On the path to contrition?
The conviction of George Pell feels like a turning point for the relationship between Australia and all religious institutions. Despite having worked for the Anglican Church for nearly 40 years, my AMP shares look great next to the church’s terminal reputation. I know there are good people who work in the church, but there are also good people who work for tobacco companies – it doesn’t make smoking even slightly more attractive. It’s the most curious climate in which to demand religious prerogatives. It should rather inspire a raft of apologies, changes to confession and political contrition. We should be thanking God for Julia Gillard, David Marr and the courage of survivors.
– Archdeacon Peter Macleod-Miller, Albury, NSW
Adani and traditional owners’ consent
The Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners deserve the highest human rights award for their determination to fight Adani in the face of Australia’s unjust laws (Mike Seccombe, “Canavan hijacks native title fight on Adani”, February 16-22). Native title laws are stacked against traditional owners. As with many dealings with the extractive industry across Australia, fair negotiations are a sham. If traditional owners vote against consent, the mine will go ahead anyway. This forces many to vote to approve the mine just to receive crumbs from the corporate table. Native title laws contravene the articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to give “free, prior and informed consent” on their lands. No wonder the Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners appealed to the UN when they had no recourse to have their human rights upheld in Australia. Their monumental fight will go down in history, but what are the chances justice will prevail? And what are the chances Australia will honour the UNDRIP, which it has endorsed?
– Cathy Gill, Bronte, NSW
More than just boats
You have to worry about an opposition that is terrified by any imputation that they are soft on a “border security” policy aimed at a number of unarmed refugees who would constitute far less than 0.5 per cent of the average yearly migrant intake (Karen Middleton, “Morrison ignored boat security advice”, February 23-March 1). Even if Labor’s moral compass has fallen under a bus, they could still point out that the policy breaches international humanitarian conventions as well as costing billions, more than enough to send all our innocent prisoners to the world’s best universities. If they wanted to get combative, the opposition could also draw inferences from the mountainous wreckage of the government’s credibility and integrity on multiple fronts in just the past few months. The threat posed by a government that would seemingly say or do about anything to save its own skin or turn a quick buck looms greater than that posed by rickety fishing boats.
– John Hayward, Williamstown, Vic
Wrong priorities on asylum seekers
When the Secretary of the Home Affairs Department, Mike Pezzullo, told the senate estimates committee the government was warned to add two amendments to the medivac bill to stop people smugglers reigniting their trade, I sat up and took heed. It’s therefore interesting to note that while the first amendment to open Christmas Island was immediately flagged into place by the government, the second to repatriate all people on successfully recovering or completing their treatments was not only ignored, but was then used after the bill was passed as a “newly discovered loophole” that could be employed to slam the efficacy of the bill and the opposition and Bill Shorten. Dirty politics indeed.
– Joan Lynn, Williamstown, Vic
Plea from future generations
I’m a millennial, which now is more likely to mean you’re in the workforce with a mortgage or rent than it is to mean you’re a university student, and I still see bristling from those born in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s about removing franking credit refunds. Folks, we’re spending billions on an extra handout for you when you have to own hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of shares in order to qualify for the refund. It’s now more likely that my generation will see revolution or extinction in the climate apocalypse than retirement. Can’t we afford to sacrifice just a few perks for wealthy retirees (and if you own that many shares, you’re wealthy even if it’s not cash-in-hand wealth) in order to save us – your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren? Please?
– Josh Andrews, Mount Colah, NSW
Speaking for the vulnerable
Thank you , Maxine Beneba Clarke. Once again you tear open the sobbing wounds inflicted upon vulnerable people by this government, in this case by Centrelink (“Bridge”, February 23-March 1). Apparently, more than 2000 suicides as a result of robo-debt demands are of not the smallest concern to the Department of “Human Services” , because a link cannot be proved in court. A public servant, in answer to questions at senate estimates, stonily asserts that suicide victims of robo-debt are “by definition” no longer here to testify. How very convenient. The people called to answer are “by definition” public servants; that is, servants of the public, not servants of the current soulless regime. The level of contempt held by the present government for vulnerable people, and human rights in general, could not be clearer.
– Elizabeth Chandler, Napoleon Reef, NSW
A gift suggestion
Christmas wish – a book of Maxine Beneba Clarke’s poems, please, with all this year’s reflective beautiful ironic clever words to put beside my bed for the last read of the day. Clarke is to words what Leunig is to line drawing.
– Pamela Curr, Brunswick, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Mar 2, 2019. Subscribe here.