Letters to
the editor

Combined effort needed on Manus

Richard Cooke’s article (“False Labor and the birth of Manus”, December 16-22) ends on a miserable note. The “compassionate” inner-city voters are outweighed by the western suburbs of Sydney, and probably Melbourne. The possible loss of seats is of greater importance than the endless misery, fear and real danger to refugees on Manus Island and on Nauru. While the Greens enjoy limited success, they are unlikely to form government.

Is it possible the solution is education and information? Could the ALP, assisted by the Greens, mount a vigorous campaign to highlight the sheer injustice and inhumanity of Australia’s present policy? Can they introduce to us individual refugees, with their stories, as people just like us? It will mean acknowledging past mistakes, calling for generosity and communicating clearly. Telling the true story could do it.

– Gael Barrett, North Balwyn, Vic

Boochani leading by example

It would be a privilege to have Behrouz Boochani as a fellow Australian (“A letter from Manus Island”, December 9-15). He has highlighted to us, the Australian public, the shameful things our government is doing in our name and the lies they are telling us. He has all the talents of a good journalist and has shown that he is compassionate and has leadership qualities. Just the sort of person we need in Australia.

– Jean John, Adelaide, SA

No exemptions

Thank you for your relevant and clear editorial (“Church fate”, December 16-22). I agree the church “must no longer be allowed to interfere with public life”. We are a civil society and the civil laws of our country should apply equally to all of us. No church or religious organisation or hierarchy of same should be entitled to claim any exemption – including not paying tax. It really is that simple.

– Joy Heads, Wollstonecraft, NSW

Blaming the public servants

It took a little time for the true horror of Mike Seccombe’s “Compromised land” (December 9-15) to dawn. It isn’t that the government’s climate targets are a crock. That’s obvious. It’s that the federal government’s shonky reports and statistics are prepared by, not the spinners of ministerial offices who acknowledge no conception of truth, but public servants. The politicians can’t do it on their own. What are they thinking, these servants of ours? Surely few are explicitly corrupt. The majority, simply averting their gaze from the facts, trim their integrity sails to the winds of career aspirations or more likely just to avoid conflict. In doing so they exercise what Hannah Arendt astutely identified of Adolf Eichmann in his Jerusalem trial – the banality of evil.

– David Hamilton, Fraser, ACT

Streat to Change the Date

This is just a short note of thanks for being good folks and inspiring us. A fortnight ago I read about your Change the Date campaign (Natalie Cromb, “Date with enmity”, December 2-8) and have subsequently discussed this idea with our team at Streat. We won’t be celebrating Australia Day any longer and we’ll be letting staff take an alternative day of leave. We’ve also used this as a catalyst to have a far bigger conversation about developing a Reconciliation Action Plan in early 2018. By way of background, we’re a Melbourne-based social enterprise and ever since we opened our cafe doors to our first young people in 2010, we’ve been supporting young Aboriginal people struggling with homelessness. It makes us proud to be able to walk into restaurants around this city and find our graduates making and serving incredible meals. Most importantly we’re proud that they’re feeling reconnected, feeling valued, and feeling confident about their futures.

– Rebecca Scott, Collingwood, Vic

Waiting for good government

The article by Tony Windsor, “The case of the trespassing strangers”, December 9-15, is an erudite and significant contribution to an increasingly confrontational debate.

The conflict between agriculture, taking place in the most fertile and productive region in Australia, and the potentially destructive and often unlawful activities of the coal seam gas cowboys, is fulminating in a seeming political vacuum. Rather like the similarly critical and pressing issue of climate change. With the hard ones, it’s so much easier to just look the other way. Australia has not known effective government for decades.

– David Payne, Bermagui, NSW

Advice for The Saturday Paper

Chris Roylance (Letters, December 16-22) asserts that I “regularly attack climate scientists, environmental charities and the likes of Get Up! for supposed conflicts of interest”. I have not made such a criticism. Mr Roylance just made this up – which, I suppose, is why his claim was not supported by any evidence. The Saturday Paper should fact-check its letters. For the record, the Sydney Institute is a forum for debate and discussion and has heard a variety of views on climate change by scientists and engineers.

– Gerard Henderson, Sydney, NSW

Advice for Gerard Henderson

Oh, Gerard Henderson (Letters, December 9-15), stick to your own patch, will you? I read The Saturday Paper because I want to be informed by journalists who present insightful, informed and expansive positions on given topics. I do not need to diminish my world view by the customary sour, stale and predictable positions you and your cohort present. Be brave, start your own paper.

– Sally Owen, Heathfield, SA

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 23, 2017.

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