Where’s my money?
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is still defending giving nearly $500 million to a group that didn’t ask for it (Andrew Stafford, “ ‘Businessmen’ get $443m for reef”, May 26–June 1). I also haven’t asked for any money and yet for some reason I also haven’t received any either. I assure you I can spend the money without any difficulty and as a gesture of good faith I’ll make sure it’s all spent on Australian products.
– Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic
Well done for featuring Malawian netballer Mwai Kumwenda (Sport, Cindy MacDonald, August 4–10). Peter Dutton, Turnbull and their ilk should be telling us more about the many young African–Australians who, like Mwai, are enriching our country, rather than harping about the handful of troublemakers of African descent (Mike Seccombe, “The politics of racism”, August 4–10).
– Mike Puleston, Brunswick, Vic
The Coalition shows its values
Karen Middleton’s story of the federal government’s challenge to the South Australian royal commission on water theft suggests the Coalition has apprenticed itself to a mentor in the White House (“High Court challenge to Walker inquiry threatens federation”, (August 4–10). From a distance, the government looks like it is attempting an obstruction of justice, while also sowing dysfunction. On the same page, Mike Seccombe describes the Coalition’s development of a racial/ethnic/sectarian dog whistle that is audible at long range and all frequencies. From such things we can at least make inferences about official Australian values.
– John Hayward, Weegena, Tas
Yes, yes Nanette
Helen Razer’s convoluted dismissal of Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette demonstrates that middle-aged white women of privilege can patronise and “mansplain” with the very best of the boys’ clubs (“The great Gadsby”, July 28–August 3). According to Helen, Nanette is no game changer , “will not change the world”, and she goes so far as to berate us poor suckers for the folly we display when we “bathe in the tears of a clown” while hoping for meaningful change. However, in my middle- aged, white-man world some sort of rough transformation does indeed seem to be at hand and Gadsby deserves our thanks for holding up the mirror to these misogynist times. Pub talk and dinner table discourse is being reframed, partly in response to Nanette, and you’d better believe something is going on when a couple of midweek commentators on a sports radio station (SEN 1116 Melbourne) forgo their footy talk to marvel at how watching Nanette had “opened their eyes” and how they are now “beginning to get it – at last”. Nanette is the cry of a soul in pain – an artistic manifesto so much more profound than “the tears of a clown”. Gadsby’s challenge is to men, especially the #NotAllMen types, to look squarely at the toxic world of male privilege, which, left unexamined, will continue to oppress all women and to corrode the souls of all men.
– Brian Derum, North Fitzroy, Vic
Barracking for Carlton
Until last weekend I hadn’t read an article by Mike Carlton since October 5, 2012 when, in The Sydney Morning Herald, he wrote an absolute masterpiece on the Sydney-based shock jock Alan Jones. I still have a copy of my letter of adulation the SMH printed the following Monday. So it was a wonderful experience reading “The Italian job” (August 4–10). He has always amazed me with his writing skills and this article was no exception. Hopefully there will be many more to enjoy over the coming years.
– Peter Lightfoot, Armadale, Vic
Spread the word
How oddly comforting to be reading Mike Carlton again despite sharing his dismal view of the country’s trajectory under this government. His despair over the loss of Fairfax Media is particularly significant. Many people in the southern states may not realise it but Lord Moloch’s publications now suffocate most of Queensland (Fairfax having ceased distribution in North Queensland in February). Which brings me to report an incident observed by my husband in our local “paper shop” last week. A customer walked in, picked up five copies of The Saturday Paper and, while paying for them, said to the girl behind the counter, and anyone within earshot, “Only paper worth buying these days!” Thought I’d like to share that with you to illustrate that despite Dutton, Hanson, Christensen, Ian Macdonald and Warren Entsch, Queensland still supports intelligent life.
– Gail Shaw, Mossman, Qld
Today’s political reality
The article by Mike Carlton really sums up the paucity of values and leadership among our political “elite” and identifies quite clearly why so many of us are feeling disenfranchised from the critical issues of the day. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that much will change in the foreseeable future, particularly with state and federal elections looming. What we will no doubt see will be more dog whistling and racist overtures to the lowest common denominator. It’s dispiriting that minority groups in marginal electorates now call the tune in Australia.
– Denise Stevens, Healesville, Vic
The missing ingredients
So disappointing. My local Woolies didn’t have any sea urchin (David Moyle, “Spine thrilling”, August 4–10). And a fortnight earlier no nettles (David Moyle, “Full nettle packet”, July 21–27). Let’s hope it won’t be three recipes I’ll be missing out on this Saturday.
– Eddie Marynowicz, Mount Hawthorn, WA
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Aug 11, 2018. Subscribe here.