Politicians and envy
Margaret Simons (“The end of the university boom”, May 23-29) reports that government ministers and senior bureaucrats feel aggrieved when university vice-chancellors on $1 million salaries call on them crying poor, given that the academics’ remuneration is double those of the MPs and bureaucrats. One can only imagine how apoplectic they must feel when lobbied by the $24 million-a-year chief executive of Qantas, or any number of mining or banking CEOs. Or perhaps that’s just a case of the legitimate operation of the free market so beloved of conservatives?
– Geoff Skillen, Cook, ACT
Australian universities were once distinctive – in character, their relationship to national society, and their special connections to our region (epitomised by but going well beyond the Colombo Plan). But to government they were perpetual mendicants. Suddenly things changed. I recall the moment when the vice-chancellor of a leading university informed his professorial board that government and universities alike had recognised that higher education had become Australia’s second-greatest export earner. We should build an entire strategy based upon that fact. That would be our road to independence from grudging government largesse. We already held the means to our own independence, we just had to use them. Australian universities now find themselves pretty much out on the street. Their character forfeited, they grovel for spurious global rankings.
– Clive Kessler, Randwick, NSW
Angus Taylor in the slow lane
The editorial “Losing our way” (May 23-29) is prescient. The unveiling of the Australian government’s long-awaited “technology investment road map” for reducing Australia’s carbon emissions over the next 30 years confirms it as a work of fantasy. What would you expect when the committee is stacked with people from the gas industry? Angus Taylor, the responsible minister, Don Quixote-like, continues to tilt at windmills. He prevaricates, wasting valuable time for tackling the increasingly damaging impact of carbon emissions on the environment.
– Meg Pickup, Ballina, NSW
Traumatising asylum seekers
What a wonderful article from Imran Mohammad (“Setbacks and strength”, May 23-29). It is unforgivable what both Labor and the Coalition have put these refugees through, all in the name of “stopping the boats”. It is amazing how resilient they have been. Imran, Faisal and Aref and others who were sent to the United States have been determined to succeed in their new country and were doing well until the coronavirus struck. It is not surprising they are distressed now as they are most likely victims of post-traumatic stress disorder and they should have received medical attention before being sent to another country. Then there are the many refugees still in detention in Australia. They were sent here under medevac but have still had no medical attention. What a heartless, cruel country Australia has become.
– Susan Munday, Bentleigh East, Vic
Imran Mohammad’s sense of purpose
What a shining example of the unquenchable human spirit is Imran Mohammad: Australia’s loss, America’s gain. Resilience, determination, perseverance, clarity of thought in spades. As someone who has closely interacted with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers for 40 years, I am in awe of his command of English. Still more laudable is his compassion and willingness to be a voice for those who shared his experience of detention offshore and with whom he maintains contact – the ones who are now free but struggling to make a new life in the US and the ones left behind in Papua New Guinea, Nauru and Australia. Utterly poignant and borne out by our own experience with our First Nations peoples is his fear that the trauma they have experienced, which is not being addressed, will be passed on to future generations. Meanwhile, our leaders and a large percentage of Australians remain deaf to the pleas of those who for seven years and more we have denied what Imran rightly identifies as basic human needs – freedom, education and a safe place to live. Surely there will be a day of reckoning.
– Genevieve Caffery, Greenslopes, Qld
Pooh sets a trap
If you take the cleanest coal you can get, then burn it so that oxygen binds with the carbon to form CO2, it gets a lot bigger. To bury it you must turn the CO2 gas into liquid, which is incompressible, and find somewhere under the ground to put it that is five times as big as the place you took it from. You then have to keep it as a liquid forever. It seems that our leaders believe in miracles, but I think Heffalump Capture and Storage (Jon Kudelka’s Cartoon, May 23-29) is better left to Pooh and Piglet to solve.
– Steve Posselt, Broadwater, NSW
On Alan Jones leaving 2GB
Not infrequently the Letters page of a newspaper provides gems that prompt a wry smile. Chris Roylance’s succinct and delightful takedown analysis of Alan Jones’s future retirement prospects (Letters, May 23-29) deserves a thumbs up.
– Pam Connor, Mollymook Beach, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on May 30, 2020.
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