Corporations and the future we wish for
The Australian government sends arrow prayers aloft as it implements the strategies it believes necessary to save capitalism from the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. While the general population applauds the resulting policy shifts that finally address some of the gross inequities that have been building over decades, Karen Middleton reports on the real deal (“Treasury’s plan for a new economy”, April 4-10). She notes that John Roskam, a former manager at Rio Tinto and current executive director of the Institute of Public Affairs, is using this moment to call for corporate tax cuts and scrapping “regulatory red tape … [and prioritising jobs above all else] including environmental protection”. The IPA is largely funded by, and represents the interests of, large extractive corporations, and has several of its members installed in parliament. By 2017, 71 of the world’s largest 100 economies were corporations, and only 29 were national governments. We all need to fully understand the reality of these global and national power dynamics to help us remain especially vigilant if we are to fight for a post-Covid-19 world that we would wish for.
– Julia Anaf, Norwood, SA
The same old story
An uplifting Karen Middleton article with people of influence seeing ways ahead, then you realise people such as the IPA’s John Roskam push only the same old prejudice for their second-class society.
– James Lane, Hampton East, Vic
Why crisis won’t bring change
With his “This has done what Adani couldn’t do: put jobs ahead of the environment” calls for a reduction in corporate tax, reduced “red tape” and a lower minimum wage, the IPA’s John Roskam has (I suspect unwittingly) given further credence to Naomi Klein’s 2007 “shock doctrine” thesis in which economic and political crisis does not bring emancipatory politics and social and economic change, but rather the opposite. Roskam and the IPA can be seen as wannabes, but Barry Jones’s timely observations in his piece, “More democracy, not less” (April 4-10), highlight what needs to be done if crossing Morrison’s “bridge” is to take us into a “new dawn” rather than continue the nightmare of climate crisis, growing inequality and poverty, and increasingly authoritarian government and politics.
– Wayne Perkins, Camberwell, Vic
Barry and the bloviaters
Yet another masterful analysis by Barry Jones. He writes with his trademark incisive analysis and clarity of expression, communicating his ideas succinctly. But perhaps the best came at the end – “bloviating”. What a marvellous word! It describes the current political-speak perfectly. Thanks, Barry.
– Judith Taylor, Clematis, Vic
What hope for medevac detainees?
The genuine fear of Covid-19 among refugees detained in Papua New Guinea must surely be compounded among those medically evacuated to Australia from Manus Island (Rebekah Holt and Meg Watson, “Detention disorder”, April 4-10). These people have been confined in a Melbourne hotel following the repeal of the medevac laws in December. Their continued detention and consequent physical and mental distress in a high-risk environment is a tragedy waiting to happen. What hope for them left in limbo?
– Vicky Marquis, Glebe, NSW
Mums deserve more respect
While I broadly appreciate the tone of The Saturday Paper and its coverage of Covid-19, combined with your other wonderful content, particularly the Poem, I was a little saddened by the throwaway line “mums sunning themselves in parks” (Mike Seccombe, “Covid-19 lockdown and police powers”, April 4-10). This might be what it looks like, but I think it is an oversimplification of the action taking place. It is clear that women will bear a great burden as our caring roles in the home increase, on the front line of the healthcare response, as the victims of domestic violence and in disproportionately casualised work. Mums outside the home seemingly sunning themselves are probably mainly focusing on keeping themselves and their children from going crazy. Please don’t casualise or diminish the importance of this.
– Rebecca Barnett, Burleigh Heads, Qld
Unleashing Kudelka’s insights
Jon Kudelka’s “Dog-walking calculus” (Cartoon, April 4-10) unleashes a fascinating new line of contemplation for the supermarket queue. If the length of the queue is inversely proportional to the stocking of the shelves, will we find the items we need with more visits, or fewer? Is the probability of successful shopping greater if we visit more shops? Is the distribution curve of essential items flattening while the demand increases exponentially? Simple mathematical concepts can so easily evolve into philosophical journeys, but it’s unusual for the reverse to happen, and we should be grateful to Kudelka for his innumerable insights.
– Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale, Vic
Blinded by ideology and ego
Paul Bongiorno’s article (“Seismic shift in Coalition’s thinking”, April 4-10) makes reference to a quote by Jim Chalmers that many Australians knew firsthand “hollowing out the state hurts people”. What should have been added is: “except for the wealthy and executives who have clearly benefited from this colonial carryover-class economic ideology”. The truth is our democracy’s political system has thrown up people driven by ideology and ego who are not looking.
– Trevor Pratt, Eaglemont, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Apr 11, 2020.
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