No thanks to Murdoch
Reading Mike Seccombe’s excellent article on the politics of removing children from Nauru (“How Murdoch got the kids off Nauru”, November 3–9) was a reminder that the inhuman policy of offshore detention could not have lasted so long without the backing of the Murdoch media. Imagine if News Corp had opposed the policy from the start and pointed out the immorality, the waste of lives, the trashing of conventions Australia had signed, and finally the sheer cost of a political race to the bottom – how long would offshore detention have lasted? The only reason we have been blighted with such an obscene piece of political theatre is thanks to Murdoch backing a truly lousy episode in this country’s history.
– John Gleeson, Lower Plenty, Vic
Cringing from a distance
As I recently travelled in Europe, it was mortifying indeed to watch and listen from afar the weasel-worded and ethics-free contortions from politicians of all stripes in Australia concerning the will-the-Nauru-kids-be-brought-here (or not). Especially when Europe faces an immigration/refugee problem on a scale unimaginable by our own experience. The last-minute capitulation by the federal government reeked of hypocritical cynicism. Excuse me Mr Dutton, the reason you changed your mind on this is because it has proved to be too expensive? Who indeed would have thought the Murdoch press would be an instrument in all this. What new, toxic or contentious issue will this organisation take up, to our ultimate moral and ethical cost, until sufficient pressure from the wider and braver community (read the voters) has them crawling back from the brink. From 15,000 kilometres away, it was embarrassing indeed to be an Aussie. Perhaps if Mr Beazley (and us) had shown some intestinal fortitude over the Tampa we wouldn’t find ourselves in this swamp.
– Paul Fuller, Richmond, Vic
Business ethics take over sport
Thank you, Martin McKenzie-Murray, for your piercingly insightful “Caught and bold”, November 3–9. I happened to see that damning press conference at which David Peever’s solution to The Meaning of Life and all challenges therein appeared to be that we simply “move on”. This is the expression used by so many bankers, politicians and corporate types who assume impunity from any and all fiascos occurring on their watch. Blame and sanction is, of course, for underlings. I might just as well have been watching an extract from senate estimates, or the banking royal commission, such was the familiar jargon. Mountains of brain-choking words saying nothing of relevance, and an undercurrent of “I have far more important things to be doing than speaking to you lot”. Professional sportsmen (as yet not the women ) earn eye-watering amounts of money, but now appear to have to sacrifice integrity and individuality as the price for doing so – exactly as is the case with politicians, to our nation’s enormous cost. It might be said that so much has been lost in sport since people could sit on “the hill” and enjoy the Australia versus West Indies matches, before sport became overwhelmingly a business enterprise (but with embarrassingly little “trickle-down” benefits for young local players).
– Elizabeth Chandler, Napoleon Reef, NSW
One parent’s story
I read this story with tears in my eyes (Lindy Alexander, “Cycles of affliction”, November 3–9). My daughter, now 28, is severely autistic. Her ability to tell you if she feels sick, and where and how much it hurts, has only started to serve her well in the past few years. Can you imagine what she suffered every month since her first period at age 12? I was her residential parent for 12 years till she had to be placed in care at 16 years old. Her cyclical angry rages exhausted me. I tracked her moods and periods on calendar spreadsheets and issued forecasts to her special development school teachers. We had a lot of vital help: council care ladies to get her dressed for school and bathed on her return home, a lady GP, a very knowledgeable local pharmacist, and a very good paediatrician and (later) an excellent adolescent gynaecology service. The latter two put her on high-dose continuous contraceptive hormones, a huge success. No more life-threatening anger cycles. In the light of Dr John Eden noting premenstrual dysphoric disorder sometimes gets mislabelled as bipolar disorder, I am now asking my daughter’s GP to look for persisting releasing-hormone cycling for her vague ups and downs of mood. One of my friends asked me if I was glad I became a father of a girl. I quipped: “It will be interesting – I was a little boy.” It certainly was for those 12 years.
– Name and address withheld
The power of News Corp
The front-page story in last week’s Saturday Paper included a quote from a Murdoch source, “Whatever else you might say about News Corp, we can see which way the wind is blowing.” Well, perhaps not if it goes to wind turbines, or creates unprecedented destruction because of climate change. However, as that story shows, politicians do dance to the News Corp theme. Both Liberal National Party leaders in New South Wales and Victoria are now decrying the mess created by population growth in cities, something only recently propagated by News Corp journals.
– Don Owers, Dudley, NSW
Regarding the review of my book One Good Turn (Books, October 27–November 2). I wanna quote Julia Gillard here: “Don’t write crap. Can’t be that hard, and when you have written complete crap, then I think you should correct it.” And lay off Brow Books while you’re at it.
– Mary Leunig, Bendigo, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Nov 10, 2018. Subscribe here.