Letters to
the editor

No longer out in the cold

The right to die when a person no longer can live a meaningful life is a human right (Rodney Syme, “The right to die”, November 25-December 1). It is not god-given but part of our evolution as thinking animals. Humans have evolved complex thought processes that have created improvements in our lives but also the plans of murderous ways in which to kill other humans. The Inuits would go out into the snow to die when they were no longer able to contribute. That’s all I want to do when life is no longer worth living. Without snow there is a need for something else. What is stopping me is not my family but others who don’t even know me deciding how I am to die. It is important that, as Dr Syme points out “this is a major change in medical practice about which even those doctors who support it are not yet skilled”. Hope it comes soon enough for me.

– Sandra von Sneidern, Mongarlowe, NSW

Swatting at Gadfly

How wonderful that Richard Ackland, a former speaker at The Sydney Institute, monitors the institute’s program (Gadfly, “Back of Burke”, December 2-8). It’s true that, last week, Dr Jennifer Marohasy and Professor Peter Ridd addressed the institute on aspects of climate change. Both are scientists – unlike Ackland and myself who have degrees in law/economics and law/arts respectively. A different view will be heard in February when Mark Butler, Labor’s shadow minister for climate change and energy, speaks at the institute. Unlike The Saturday Paper, the institute presides over the expression of a diversity of opinions. You should give pluralism a chance – it might make The Saturday Paper more interesting.

– Gerard Henderson, Sydney, NSW

Bank customers will pay again

Although I am no great fan of the banks, an inquiry into the sector’s profit-maximising and fee-overcharging conduct will necessarily incur exorbitant legal expenses for both parties (Paul Bongiorno, “Rift and separate”, December 2-8). How are the banks to defray the prohibitive cost of their retinue of barristers and advisers, not to mention potential fines incurred for reprehensible dealings with their customers? Assuredly, the additional financial burden imposed on banks during an inquiry and from its fallout will be borne by reduced share returns for mum-and-dad investors, who also happen to be the same bank account holders crying foul just now. I suspect that we all face a steep rise in daily bank and transaction fees rather than the confidence-restoring measures to pare back astronomical remuneration for the bank executives that forced us to this juncture in the first place. One suspects that only the legal eagles heftily paid to duel by both sides will be laughing all the way to the bank with their loot.

– Joseph Ting, Carina, Qld

We already know the result

Finally we will have a bank review, although a wimpy quick version at their request. Why do we need a review at all – everybody already knows they rip us off. Please send me 10 per cent of the commission cost for writing the report conclusion.

– Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic

Undermined by lack of fact-checking

Your editorial “Married with squibs” (December 2-8) was an unfair assessment of many senators and their beliefs. Your claim that some senators couldn’t “be bothered to acquit their duty” is appalling. Regardless of political allegiance, on your list were senators who were attending funerals, on sick leave, on leave because of family issues or representing Australia overseas. This is a paper that has dedicated significant coverage to the marriage equality debate. Your failure to either check the facts or distinguish between those who refused to vote due to their opposition or cowardice and those who were unable to vote due to personal reasons undermines this coverage. Poor journalism.

– Jesse Northfield, Melbourne, Vic

Stanley Kubrick’s future

In Martin McKenzie-Murray’s piece about the renewed potential for global nuclear annihilation (“Nukes and hazards”, December 2-8) he says that the most terrifying film he has seen on the subject is Threads. He forgets that when history repeats itself, although the first time is tragedy, the second time is farce. Given the two clowns facing off in the White House and Pyongyang, the most terrifying, and terrifyingly prescient, nuclear annihilation film would today not seem to be Threads, but rather Dr. Strangelove.

– Gavin Oakes, Surry Hills, NSW

Extolling John Bell

Thank you for your review of Florian Zeller’s The Father (Peter Craven, “Bell towers”, December 2-8). John Bell’s performance left me in tears. His portrayal of an old man losing his faculties was one of the finest pieces of theatre I have ever seen, deceptively underplayed as he draws you in to his changing world. He touched the grief in all of us. A truly gifted artist.

– Vicky Marquis, Glebe, NSW

Commission statement

Bob Barnes (Letters, November 25-December 1) calls for an incoming federal government to establish a royal commission into the media industry. Why is it that every Thomas, Richard and Harry wants to line the pockets of the legal profession simply because a vocal minority bangs a noisy drum? Funny, we never hear of a royal commission into the conduct of politicians and their “management” of the affairs of state.

– Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW

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 December 9, 2017.

For almost a decade, The Saturday Paper has published Australia’s leading writers and thinkers. We have pursued stories that are ignored elsewhere, covering them with sensitivity and depth. We have done this on refugee policy, on government integrity, on robo-debt, on aged care, on climate change, on the pandemic.

All our journalism is fiercely independent. It relies on the support of readers. By subscribing to The Saturday Paper, you are ensuring that we can continue to produce essential, issue-defining coverage, to dig out stories that take time, to doggedly hold to account politicians and the political class.

There are very few titles that have the freedom and the space to produce journalism like this. In a country with a concentration of media ownership unlike anything else in the world, it is vitally important. Your subscription helps make it possible.

Select your digital subscription

Month selector

Use your Google account to create your subscription