Voting for a better system
Senator Fraser Anning took the place of Senator Malcolm Roberts who was elected for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party on a primary vote of 77. Roberts was a dual citizen of Britain and Australia. Anning had a primary vote of just 19 but soon after replacing Roberts left One Nation and joined Katter’s Australian Party. This is all possible as a result of the Hare-Clark system of proportional representation that requires extensive preferencing, even though reduced by the half-baked reforms in 2016. A far superior system of proportional representation, used in 86 countries around the world but not in Australia, is the party list system, which requires just one vote for a party candidate only whereby a threshold for each seat is required of usually 3 per cent to 5 per cent of the total vote. It is incredible that this was not even considered in 2016 and has never been advocated by the independent Australian Electoral Commission. Of course, this should be used for all parliaments to achieve a non-adversarial political and democratic culture.
– Klaas Woldring, Pearl Beach, NSW
Setting a strong moral compass
I welcome further penetrating analysis in The Saturday Paper by Ruby Hamad about who we really are (“Racism is not a moment, it’s who we are”, August 18–24). Along with your roster of fine wordsmiths – Karen Middleton, Mike Seccombe, Martin McKenzie-Murray, Sean Kelly, Richard Ackland and the insightful editorials – your paper sets the morality meter at alpine levels. Sadly an achievement some of our politicians and mainstream media continues to ignore.
– Carmelo Bazzano, Epping, Vic
Observing the observers
Could we please have more Mike Carlton? And maybe some Patrick Cook as well? These gentlemen may be, uh, well struck in years, but that only makes their observations more pointed. And while I found it difficult to agree with everything Ruby Hamad said (being an old white male), I found her description of Pauline Hanson – “a grotesque parody of a national sweetheart” – stunningly accurate. I would probably benefit a lot from what she has to say in the future.
– Alec Lamberton, Blue Haven, NSW
Show some compassion
How does bringing a seriously ill 12-year-old boy with his stepfather to Australia for treatment in any way threaten our security? Where is our moral compass when the prime minister refuses to permit this to happen? Is this the same prime minister who recently said “we are a compassionate country”?
– Joan Lynn, Williamstown Vic
Dismay over GBR Foundation
I am a constituent in Josh Frydenberg’s electorate and I receive his usually narcissistic newsletters. A while ago he proudly stated the Turnbull government had made the largest ever grant to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. I felt slightly pleased but wondered at the recipient, which as far as I knew was not one of the organisations that had been working towards the preservation of the reef. Since then I have heard it is composed of entrepreneurs from fossil fuel companies and more details concerning the circumstances of the donation. I was even more dismayed to read Mike Seccombe’s article (“Accounting trick frames reef grant”, August 18–24), which included remarks relating to UNESCO by Geoff Cousins, a former Australian Conservation Foundation president and Howard adviser. I agree with the conclusion of the piece, which states, “The rest of us can only hope that he’s wrong”, as it sounds so plausible but so ingenious and self-serving in the extreme.
– Beverley McIntyre, Camberwell, Vic
All that is wrong
Ruby Hamad’s article on racism was excellent. All that’s needed are similar analyses of transphobia, homophobia and sexism, and we’ll have an accurate picture of what’s holding us back here in Australia.
– David Andrew, Paddington, NSW
Racism and the toxic status quo
Ruby Hamad’s “Racism is not a moment, it’s who we are” nails the toxic status quo. But why racism? Who benefits? In whose interests does it rise and fall but endure? Three groups stand out. Unscrupulous politicians who know the distraction value of scapegoats. Political scapegoats are those who can’t fight back, as every tyrant knows. The target group needs to be a weak minority to initiate the bloodlust among the hounds – “It’s them, not our party, who are responsible for the mess we are in.” Then there is the media, which, as Mike Seccombe reports (“Who is making money out of racism, August 11–17), benefits from fanning the fire and pretending to extinguish it. Next there are the rest of us who in our guts know we are on invaded land. Rather than stand up for a treaty, we focus on others who came by boat, as we did, and say the First Nation peoples needs to take the Kool-Aid. We are aligned with the culpably ignorant. Unfortunately, many Australians are too comfortable and too lazy to check the facts. It makes you wonder what happens to the heaps of money spent on education. So while there are so many getting so much out of racism, it endures, like a carried defective gene that is easy to reinfect.
– Michael D. Breen, Robertson, 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 Aug 25, 2018. Subscribe here.