No need to stop the boats
Professor Robert Manne makes a valid point (“The myth of the great wave”, March 2-8). The continued offshore detention of nearly 1000 asylum seekers does not make any contribution to stopping the boats. His comments on what friends of asylum seekers must accept, however, misses the point. We don’t need to stop the boats. There is no security threat. It is oddly appropriate that a professor of politics addresses what has always been a political problem. The massive waste of public funds, the toll of human misery, the diminution of our human rights and the trashing of our reputation internationally can all be attributed to our two major political parties and their federal politicians. It has been entirely their choice to create “illegal maritime arrivals” as unwitting ammunition for their war for power. The unpalatable truth is that these politicians incite division and racism. Then they have the gall to infer that they are just responding to the racism of an electorate that is indicated by the resurrection of Pauline Hanson. It is they who brought her back from the dead.
– Roy Hive, Chapel Hill, Qld
Put essay on the curriculum
Good prose, in George Orwell’s famous simile, is like a windowpane. Robert Manne, who has few equals anywhere as an eloquently persuasive essayist, models this perfectly in his outstanding article. It should be anthologised in educational texts and studied in every school in Australia.
– Daniel Dennis, New Farm, Qld
A political colour wheel
Your front-page story on Damien Hodgkinson highlights the number of independents, some already in parliament, who are taking a blue-green position (Karen Middleton, “The campaigner behind Phelps, Banks and Steggall”, March 2-8). Blue because their target electorates are Coalition-held so a slightly right-of-centre position is appropriate, green because they and the majority of most voters want stronger action on renewables and man-made global warming. All these hopefuls would benefit from working together with a common platform under a common banner. Turquoise?
– Alexander Rosser, Turramurra, NSW
Following the money
Your editorial (“Five years”, March 2-8), concludes “the edifice of power in this country is rotten”. Nothing confirms this more than the Liberal Party raiding the public purse providing overblown contracts to Liberal Party-aligned entities, which in turn donate to party campaign funds, in a blatant rort on any measure of propriety. If it looks like a duck et cetera, a rort ought to be called out for what it is; wrong. The Liberal Party has form, avoiding the New South Wales ban on donations from developers by channelling through an ACT entity. The Helloworld issue underwrites the fact that the Liberal Party is accessing public money by way of a similar merry-go-round. Add Indue, owned by
Liberal and National Party members, being granted a wholesome $10,000 per card to administer the cashless welfare debit card, recycling money back to Liberal Party campaign funds. I suspect many more examples exist. It is inescapable; budget funds are ending up in the Liberal Party purse. This is an unconscionable abuse. Government has no entitlement to receive benefit in this manner. Remedy is essential with a ban on any company in receipt of a government contract from donating to a political party. It won’t be initiated by this government.
– Rod Milliken, Greenwell Point, NSW
PM using Trump’s tactics
As usual, Mike Seccombe’s article this week caught the current politics nicely (“PM’s climate fund fallacy”, March 2-8). There’s a remarkable similarity between the public styles of ScoMo and Trump – both appear to believe absolutely in the efficacy of the “Gish gallop”, as academic Tim Baxter describes it: “a term for when you throw out copious amounts of half-truths and baseless claims in rapid succession, knowing your opponent cannot rebut each one in the available time”. That’s exactly Trump’s style, just as it is Morrison’s. After Hanoi, Trump will claim great statesmanship in “walking” from his meeting with Kim Jong-un and blame him for the absence of any outcome. The sad truth is that citizens of both countries, and of the rest of the world, held hopes for a good result and will be disappointed. Normally, this would mean a major “loss of face” for both participants. Trump has no believable face left to lose but Kim does – hence his immediate rebuttal press conference. ScoMo is trying to use the same tactic as Trump in the dying days of the present government – claiming great but nonsensical achievements, gambling on some of them staying alive. Hopefully, the Australian voters will be just a bit more thoughtful in exercising their compulsory vote than their US counterparts.
– Ronald Burnstein, Heidelberg, Vic
Climate politics to benefit independents
We live in interesting times. Neither major party is taking climate change seriously enough, as seen by their support of Adani and of coal seam gas mining. You do have to wonder if the fossil fuel enablers in Canberra have children or grandchildren because flying the plane into the wall on climate change appears to be their default position. Direct Action 2, which the accidental prime minister is promoting, will emulate version 1: just another massive handout of public money into private hands that achieves nothing. Alarm bells are ringing so loudly throughout the community that a new wave of politicians, independent of the major parties, is going to be ushered in to kick the riders off the gravy train and hopefully get the nation back on the rails to a more intelligently controlled future.
– Joy Ringrose, Pomona, Qld
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Mar 9, 2019. Subscribe here.