Job agencies’ virus bonuses
Rick Morton’s article (“Exclusive: Jobactive virus kickbacks top $500 million”, August 29–September 4) is yet another example – as if we need any – of the failure of privatisation, not to mention the potential for corruption that seems to be endemic. And the opposition, where are they?
– Michael Appleby, Thomson, Vic
Helping the helpers
I often joked that when I became “dictator” of this country the first things to go would be labour-hire companies and private job providers. After reading Rick Morton’s article I realised this is both astounding and no longer a joke. It is an unbelievable misuse of taxpayers’ money. An advanced payment of $100 million to cover administration costs and the job providers’ ability to make money from those on JobKeeper is disgraceful. As Kristin O’Connell says in the article, the government is giving more certainty to these job providers than they’re giving to people whose lives are in turmoil and who are facing possibly never finding secure work again.
– Marilyn Hoban, Mornington, Vic
Electorate not electoral
Mike Seccombe’s otherwise excellent article (“How branch stacking drags policy to the right”, August 29–September 4) twice mentioned “electoral” staff working for MPs. The staff who work in an MP’s electorate office are electorate officers. Electoral staff work for an electoral commission to oversee elections. I know this because I once worked as an electorate officer and lost count of the times I had to explain the difference. Mike Seccombe is The Saturday Paper’s best journalist in my opinion and is therefore worthy of the explanation. And full disclosure: I also used to teach English.
– Mike Smythe, Maldon, Vic
PM has only himself to blame
Scott Morrison’s boast of “world-beating” performance and overwhelming success in defending the Coalition’s record on aged care during the pandemic suggests the prime minister is somehow proud of his oversight (Paul Bongiorno, “Death of a salesman”, August 29–September 4). Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. Sloth, a sin of omission of desire and/or performance, is another equally at home with the PM. His humanitarian record now involves neglect of aged-care residents to add to the treatment of refugees, failing our First Peoples, and ensuring the unfortunate in our community remain so. I fail to see where forgiveness has any consideration in assessing this record.
– Rod Milliken, Greenwell Point, NSW
Australia’s failure on terrorism
Osman Faruqi’s report on the sentencing of an Australian citizen with obvious links to white supremacy groups alerts us to the fact that terrorism, with its unappetising label, has many guises (“Right turns”, August 29–September 4). One of the heroes on that fateful day in Christchurch was Abdul Aziz Wahabzadah, who risked his own safety to challenge the cowardly gunman. Our government with its predictably inept security forces has inadvertently exported terrorism. This is the same government that set out to contain Muslim terrorism, particularly in the hotspots of the Middle East. Peter Dutton, minister for Home Affairs, has cemented his ignorance of the continued threat posed by far-right groups. In his recent overenthusiastic autobiography, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull described Dutton’s initial coup attempt and his supporters, claiming they “are like terrorists saying they will continue wrecking until the majority gives in to them. We cannot give in to this terrorism.” Dutton’s hypocrisy is at the heart of failed policy.
– Carmelo Bazzano, Epping, Vic
Outside the time line
I was troubled to read criticism of the Victorian government’s focus on policing and fining of the population, especially in light of the case of the death of Tanya Day, (Editorial, “To uphold the right”, August 29–September 4). After being soaked in praise of the Victorian government’s handling of the coronavirus lockdown, via the bubble I inhabit on Twitter, and the pushback against the virulent and merciless attacks on the government by the opposition and some sections of the media, I was greatly surprised and discomforted to read comments such as those in the editorial, and from reputable journalists, of the government’s “hardline” policing of the population. It was a singular and unique feeling for me. I was heartened by the fact that good, independent and ethical journalism is supposed to do that. It compelled, I think, the “man on the street” to think critically and it supports Chomsky’s edict: question everything.
– Kyriacos Kyriacou, Surrey Downs, SA
Did anyone else cry when they read Mirandi Riwoe’s poignant, cutting-truth, “Hazel” (Fiction, August 29–September 4)?
– Janice Horsfield, Tallangatta, Vic
Not a valid reference
Meg Pickup (Letters, “Detained and voiceless”, August 29–September 4) makes good points about Karen Middleton’s article, but unfortunately makes reference to Philip Zimbardo’s 1971 Stanford prison experiment. This zombie won’t die. This “experiment” has been thoroughly discredited. I think a documentary was made detailing just how unscientific it was. Please die, zombie. Best of health to Meg though!
– Andrew Lewis, South Coogee, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on September 4, 2020.
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