Letters

Letters to
the editor

Musical deckchairs change nothing

The captain has changed but the iceberg is still ahead for the Liberals (Geoff Pryor cartoon, August 25–31, 2018).

– Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic

Libs plot their own funeral

Malcolm Turnbull’s exit from the political stage is likely to bring down the curtain on his party, signalling the end of socially progressive leadership that was the last link between the Coalition and the electorate. His parting gift has also flushed the fascists out of hiding, exposing the mean underbelly of the Liberal Party consistently at odds with contemporary Australia. Turnbull appeared like a prophet promising leadership connecting modern, inclusive Australian values but found himself betrayed not by adversaries on the other side of the house but by the right wing of his own party. He has been shorn, blinded and bound by the “corpse bride” of Tony Abbott and his Liberal Party cortege. And while his successor, conspirators and survivors lift a glass to their futures, it feels more like a wake pre-empting a funeral. Scott Morrison’s human rights record, opposition to marriage equality, muscular corked Christianity (gagging and binding the good Samaritan while riding the Trojan horse of religious freedom in the race for proscriptive social conservatism) reads like a political epitaph rather than a mission statement. The announcement of a new champion, climate change denial, recent support for Dutton, sabotage of Bishop and the noisy puppeteering of Abbott and Howard pale into insignificance beside the fear that has conquered the navigation system of the Liberal Party and destroyed so promising a leader and with him the only real hope for a Liberal future beyond the looming ballot box.

– Archdeacon Peter Macleod-Miller, Albury, NSW

Wasting asylum-seeker talent

Reading Sarah Price’s Portrait article (“All that’s left behind”, August 18–24, 2018) I am left wondering why we as a nation do not do more to help those who come here as refugees, who have been vetted and given asylum (unlike those poor unfortunate people left on Manus and Nauru) and those like her subject “Tony”, who was highly educated and skilled and who would be an exceedingly good member of any medical team in any hospital. Government assistance for our refugees has been slashed by this uncaring and very selfish Liberal government. I do not see anything liberal about them unless it is for the upper, wealthier end of town. I would like if I am able to donate some money to “Tony” so he could sit for his $2700 exam again and so be able to do what he was trained to do. To get a mark of 248 when 250 was needed to pass shows that there is no leniency regarding the person sitting for the exam or whether there needs to be a more personal approach to the applicant’s situation.

– Les Lloyd, Noosaville, Qld

Dutton day-care doubts

I read Martin McKenzie-Murray’s article “Failing duty of care” (August 25–31) and was struck by the following thought. Given his administrative neglect, if not outright abuse, of children on Manus Island and Nauru, I’m surprised that Peter Dutton is seen as a fit and proper person to be in receipt of taxpayer-funded subsidies for the running of child day-care centres in Australia.

 – Peter Slade, Beerwah, Qld

Inconceivable trauma

On a sunny afternoon, mid conversation with my partner, my voice suddenly chokes. I am multitasking; reading The Saturday Paper while discussing the evening’s dinner plans. In between decisions about pasta sauces and red wines the written words have bitten bone deep: “the child enters a profound state of withdrawal and is unconscious or in a comatose state”. I work in mental health, sometimes in high-dependency wards. I cannot conceive the level of trauma required to induce such damage. It’s not the obvious brutalities of physical abuse but the far deeper psychological torture of intergenerational dehumanisation and absolute despair. This – that our own government continues to do this to children – causes the mind to reel away, to withdraw as so many of us do, with a sigh and a tear perhaps, back to our shopping lists and coffee cups. But not today, not before rage erupts from my subconscious and I know that given the opportunity I would murder the perpetrators of these crimes with my own hands. I would follow the chain of people from the camp to the cabinet and remove a hand from each and every one. It’s not about revenge, though I can’t deny that’s there – it’s about preventing the next destruction of an entire, utterly innocent life. That’s our government: murdering minds and making a murderer out of a middle-aged woman over afternoon tea. Bravo.

– Name and address withheld

Rohingyas need our help

Lisa Martin’s important article (“Rohingya intake”, August 18-24) highlights the latest desperate refugees fleeing atrocities and “ethnic cleansing” in Myanmar. Martin reminds us that 300,000 refugees have been stuck in Bangladesh since the early 1990s. At that time, I witnessed desperately poor and victimised Rohingyas arriving by boat to swell the growing camps in neighbouring Bangladesh. But what have Australia and the “international community” done to press Myanmar to stop violence against its Muslim minority for decades? Any “quiet diplomacy” has little to show. At the very least, we should accept more Rohingya refugees and increase lifesaving aid from Oxfam and others. Surely those waiting more than 25 years for permanent refuge have already waited far too long?

– Christopher Kenna, Murrumbateman, NSW

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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Sep 1, 2018. Subscribe here.