Missing the points
It is clear that consideration of morality is lacking in this federal election. There are two outstanding matters, neither being properly addressed by the media or the two major parties. The first is the imprisonment and torture of asylum seekers. Kevin Rudd declared that any who arrived by boat would never be allowed in and would be subject to offshore detention, which translates as “prison somewhere out of sight”. The Labor Party allowed the outsourcing of responsibility and tried to keep us citizens ignorant of the effects. When the other party got in, the mantra “stop-the-boats” was used to justify the continuation of imprisonment and mistreatment (and torture) but not a sensible naval presence. The responsibilities of imprisonment were again outsourced to foreign countries and foreign companies. We recently saw their attempts to deny medical attention. The second matter is the dithering about climate change. Both parties dumped leaders who dared to act. The use of renewable sources of energy is now cheaper and less polluting than the old methods, despite the efforts of vested interests to stop development. But the inaction continues, with “The Economy” being the centrepiece of arguments against sensible action about carbon. This is, again, a moral failure by both “parties”, because it neglects the wellbeing of humanity into the future. In both matters, Australia is in conflict with United Nations conventions and international agreements. Both parties have made Australia a bad citizen, denying our responsibilities to the world of humans, and the actual planet. The upshot is, if a citizen has any moral sense, they should not give their first or second voting preference to the Labor or Liberal–National candidate in their electorate. Remember that such a candidate, if elected, must act as the party directs. If citizens voting against the two big parties means Australia gets a hung parliament or minority government, all the better. Moral aspects might then be considered by some non-party, independent crossbenchers whose support is needed.
– Warren Brisley, Dorrigo, NSW
Climate change costs
Dear Mr Morrison and Mr Shorten, could you please supply us with the cost of the extraordinary floods in Townsville, the extraordinary fires in Tasmania, the extraordinary droughts in so many parts of Australia, all products of the changes in the climate and the challenge endangering the environment. Without a healthy environment we cannot have an economy, let alone a healthy one.
– Joan Lynn, Williamstown, Vic
Our poet laureate
Exquisite piece of writing by Peter Goldsworthy (“The Big Bloke”, May 4-10): “We see more things for the first time, and see more familiar things renewed, in [Les Murray’s] poetry than in the work of any other poet or painter or writer I can think of” – a view recently echoed as “the greatest living Australian writer in any genre”. Years back I submitted him for poet laureate: a bold and just choice for poetry written in English. Congratulations, Black Inc, on recently publishing his collected verse, just as he wished it.
– Edward Black, Church Point, NSW
Les Murray’s unique voice
I was living in Taree district in the 1980s, and I’d asked Les Murray if he’d like to come on the local 2BOB radio for my writers’ program. Les agreed. “I’m from Bunyah,” he announced. “The centre of the universe.” He chatted and read several poems over three generous sessions, including “An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow”, which occupied the entire program in his unique delivery. There won’t be another like him. “Briefly the kitchen tap turns on/ then off. But the tank says Debit, Debit.” Thank you, Les, for so many memorable lines; I get up late now…
– Julia Osborne, Nambucca Heads, NSW
Thank you, Maxine Beneba Clarke, for your insightful, beautiful poetry. In the week that we lost Les Murray it is heartening to know that we have a poet in The Saturday Paper who can say so much and evoke so many images in your recent poem, “Rapture” (Letters, April 27-May 3).
– Ros Barwick, Sunnybank Hills, Qld
The story of soccer players Aivi Luik and Alex Chidiac exemplifies what friendship, both within and apart from sport, is about (Robert Kidd, “Shared goals”, May 4-10). Despite an age difference of 14 years and playing for different Femenino (don’t you love Europe) soccer clubs, these young women love their sport and each other enough to barrack for either one or both to be selected in the Matildas squad for the World Cup in France. What defines them is not competitive rivalry and immaturity but passion for their game and delight in achieving their goals. And their most important goal: each other’s welfare.
– Pam Connor, Mollymook Beach, NSW
Action over voting
Thank you for publishing who you publish, especially Behrouz Boochani, a Solzhenitsyn, political hostage in Australia’s horror camp on Manus. The men there shall be released and the corporations and politicians profiting from this human rights violation held to account. As we approach May 18, it is as well to remember the words of the late and great Howard Zinn, US historian: “Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.”
– Stephen Langford, Paddington, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on May 11, 2019.
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