Letters to
the editor

Aged care should not be for profit

Rick Morton has done an excellent job unravelling the aged-care debacle (“The collapse of aged care”, September 12-18 and 19-25). It must be obvious by now that allowing the elderly to be cared for by people whose main aim is profit is neither ethical nor humane. Without standards in numbers or qualifications for staff, without constant unexpected surveillance of nursing care, provision of adequate nourishing food and qualified staff distributing medication, what hope does an 80-year-old have? Governments’ removal of strict standards and transfer of funds to enable commercial enterprises to milk the system for profit is criminal. Only non-profit organisations should run aged care, under strict supervision.

– Gael Barrett, North Balwyn, Vic

Morrison runs on gas

Scott Morrison’s threat of muscular intervention in the energy market, in the form of a government-built gas-fired power station, should not surprise (Mike Seccombe, “Gas plan locks in decades of high emissions, experts warn”, September 19-25). Australian conservatives have tied themselves in knots over energy and climate since John Howard lost the world’s first climate change election. The pro-market Abbott government removed an economy-wide carbon price, replacing a budget-neutral market mechanism with the fiscal drag of state-purchased carbon abatement and called it a “fundamental economic reform”. Morrison believes in “technology not taxes” and is steadfastly “technology neutral”. But if the market won’t invest in fossil fuels, taxpayers will. Morrison’s vague plan addresses a non-problem and offers little more than symbolic reassurance to those upset by his intent to walk slowly away from coal. His job now is to devise a “gas-fired recovery”-themed prop for question time.

– Dave Lisle, Mullumbimby, NSW

Distance education on power

As a retired electrical engineer, it disappoints me that so few seem to remember the basic laws of electricity they learnt in year 10 physics. Talk of pumped hydro, remote solar fields and battery storage all ignore the tyranny of distance in this country. A power line longer than 200 kilometres consumes as much power, due to resistance heat in the line, as is delivered at the receiving end. Or put simply, long power lines are heating the planet. You need to put twice as much power in as you get out. Power generation and storage local to the delivery point is the answer.

– John Dusting, Mornington, Vic

Big bang theory

Has anyone thought about what will happen when the bushfires meet the gas pipelines?

– Diana Modesto, Hunters Hill, NSW

Protecting Indigenous sites

Professor Marcia Langton has made an eloquent plea for greater federal legal protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage sites (“A cultural property crime in moral terms”, September 19-25). The destruction in May by Rio Tinto of the Juukan Gorge caves, a sacred site thousands of years old in the Pilbara district of Western Australia, has brought worldwide condemnation. Langton suggests Rio Tinto’s actions in the Juukan Gorge should have been treated as a cultural property crime and that the federal government should take the lead in protecting cultural sites, powers presently held by state governments. It is time for us to show support for the Indigenous owners in their insistence on stronger laws to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage.

– Ruth Fink Latukefu, Newport, NSW

At the mercy of market forces

Margaret Simons (“Making time”, September 19-25) was spot on with her assessment of the innovation benefits of manufacturing – the Asian tigers Japan, Korea and China didn’t get to their current eminent position by embracing a service economy. Manufacturing is also vital for national security, not only in case of war but in order to prevent exploitation in trade dealings. Politicians and the media often claim we are more than self-sufficient in food production, but in reality we do not produce all the fertilisers, fuels, chemicals, harvesters and trucks that make this possible. Just as importantly we do not own the ships that allow our exports to reach their destination, leaving us at the mercy of the suppliers of these essential items who will charge what the market will bear.

– Don Owers, Dudley, NSW

Calling for urgent change

Your editorial (“This man must be freed”, September 19-25) has highlighted the plight of asylum seekers again and I was so moved by your words that I rang the three phone numbers listed. In all three instances I was asked for my name and from where I had obtained my information. I was proud to give both details. I applaud your paper for the consistent capacity to move me to action. I trust the telephones of Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton and Alan Tudge ran hot throughout the week.

– Christine Hackwood, North Lakes, Qld

Poetic freedom

Behrouz Boochani’s article (“Writing towards freedom”, September 19-25) is illuminating in many ways. Refugees finding and sharing their voices through poetry offers us a profound insight into the complexity of what it is to seek asylum. Janet Galbraith’s commitment to enable their voices to be heard, especially through Writing Through Fences, obliges us to listen and reflect. Our treatment of people rightly seeking asylum will stain us forever.

– Judith Morrison, Mount Waverley, Vic

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 September 26, 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