Letters to
the editor

McCormack must act on medical care

It is time that the deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, whose electorate office is located in Wagga Wagga, woke up and leapt out of hiding to support the needs of his female constituents and rural women living in adjacent New South Wales electorates (Justine Landis-Hanley, “Doctors crippled by religious backlash”, February 29–March 6). Surely he could bring about action to reverse the highly discriminatory, controlling and career-threatening stranglehold that some local medical and community reactionaries brandish across the local health sector in order to prevent women accessing basic reproductive health services in Wagga’s major health facilities. After all, these “service delivery” institutions benefit from much government funding in various ways, and women as taxpayers help ensure their existence and financial viability. How good would it be if, in the wake of International Women’s Day, the deputy PM used his credentials and influence to announce a practical plan that would provide the timely, affordable and locally accessible range of health services that his constituents desperately need and deserve, without any religious interference?

– Sue Dyer, Downer, ACT

No compassion

Justine Landis-Hanley’s report on the discrimination against doctors in Wagga Wagga vis-a-vis the proposed religious discrimination bill was very disturbing. Leaving aside executives at a hospital presently preventing doctors practising medicine that isn’t related to the executive’s religious beliefs, patients in rural towns and cities have less opportunity to take their business elsewhere. What can’t be ignored is the sanctimonious position of some churches that the importance of a life, children and the aged is sacrosanct when their record of care and compassion is so demonstrably appalling and criminal.

– Trevor Martin, St Leonards, Vic

Independent decision-maker needed

The revelations keep coming out about the government pushing funds to marginal seats. Karen Middleton’s excellent piece is only the latest revelation (“$500m fund was directed to key Liberals”, February 29–March 6). One of the most important policy proposals of the Shorten campaign was to remove infrastructure investment from political decision-making and create an independent infrastructure body. The Morrison government daily reminds the electorate of the wisdom of this proposal. The country also desperately needs a federal ICAC with unlimited penalties and retrospective powers and Morrison is why.

– John Gleeson, Lower Plenty, Vic

Gerard Henderson replies

Richard Ackland in his article (Gadfly, “Christian soldiers”, February 29–March 6) has misrepresented my comments on The Bolt Report on February 18 concerning the St Kevin’s College victim of child sexual assault. On the program, I specifically said “of course we are sympathetic to the victim in this case”. I added that I understood the victim’s annoyance on learning that the headmaster had written a court reference after his abuser was found guilty. Anyone who watched the program would know this.

– Gerard Henderson, Sydney, NSW

End the climate wars

The incompatibility of Labor’s net zero emissions target by 2050, and its support for Adani’s coalmine (Letters, “Labor’s climate contradiction”, February 29–March 6) confirms that “Albanese has decisively moved to the right” (Mike Seccombe, “Net zero sum games”). Labor’s climate policy is almost as ambiguous as the Liberals’, who won’t even commit to a net zero target by 2050. In short, Australia’s polity is still engaged in the “climate wars”, and it is a tragedy. Too Late: How We Lost the Battle with Climate Change, published in 2017, has a prologue with an evocative description of the wildlife and beauty of Kangaroo Island. The author, Geoffrey Maslen, could not, of course, predict the imminent devastation of this paradise by the bushfires of early 2020, except to note that it is “under threat”. This book, among many others, implores governments to take immediate action to avert catastrophic global heating. And it asks: “How will we be able to look into the eyes of our children and grandchildren without weeping at the legacy we are leaving them?”

– David Nash, Forster, NSW

Behavioural change

While the Bri Lee article “System failure” (February 29– March 6) raises many valid points and speaks of expensive reports, television interviews and laws to protect victims and punish or dissuade potential abusers, it left me angry. We can spruik all we like about programs, police skill sets and bipartisan government agreements but we’re not making much ground. Real men do not behave in this manner when things aren’t going their way and it is not acceptable. Good men must lead and call out their peers for poor behaviour. The tools for good healthy relationships must be at the core of these programs and those facing domestic violence orders must commit to learning new ways of dealing with change, rejection and loss.

– Carol Erskine, Howards Grass, Vic


The clue for 1 Down in The Cryptic (Mungo MacCallum, February 29–March 6) was: Unusual seal and ram and lizard (10). Salamanders may be lizard-like but they are amphibians. Leave the reptiles in politics.

– Malte Ebach, Wentworth Falls, NSW

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 March 7, 2020.

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