country. All current MPs who so entered parliament in contravention of section 44(i) have committed a crime and should be charged. They should also be made to make restitution to the Commonwealth. Being charged would also disqualify them from holding political office. If I were to falsely obtain financial benefit from the Commonwealth I would be charged. Why are politicians exempt from the law?

– David Adermann, The Entrance, NSW

Dutton just loves his work

Congratulations on your excellent editorial on Peter Dutton (“The truth about Manus”, November 11-17). No doubt it’s true that Dutton’s motivation is to appeal to the worst instincts of his constituents. But there’s an additional explanation, and that is that his inhumane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers is motivated by the fact that he enjoys it. It says a lot about the man touted as prime ministerial material by his own party.

– Geoff Skillen, Cook, ACT

The Greens march on

Thanks, thanks and more thanks to Mike Seccombe for his inspiring article on the success of the Greens in quietly setting the agenda for our Australian politics (“How the Greens drive policy”, November 11-17).

In this time of very negative news and conflict in many areas of our lives, how uplifting to hear that our support of the Greens is actually achieving positive results. Sometimes not nearly as quickly as we would like to have it happen, but the positive and progressive part of our Australian community shows that we are moving forward in a more compassionate and sustainable way to ensure we leave a healthy planet for our grandchildren.

Fighting to protect our beautiful planet from humans and their rapacious consumption is a very real battle.

– Dianne Gates, Wondecla, Qld

First Peoples still voiceless

The article by Megan Davis, “In bad faith” (November 4-10), is an articulate, accurate account of the disgraceful conduct of a “top down”, remote and frightened government. A government sadly lacking in leadership by missing a critical opportunity in Australian history and disappointing so many of us. As a practitioner, working alongside Indigenous communities since 1992, I have witnessed the impacts of poor policies on First Nations peoples. I am ashamed. The government’s stance does not represent me or many other Australians. It is time First Peoples of Australia had respect, voice, recognition, lived without discrimination and had a say in their own affairs. Only then will we move forward.

– Dr Liz Curran, ANU School of Law

Lived experience and opinions

Rodney Syme comments that the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill “would not be where it is today without the experiences” of the premier and his health minister (Letters, November 4-10). I am a volunteer with Dying With Dignity Victoria and when I make contact with new members they invariably state the impetus for joining has been the personal anguish of a loved one’s painful death. Are we so lacking in imagination and compassion that we depend on personal experience to inform our attitudes? If so, this has no doubt contributed to the extreme intransigence of the present political climate resulting in the humanitarian crisis or “our Guantanamo” (Editorial, November 4-10).

– Beverley McIntyre, Camberwell, Vic

Refugees from Manus

I applaud the notion from Judyth Watson (Letters, November 4-10) that any who might escape from Manus Island detention could justifiably seek acceptance as refugees from Australian terrorism if they managed to reach another country, even north Queensland.

– Richard Hansford, Pymble, NSW

Congratulations on quality quips

I looked through the Contents hoping to find the name of my favourite contributor – the person who writes the article headings. Last week’s edition had some classics, starting with “It’s all turned to citizenship”. Beautifully placed beneath a portrait of the PM, it carried the front page. James Ross’s photograph perfectly captured Malcolm’s Year of Vacillation. Turnbull’s attention appears focused on a distant point far beyond the ken of his fellow Australians. “Grave News world” and “Citizen twain” were in the calculations, but I had “The book, the reef, the mine and her government” at No.  2. Take a bow.

– John Mosig, Kew, 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 18, 2017.

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