Looking for answers
Firstly, as a Muslim and a refugee I want to thank the wider Australian community for their kind words and affection and for showing their great support in this time of great grieving. And I also thank Prime Minister Scott Morrison for at least referring to this Christchurch incident as terrorism. I don’t, however, know who to blame. Has it not become the norm to always blame religion for all the divisions in mankind and to more specifically blame Islam? Have we also not been blaming all Africans for all the crimes in Melbourne? Has our government not blamed refugees and immigrants for all the problems from traffic to terrorism in Australia? Hasn’t an Australian senator been expressing his extreme views after this incident while what we need is unity? Hasn’t he blamed immigration and Islam instead of blaming the offender? Isn’t it like he’s blaming inclusiveness instead of exclusion for hate and bigotry? Isn’t it professed that Islam is against Western civilisations and cannot integrate in Australia, and does the other end not use the same arguments to establish the Western civilisations are against Islam? What can we expect when all that’s spread is hate? Until and unless we understand that offenders are individuals and not their religions or ethnicities, true peace can never be achieved.
– Ehsan Ullah Malhi, Claremont Meadows, NSW
A call for unity
My thoughts and prayers go out to our brothers and sisters in New Zealand who have been affected by this terrorist attack. This is a consequence of Islamophobic hate speech and rhetoric that has been normalised by some politicians and sections of the media. Please, show some responsibility and diligence. We need to all come together to counter the white supremacist narrative and hate speech. There is a lot more we have in common than some people would have us believe.
– Syed Janud, Aberfoyle Park, SA
More haters are out there
The alleged perpetrator of the Christchurch shooting massacre of Muslim worshippers has been identified as Australian Brenton Tarrant of New South Wales. How many more extremist right-wing terrorists and racists like Tarrant, who have apparently taken the right-wing political propaganda and demonisation of refugees, migrants and Muslims to heart, roam in our midst, finding a multiracial Australia abhorrent?
– Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
Reading Sarah Krasnostein’s piece on Cardinal George Pell’s court case was like being allowed to witness a masterclass on writing (“Full circle”, March 16–22). As I read I also dared to remember my small grief of being deprived of such writing support during my deeply deficient educational experiences. So many changes needed in so many areas. Brilliant, thank you.
– Stuart Hill, Linden, NSW
Alcohol abuse affects all Australians
Nayuka Gorrie vividly articulates the muddled perceptions of non-Indigenous Australians to public drunkenness relating to Indigenous Australians and, not least, to themselves (“Sobering statistics”, March 16–22). It is difficult for a culture so steeped in acceptance, and even celebration, of inebriation to name the brokenness and racism inherent in disproportionately policing Indigenous Australians on this issue. We need to keep listening closely to those voices who remind us that increased awareness of, and the will to own, the racism that puts black lives in a position of vulnerability is a genuine responsibility. And we need to place alcohol abuse where it belongs: as a social problem shared by all Australians, with a particular focus on its effects on a vulnerable proportion of our population. Less policing and more shared journey.
– Pam Connor, Mollymook Beach, NSW
Policy can be a stimulus
Mike Seccombe’s great summary of the state of things on the wages front is timely in light of the upcoming elections (“Wages growth lowest since WWII”, March 16–22). As we spiral towards what’s looking eerily like 2008 again, it’s worth looking at the real possibilities here, rather than alarmist messages. Wages share has shrunk inexorably since the late 1970s. Increases in living standards from the late Howard–Costello years up to the global financial crisis are mostly attributable to burgeoning private debt (a huge issue), and the influx of cheaper imports of manufactured goods, not to Howard policies. As the economy continues contracting, the federal government has fiscal policy options open to it to target spending to start counteracting this. They would need to co-ordinate with state governments to be effective but it’s eminently doable. Inflation? We’ve never been further from it in decades. And yes, it’s watched for. The issuer of the Australian dollar is in a position to do this. We did it in 2008-09; we can do it again.
– Paul Keig, Wahroonga, NSW
Not up to speed
Thank you, Paddy Manning (“Node pain, no gain”, March 16–22). Just goes to show that having an iPad and an Apple Watch does not qualify you as a technology expert. Thank you for nothing, Malcolm Turnbull.
– Bill Forbes, Kippaxs, NSW
Two women worth remembering
I applauded the editorial (“Carbon copy”, March 16–22) on the recent student protest stressing the urgency of the present climate crisis. But referring to the “climate battles of the past two decades” I was reminded of two women who might well be horrified at the “atrophied public discourse” and the incessant procrastination over climate change. Eunice Foote discovered the relationship between CO2 and global warming in 1856 and Rachel Carson warned in 1962 about humans’ impact on nature and the need to regulate industry to protect the environment. Both were scientifically informed but gender and era-challenged. Is it any different in the 21st century with the way governments continue to wilfully ignore scientific evidence and the catastrophes that are resulting everywhere?
– Beverley McIntyre, Camberwell, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Mar 23, 2019. Subscribe here.