The video hit on Michael Daley
As a long-time New South Wales Labor supporter, I am grateful to the Liberals for spilling the beans on Michael Daley (Paddy Manning, “Inside the Liberal Party’s dirt unit”, April 6–12). He was clearly not equipped to lead our multicultural community, so thanks for the heads-up. Better still, I was very encouraged to see that the strong reaction against his comments went way beyond just Asian Australians. We still have a long way to go but we are making some good progress towards a humane and inclusive society.
– Ian Elliott, Meadowbank, NSW
Controlling the story
Martin McKenzie-Murray suggests “the pockets of PR hacks aren’t usually rewarded with silence. It’s words that make them money.” (“A different kind of spin”, April 6–12). With the benefit of some decades in PR practice I can assure him that the serious money is rewarded by ensuring silence prevails.
– Noel Turnbull, Port Melbourne, Vic
Equal public funding, not donations
This may sound self-serving. So be it. The truth is, it’s a lot bigger than me. The current trend towards American-style presidential campaigns skews the system heavily in favour of the wealthiest candidates; or, at least, those who can call upon the wealthiest backers. It can also, obviously, tend to taint candidates with the spectre of favours owed, somewhere down the line. Expectations can lend subtle (or not so subtle) pressure. Even if a candidate manages to withstand such pressure, the shadow isn’t a good look, so why not do away with these political penumbrae altogether? A modest, publicly funded campaign contribution (of, say, a few thousand dollars per candidate) would practically eliminate the propensity for the kind of gross corruption exposed in Monday night’s Four Corners. It would make for an egalitarian, level playing field in which all candidates would have to revert to a true grassroots, town square approach. As things stand, mainstream media focus on the most obvious, cashed-up contenders, often at the expense of the other, decent, diligent, but dough-deficient ones. It seems to me elections shouldn’t be about profile or personalities but policy, inspiration, imagination, vision and a capacity for true leadership.
– Lloyd Bradford Syke, independent for Warringah, Dee Why, NSW
What’s in it for me?
In line with the United States Declaration of Independence the pursuit of individual and family happiness is contingent on bolstering the self-axis of furthering one’s own interest and ambition, if not deepening the hip pocket. The corrupting weakness for democracies is that elections transmute into malignant contests that pork-barrel inducements to best feather the nests of voters. Bribes and appeals by contestants repress the better nature of our angels that engage with social conscience and community fairness. A democracy incentivises the primacy of the self. Voters leverage support to boost their own comfort and prospects to the detriment of others. Better tax breaks for more crucial voters need to be funded by others as the captains of industry and the wealthy hoard their mountain of gold that rests upon the breaking backs of workers.
– Joseph Ting, Carina, Qld
Lollies for everyone!
In Grade 2 of my godchild’s daughter’s school, a mini-election was held to appoint a class monitor: a prestigious position. There were three candidates: Jenny, whose mother worked one day a week in the school’s tuckshop; Stella, whose mother read to the class every Thursday afternoon; and Barrie, whose father was a Labor politician. The election was held and the teacher was surprised to find everyone in the class had voted for Barrie; even Stella and Jenny voted for Barrie. Then she found out that Barrie had promised everyone who voted for him a lolly. I predict that Bill Shorten will be our prime minister after the federal election.
– Clive Hodges, St Lucia, Qld
More torque talk
Prime Minister Scott Morrison thinks that electric vehicles will be the death of the weekend (Mike Seccombe, “All torque, not enough action”, April 6–12). Let’s follow that logic. What do you need to pull a caravan? What do you need to provide breathtaking acceleration off the line? It is torque. It sounds the same but it’s different to what politicians do. Talk doesn’t make your car go, mate. Torque does. It is more important than power. For four-wheel-drive vehicles the lower the revolutions that this comes in the better. This is about 2000 rpm on a good diesel. On an electric motor it is instantaneous. I can’t wait until I can replace my diesel engine in my ute with an electric motor on each wheel. An electric motor is 95 per cent efficient. A diesel motor, at best, is 22 per cent efficient. My diesel has about 2000 bits that can break. An electric motor has seven. If the weekend has to go, bring it on. I want the torque and I want the efficiency. The noise can stay in parliament.
– Steve Posselt, Ballina, NSW
A poetry collection
Hearty thanks to The Saturday Paper and Maxine Beneba Clarke for her brilliant, poignant and always prescient poems appearing on the Letters page. I hope that Schwartz Media will eventually honour them by publication of a complete collection. In the meantime, I am cutting and pasting to create my own.
– Janet Ramsay, Blackheath, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Apr 13, 2019. Subscribe here.