From the privilege of freedom
Yet again, Behrouz Boochani (“Dutton’s for punishment”, September 7-13) articulates, with profound insights, many truths experienced by people rightly seeking asylum and incarcerated on Manus Island and Nauru. He also reminds those of us opposed to the totalitarian policies of this government, which violate their human right to seek asylum, that we walk with freedom and “have opportunities to be active in society”. Mr Dutton, by his comments, not only demeans those on Manus Island and Nauru but also continues to mould lies, criminality and violence in our name. In essence Mr Dutton’s continued stance illustrates that asylum seekers’ lives are worth less than ours – this is an abomination. What understanding do we who walk with freedom possibly have when death’s shadow follows one?
– Judith Morrison, Mount Waverley, Vic
One desperate family
After reading “Dutton’s for punishment”, further evidence of Peter Dutton’s cruelty may be found on page 7 of the same issue, “Biloela and our better angels” (Rod Bower, September 7-13). As is now well known, the Tamil family from Biloela in Queensland was forcibly removed to Melbourne then later, via Darwin, to the detention prison on Christmas Island. The crime of the two parents is that they came to Australia, separately, by boat, seeking safe haven. Unlike other asylum seekers on boats, they did not drown. Because, in the eyes of the government, people must be deterred from attempting the hazardous voyage to Australia, those who do not drown need to be punished. By the government’s cruel logic, the deterrent needs to be at least as bad as drowning. So, the family’s future is now looking extremely bleak. Their suffering is what might be expected in pre-war Germany, but this, to the nation’s shame, is Australia 2019, where one man, Peter Dutton, can decide a refugee’s fate.
– David Nash, Manly, NSW
Government rendered opaque
Your editorial (“Press under fire”, September 7-13) crystallises so many of the facts regarding the concerted campaign against press freedom into a cogent, compelling picture of policy motivated entirely by political survival. This band of rag-tag right-wing ratbags is so committed to quarantining themselves from scrutiny that there’s a clear impression we’re seeing the expectation of transparency in the service of the common good crumbling before our very eyes. The other sad aspect of this grubby business is that our lacklustre opposition seems content to murmur platitudes in a token of dissent. Until we have a decent opposition with a clear-cut agenda and credible leader, the incumbent mob appear to be able to do whatever they like.
– Bruce Hulbert, Lilyfield, NSW
While our PM performs his endless Pangloss act around the country, his parliamentary troops are working tirelessly to block any critical light from the viewing public. This week’s editorial samples their efforts to gag the news media from disclosing anything embarrassing about Team Morrison. Mike Seccombe also pointed out that the proposed Commonwealth Integrity Commission was clearly designed as an exhibit (“False teeth”, September 7-13). Morrison’s saccharine neighbourhood-dad image, his interesting tourism career and conspicuous evasiveness, combined with his government’s concerted attacks on democratic institutions and accountability, seem well worth a nightmare or two.
– John Hayward, Weegena, Tas
Let the market decide
Commentators on the draft religious anti-discrimination legislation seem to overlook one of its most interesting features (Karen Middleton, “Taking on faith”, September 7-13). The Folau clause arguably elevates market theology to the status of Australia’s official religion by stipulating employers can only restrict employees’ after-hours expression of any other religion if employers can prove financial damage. Much of our national discourse already assumes the market embodies moral, ethical and political authority. To enshrine this so openly in legislation could have far-reaching consequences for separation of church and state.
– Jean Harkins, Canton Beach, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Sep 14, 2019. Subscribe here.