Letters to
the editor

Honouring Behrouz Boochani

Thank you for printing the “poet’s manifesto” of Behrouz Boochani (“A letter from Manus”, December 9-15). It is eloquent and moving. The dog that was killed is mourned by the men of Manus. We also mourn it. The body of the poor animal should be laid at the door of the prime minister. There is a chant at the rallies in support of the people on Manus and Nauru. It is “Malcolm Turnbull, stop the violence. Bill Shorten, end the silence.” Not only Labor should end the silence. ABC reporter Liam Fox is on Manus Island. Why are we not hearing from him about the continuing violation of the human rights of Behrouz Boochani and his friends? They are human beings, people just like us, refugees, hostages, and Australia’s own political prisoners. I have written to Michelle Guthrie and others at the ABC asking this. I receive no reply.

– Stephen Langford, Paddington, NSW

APA actions above board

I write with reference to the opinion piece by Tony Windsor (Tony Windsor, “The case of the trespassing strangers”, December 9-15). Mr Windsor referred to APA land access and field survey team members who recently undertook survey work in the Coonamble region as “trespassers”. This has no basis in truth. Since early August, APA has been undertaking a range of field survey work in connection with the proposed 460-kilometre Western Slopes Pipeline. Where access to private property has been required, it has been undertaken either with formal landowner agreement or in accordance with the terms of the Authority to Survey issued by the New South Wales minister for energy and utilities in June. It should also be noted that APA has not received a single complaint from any landowner about alleged “trespass” incidents. The police in attendance at the scene had been pre-briefed on the planned survey activities by APA. They did attend the scene, but only after it became increasingly clear that the field survey team, to use Mr Windsor’s own words, “became trapped” by the assembled crowd. The hostile events described by Mr Windsor at the farm gate in Coonamble were unfortunate and unnecessary. I can assure the community APA remains committed to working with landowners and other stakeholders in the region in a constructive and collaborative way.

– Rob Wheals, Group Executive Transmission, APA Group

Wise words of Windsor

This is not just a letter, but an apology for what was prejudice. Years back when Tony Windsor quit the Nationals to run as an independent, I guessed he was another hayseed breaking from the pack. Boy, was I wrong. His fine writing for this paper is a rural godsend. His presentation of facts defies any countering argument. Then there is the old man’s timbre in the voice: lived-in. Who could argue with such a fluent granddad. Fight big carbon for future generations with your wisdom Tony Windsor and gather the mob. This man is an elevated being – a national treasure.

– Warren Tindall, Bellingen, NSW

Appointment says it all

The final paragraph of your editorial nails the real and considerable concerns that arise with the Turnbull government’s appointment of Gary Johns to oversee the Australia Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (“Charity disgrace”, December 9-15). Within a capitalist system real-time wealth redistribution necessitates charitable actions and progressive activism particularly when governance lacks care and compassion. It is indeed an ill wind that blows when such blatantly prejudicial appointments are made by a “liberal” government loudly touting freedoms of expression or thought. We the people are watching closely – whether it be Nauru, Manus, the Galilee Basin, the Liverpool Plain or anywhere precious intergenerational assets are under overt attack by Australia’s contemporary political leadership.

– Ellie Bock, Mena Creek, Qld

Inform Australians of financial backers

How wonderful that Gerard Henderson, erstwhile of The Australian and The Sydney Institute, monitors The Saturday Paper ( Letters, December 9-15 ), where letters critical of editorial content are regularly published – unlike his own newspaper where “diversity of opinions” and “pluralism” on climate change are as likely to be found as anyone accepting its claims of being “for the informed Australian”. Although Henderson’s sophistry on Jennifer Marohasy and Peter Ridd reaffirms Paul Keating’s assessment of him as being “a practitioner of high pedantry”, what would certainly make things “more interesting” is if all three revealed their secret sources of funding. It seems more than a little hypocritical to regularly attack climate scientists, environmental charities and the likes of GetUp! for supposed financial conflicts of interest while refusing to reveal your own. That’s the ironic flaw with our conservative “think tanks” – their lack of thinking is why most of them are tanking.

– Chris Roylance, Paddington, Qld

Fruits of labours

For many years I have baked tiny Christmas cakes and puddings as gifts for friends. I have never made panforte but Anne Smithers’ recipe looks encouraging (December 9-15). Thank you to all The Saturday Paper writers for another great year. Happy Christmas, Hanukkah or holiday to all. Sorry I cannot share the panforte with you.

– Breda Hertaeg, Beaumaris, 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 Dec 16, 2017.

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