Letters to
the editor

Christian values ignored by politicians

Watching the rage and fierceness of the speech Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave last week, declaring he would use anything to stop the Urgent Medical Treatment Bill from being successful, I kept wondering how can this possibly align with Christian values, particularly the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”? (Editorial, “The man who wasn’t there”, December 1–7). Many of the men and families on both Manus and Nauru have been diagnosed with extreme mental health issues. To deny them the medical treatment they are unable to access where they are, and which in fact is causing the terrible desperation often leading to suicidal behaviour, seems utterly inhumane and cruel. How many people have to die for compassion and humanity to prevail? Mr Morrison can go home to the comfort of his family, knowing if any family member became sick there would be medical treatment available as needed. That is exactly what I would want for these people languishing on Manus and Nauru.

– Joan Lynn, Williamstown, Vic

Catholic Church opts out of redress scheme

The utter hypocrisy of the Catholic Church has now been laid bare as the organisation refuses to join the National Redress Scheme established to assist survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. When I was a deeply committed practising Catholic, a great deal of pride was attached to the church being “universal”. It proudly stated that anywhere in the world the universal nature meant that the same beliefs, structure and authority existed. It was a comforting idea at the time and it was promoted as yet another proof of righteousness. But when the instances of child sexual abuse emerged, this much famed universal entity used a tortuous logic to claim it could not be sued as it did not exist, the so-called Ellis defence. A similarly devious tactic has just been announced. The church will not join the redress scheme but it will allow individual parts of the organisation to decide if they want to opt in, with two years to decide. In my own case of severe abuse, I applied to the church’s Towards Healing program. The final stage of that process was a two-hour cross-examination by two retired police superintendents. Their report validated my claims, but due to the nature of my sexual abuse it was not covered by Towards Healing. Lawyers advised me to apply to the redress scheme but that would be a waste of time as the religious order responsible has declined to join the scheme and now the Catholic Church has also refused to join. I attended the national apology and heard the prime minister make promises about providing justice for survivors. In reality, the redress scheme is so deeply flawed that experienced lawyers find it frustrating. Allowing the Catholic Church to opt out of the scheme mocks any notion of justice. Scott Morrison should be condemned for establishing this deeply flawed redress scheme and making empty promises to vulnerable survivors. For my part, it makes me more determined to continue the fight and take the Salesian order to court. I’m looking forward to finding out if they exist and, if so, what is their relationship to the “One true, holy and apostolic Catholic Church”.

– Keiran Ryan, Bright, Vic

Sitting in judgement on Lawyer X

Martin McKenzie-Murray’s report (“Lawyer X: ‘Say nice things at my eulogy and enjoy the Royal Commission’ ”, December 8–14) well conveys, perhaps ironically, the confected outrage by those who should know better. When I saw initial reports of this saga, I felt compelled to go to the actual decision of the full High Court to persuade myself that what I had read in the early reports accurately reflected what the High Court had said, for I could not believe what I was hearing. As an old lawyer, I could never have imagined ever reading such cold and calculating lines as found in the High Court’s decision – trading a certain murder for the supposed “maintenance of the integrity of the criminal justice system”. Their decision was based more on warped moral principles than on legal principle. Can anyone seriously doubt that Lawyer X, whatever her motives, did the right thing? One must not forget that so-called legal professional privilege is not absolute in the face of admitted crime.

– Geoff Petersson, Potts Point, NSW

Dark times ahead of election

It is clear what the conservatives have in store for us in the upcoming election campaign (Karen Middleton, “Captain’s call back”, December 8–14). A policy-free, internecine warring rabble intends to resort to dog-whistling sloganeering that appeals to the worst in us and denies genuine debate. All of this under the supposed vociferously “Christian” stewardship of one “ScoMo”. I suggest a better sobriquet might be “LoMo”. Bet they show us how low they can go.

– Chris McKimm, Karangi, NSW

In denial

Thank you, Gadfly (“Emission denied”, December 8–14). Throwing light on the climate change denialists and exposing their noxious distortions renders a worthy community service. The people referred to by Gadfly are not stupid, as far as I am aware. Their perfidy is that they are perfectly capable of coming to grips with the truth of the science and its implications. In the absence of a plausible explanation one can only assume they fear any impediment to their accumulation of more and more wealth. As such they absolutely deserve our ridicule.

– David Payne, Bermagui, NSW

All that remains

A couple of correspondents have conjured a picture of Robert Menzies performing gymnastics in his grave over the state of the Liberal Party (Letters, “Not resting in peace”, December 8–14). Alas for this imagery, Menzies was cremated.

– Stephen Brown, Forrest, ACT

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 December 15, 2018.

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