Letters to
the editor

Aunty stands alone

Rick Morton analyses the problems of the ABC with clarity (“Exclusive: New govt report targets ABC”, June 27–July 3). Why should a report into the ABC, owned by the people, be written by a recent News Corp executive and have sections redacted? The ABC and commercial media are chalk and cheese. If the commercial giants are receiving lower profits, they should look to economise not seek to blame and reduce the ABC. Commercial media’s raison d’être is to make money. The ABC is there to inform, educate and entertain. Reduced funding means fewer staff, less research, repeated programs and less service to the public now and at times of crisis. Australians expect quality, reliability and accuracy from the ABC. It is the watchdog of the public on contentious issues. No wonder this government, as well as previous ones, wants to muzzle it. We need the ABC to be well funded, free from interference, independent and able to expose corruption and bad governance.

– Gael Barrett, North Balwyn, Vic

No chance for Murdoch

I can assure Rupert Murdoch that even if the ABC did not exist, I would not access his media. I would, however, be happy to pay for an ABC Australian-only content streaming service for my entertainment. Then the free-to-air public-funded ABC could be for news, emergencies and children.

– Ann Babington, Lambton, NSW

Creative options still exist

First of all, thank you for the informative, detailed journalism you provide in The Saturday Paper – we look forward to receiving it every weekend. I commenced reading last Saturday’s front-page article by Rick Morton on further cuts to Aunty with dread but discovered, tucked away in the middle of the article, information that Google, The Saturday Paper and The Conversation had struck a deal in regard to news distribution. I have a strong sense of hope now! Murdoch and the Morrison government can do their best to snuff out freedom of the press but thank goodness there is always someone or something that is cleverer, more creative and with the genuine need for the common good.

– Linda Young, Avalon Beach, NSW

Give ABC more funding

A report that mirrors Murdoch concerns about our national broadcaster and is not intended for public release should concern us. I applaud Rick Morton’s investigations into the stench seeping through the corridors of power. Does one need to remind the attacking News Corpse reptiles the ABC does not operate for free, but is funded from taxes by hard-working Australians? Further taxes should be directed towards the ABC if only to keep hostile governments accountable. It seems Scott Morrison is determined to give the American billionaire a fairer go than the rest of us true Australians.

– Carmelo Bazzano, Epping, Vic

Women’s unequal treatment at work

Reading Bri Lee’s account of sexism and harassment in the legal profession (“A law of diminishing returns”, June 27–July 3) filled me with a familiar sinking feeling. For the law, substitute medicine, for instance, or my own profession of architecture, and it’s the same story. In any professional field where men have traditionally dominated but women have for decades been graduating in equal or higher numbers, the dropout rate is horrific and institutionalised sexism and harassment are unquestionably major hidden causes. The quoted rate of 47 per cent of women lawyers who have been sexually harassed surprises me only because for architects it would be nearer 75-80 per cent. More than half of architectural graduates are women but by the time they register as architects, the proportion drops to about a third. Significantly, the retention rate for women only improves if their life partner is also an architect. Although that may provide some notional “protection” against harassment, there’s still the sexist assumption that women will play a minor or part-time role. Any government that is aiming to reshape tertiary education to focus on “job-readiness” would do well to study the cost-effectiveness of professional training and try to address such underlying reasons for the long-term wastage.

– Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale, Vic

Ethical deficiencies of those in power

In the past two years Australians have learnt of appalling abuses of power by senior figures in church hierarchies resulting in permanent damage to the very people they were supposed to lead and protect. The revelation of the alleged harassment of his associates by Dyson Heydon is a matter of abuse of young women to whom a judge should be a mentor and an example of correct conduct. Many women in the legal profession state that harassment is commonplace. The senior people in religious institutions and the courts should embody the moral and ethical qualities of the bodies they represent. Instead what we have seen in both areas is an egregious failure to do so that should greatly trouble us.

– Juliet Flesch, Kew, Vic

A worthy legacy

Thank you, Sarah Price, for your story on Arthur Summons (“A league gentleman”, June 20-26). I’m not a footy follower nor had I heard of Summons but I always read the culture page and I particularly enjoyed Sarah’s beautiful and colourful depiction of this special man’s great contribution to sport.

– Julia Osborne, Nambucca, 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 July 4, 2020.

For almost a decade, The Saturday Paper has published Australia’s leading writers and thinkers. We have pursued stories that are ignored elsewhere, covering them with sensitivity and depth. We have done this on refugee policy, on government integrity, on robo-debt, on aged care, on climate change, on the pandemic.

All our journalism is fiercely independent. It relies on the support of readers. By subscribing to The Saturday Paper, you are ensuring that we can continue to produce essential, issue-defining coverage, to dig out stories that take time, to doggedly hold to account politicians and the political class.

There are very few titles that have the freedom and the space to produce journalism like this. In a country with a concentration of media ownership unlike anything else in the world, it is vitally important. Your subscription helps make it possible.

Select your digital subscription

Month selector

Use your Google account to create your subscription