Letters to
the editor

The challenge of China

I feel sad and worried to see Australia’s stance towards China reduced to a struggle between fear and greed, as described in Vicky Xiuzhong Xu’s article, “Keating exposes China divide” (November 23-29). I was brought up to like and admire China and the Chinese, and the more I study Chinese language, history and culture, and mix with Chinese people, the more I do so. I know many European Australians feel the same, but this is not very apparent from the media coverage. I am definitely not suggesting that we should overlook brutal or inhumane acts by the Chinese government, or those by the United States or Australian governments or anyone else. However, it is unhelpful and unbecoming to prance on the moral high ground, for others are bound to look up your kilt.

– Ian Elliott, Meadowbank, NSW

Taking a stand

Paul Keating’s lone voice in dismissing China’s hawkish fears is admirable. This issue reveals much about our politicians and the usual China experts as they continually ignore the basic fact that we are selling parts of Australia to China, lock, stock and barrel. Our hypocrisy is astounding.

– Carmelo Bazzano, Epping, Vic

Mineral resourceful

I was absolutely fascinated to read in Mike Seccombe’s piece, “Raking over old coal” (November 23-29), that the Minerals Council of Australia had thoughtfully lacquered what may have become Australia’s most famous or infamous lump of coal to avoid MPs getting their hands dirty, thereby converting it into the only piece of clean coal in existence. My apologies to any Novocastrians who feel that Lieutenant Shortland’s lump (probably in a protective glass case somewhere) should retain its pre-eminence.

– Richard Hansford, Lindfield, NSW

Summer of silence

Last week two letter writers – Theresa Howe, “Discussion of death in Yuendumu”, and Timothy Brown, “Concern on rights” – asked deeply pertinent and worrying questions (Letters, November 23-29). Is the High Court unduly constrained under this Coalition government, and is the ABC, our national broadcaster, also constrained in what it is able to report? Fear of further budget cuts appears to be sufficient to shrivel the ABC’s voice. As someone who also has written previously to the ABC questioning its seeming preference for LNP agendas and opinions, there is only bureaucratic jargon in reply. Apparently “our right to know” has strict boundaries. Meanwhile, we are urged to concentrate on the cricket this summer.

– Elizabeth Chandler, Napoleon Reef, NSW

Little help for Hicks

Rick Morton (“Saving Assange”, November 23-29) quotes Greg Barns saying: “Or are we prepared to do what we did in the David Hicks case, which is to say, ‘No, he is one of ours’ and stand up to them.” This comment about Hicks is so wrong. In my recollection, the only person who stood up for Hicks was the US military defence lawyer who did a really good job. The Australian government under John Howard wanted nothing to do with Hicks unlike, for example, Britain, Canada or New Zealand with their own citizens. The Blair government made very determined and successful efforts to get their people brought home. Australia does not have a record of defending or supporting its citizens. Look at the current government’s position on women and children involved with ISIS. At the moment, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is still struggling with the notion of withdrawing citizenship from people with sole Australian citizenship. Using Hicks as an example is a flawed analogy.

– Aileen Forsayeth, Lyndoch, SA

Echoes of SeaChange

Smoothly and soothingly, Scott Morrison says he is appalled by the 23 million illegal transactions carried out by Westpac. Some of this activity may have helped to finance terrorism and child abuse. I’m sure he is appalled, because for three years Scott Morrison was treasurer in a Coalition government, with responsibility for banking. It’s no wonder he is trying to move us ever so gently away from any memory of that fact. But the more he does so, the more he looks and sounds like Bob Jelly.

– Grant Agnew, Coopers Plains, Qld

More penalties for Westpac chief executive

I am surprised, pleasantly so, that chief executive Brian Hartzer resigned from Westpac this week. The pertinent question now is what will Hartzer’s parachute package be for completely failing to do his job? His failed performance, lack of competence, lack of leadership and lack of integrity indicates to me he should in fact have to repay his remuneration package for the past five years. He should also be banned from taking on any senior management or board position in any industry in Australia in the foreseeable future.

– Erik Kulakauskas, Port Macquarie, NSW

Welcome additions

I welcome cartoonist Jon Kudelka to The Saturday Paper but will miss him in the Weekend Australian Review. It was good to see Maxine Beneba Clarke’s brilliant poem “Surveillance” (November 16-22) given a larger space above Mungo MacCallum’s Cryptic.

– Susan Munday, Bentleigh East, 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 November 30, 2019.

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