Reflecting on Sam Dastyari’s push for public funding of political campaigns, it is useful to reflect on donations in New South Wales (Karen Middleton, “Funding fault”, September 21-27). Only NSW bans donations from property developers. [Editor’s note: Queensland has also banned such donations.] Despite the bans, donations continue to flow. We all suspect that the donations are a down payment for favours. The donations arise despite being illegal. One can only fret about what happens in all the other states that don’t declare such donations illegal.
– Michael Angley, Moonee Ponds, Vic
An issue of graver significance than the valid questions regarding Gladys Liu: at the very heart of trust in the government is the honesty of its leader. Prime Minister Scott Morrison does not deserve the free pass he receives for being loose with the truth. His emphatic claim to parliament that he had never used the term “Shanghai Sam” is a patent lie, for which he apparently loses no skin to his reputation. We witness the “miracle” PM continuing a pattern of promoting the implausible. This particular example calls into question almost any statement made by Morrison, be it spin, distortion, misrepresentation or untruth. It ought to be recognised as a mark against the man’s character, yet it is barely remarked upon. Accepting this standard as par for the course allows the PM to continue to distort the truth. He has compromised the respect due his position.
– Rod Milliken, Greenwell Point, NSW
Appointments on a theme
I must admire the prime minister’s sense of irony. First Philip Ruddock to the review of religious freedom, then Tony Abbott into Aboriginal affairs, followed by Barnaby Joyce into water allocations and the Murray–Darling Basin, and now finally Kevin Andrews and Pauline Hanson as co-chairs on family law (Editorial, “Hanson law review”, September 21-27). It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic for all Australians. Is he giving us an “up yours” or is he just buying votes, rewarding old mates and returning favours?
– Jean John, Adelaide, SA
There are those who are and those who aren’t deserving of welfare (Rick Morton, “Newstart: the human cost of Morrison’s plan”, September 14-20). For example, private schools receiving government funds are deserving and farmers doing it tough are also deserving. Low-skilled unemployed single parents (thanks, Labor) and aged pensioners are generally undeserving. The undeserving need to constantly justify why they should receive support. Compassion is a human virtue and is given freely. It is not held in monopoly by Christians or conservatives. If it is conditional, then it’s not compassion.
– John Bailey, Canterbury, NSW
Children leading climate fight
As a geriactivist who joined students last Friday in Melbourne for the global climate strike, may I congratulate Maxine Beneba Clarke on her poem “Fridays” (September 21-27). All our children are asking is that the adults try much harder.
– Alison Fraser, Ascot Vale, Vic
Maxine Beneba Clarke’s poem is the first article I read each Saturday, in the sure anticipation of a brilliantly expressed encapsulation of what is happening in our society or further afield. Sometimes the situation she describes is to be deplored, sometimes celebrated, as most recently in “Fridays”. The Saturday Paper is to be congratulated in appointing this talented, generous and witty author as its poet laureate. Are there plans for publication of this year’s poems in book form?
– Aldyth Love, Newmarket, Qld
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words … And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!’’ Greta Thunberg’s iconic speech to world leaders is ringing in my ears and will continue to do so for a long, long time. How I wish that our political leaders had a dose of Greta’s vision, courage and passion.
– Kevin Burke, Sandringham, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Sep 28, 2019. Subscribe here.