Letters to
the editor

Morrison’s helping hands

Having just read Karen Middleton’s article “Scott Morrison’s inner circle” (June 29-July 5), I am bemused at the plotting, scheming and protestations of loyalty, followed in short order by betrayal, of the various Christians in the Liberal Party. Faith, hope and charity are invisible. Perhaps we should no longer be surprised that asylum seekers, deprived of any hope, are treated as if they do not deserve any dignity, and are perhaps to be prevented from seeking proper medical care. Charity – care and compassion – is denied. They are regarded as inhuman pawns to be used to frighten other desperate refugees. At the same time poor welfare recipients are cheated and despised. These “Christians” worship Mammon, wealth and power.

– Gael Barrett, North Balwyn, Vic

A matter of description

Can we please stop referring to Scott Morrison as a Christian? The man attends a Pentecostal Church, full stop. This does not make him a Christian. I attend Melbourne Symphony Orchestra concerts – it does not make me a violinist. Morrison, like so many of his brethren and party hacks, is utterly selective in which Christian teachings he opts to follow. Real Christians do not hold innocent people hostage as a means of deterrence. Let’s be more discerning in our choice of epithets.

– Alan Whittaker, Kew East, Vic

Freedom to persecute

Why should religion, which is purely a matter of personal choice, receive any special “rights” and “freedoms” not accorded, for good reason, to the majority under various laws (Editorial, “Maybe God didn’t make your penis”, June 29-July 5)? Governments certainly do not turn a blind eye to those who choose to belong to ultra-right-wing or terrorist groups and who seek to gain and retain followers by preying on any points of belief or other differences, and activating fear and hate in order to claim some confected level of superiority.

– Sue Dyer, Downer, ACT

Government must find balance

The editorial regarding Israel Folau, and the broader debate thus far on the progressive side of politics, is failing to engage with the freedom-of-speech argument. In a pluralistic and democratic society, there is a need to balance offence and freedom to express an opinion. Government needs to provide leadership on this issue through legislation so that we, as society, can get this balance right. The extent to which an employer can control an employee’s freedom of speech also warrants further discussion. Remember, this can just as easily apply to a progressive employee working for a conservative employer.

– Luke Vanni, Nundah, Qld

Social liberalism

The last sentence of Andrew Leigh’s fine article (“Liberalism and Labor”, June 29-July 5) ran, “And that leaves social liberalism free for just one party”, presumably referring to the ALP, whose primary vote in the last federal election was almost exactly one-third, not the half-share implied. The sentence also approximated the 10 per cent primary vote of the Greens to zero. This bout of innumeracy is worrying in a former professor of economics.

– Terry Lustig, Kensington, NSW

Remake was a worthy interpretation

Alison Croggon, in her review of the Melbourne Theatre Company’s Storm Boy, made several mentions of the recent filmed remake, which was “by all accounts” ham-fisted and “ordinary” (“The lie of the Storm”, June 29-July 5). It’s a shame she missed it as its screenplay carefully came to grips with exactly her concerns about re-presenting Colin Thiele’s story in today’s climate. The movie, largely pilloried by Australian critics for messing with a classic, managed to connect deeply to young children, teenagers, their parents and grandparents. It was made in close partnership with Ngarrindjeri elders, introduced a major female character, focused on the nurturing aspects of its male leads and was emotionally remarkably complex. By bookending the familiar story with a portrayal of an ageing white Australian – whose life has been poisoned by unresolved conflict – rediscovering a lost spiritual connection to place, it sincerely attempted to create a potent overarching metaphor for our country today. I worked on the film (as composer) and, like the hundreds who did, am very proud of it. Ms Croggon’s review, while denting the myth of the 1976 film as timeless, unfairly elevates the hearsay that ours was a travesty to the level of myth itself.

– Alan John, Stirling, SA

The gift of solace

Amid my feelings of despair, it is such a comfort each weekend to receive an original poem, delivered to my door. It is a delight to see TSP poet laureate Maxine Beneba Clarke allowed to do what she does best: to gather words around our rage and despair at current political events, to compose them carefully, with breathing space between for sobs, sighs, hopes for what could be or could have been. Who would have thought a weekly poem in place of a cartoon would deliver such wonders during such terrible times? This week, gathering up my pots and seedlings from the makeshift greenhouse, I was further delighted to read Margaret Simons’ words about gardening as pottering: trial and error, discovery, disappointment and the slow work of just keeping going (“Plant of attack”, June 29-July 5). Thank you, Saturday Paper, for providing honest, earnest news, and ways to help us bear it.

– Margaret Mayhew, Coburg, Vic

Letters are welcome: [email protected]
Please include your full name and address and a daytime telephone number. Letters may be edited for length and content, and may be published in print and online. Letters should not exceed 150 words.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on July 6, 2019.

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