Letters to
the editor

No reason to smile

I look at the picture on the front page (October 10-16). Two men – both loving fathers, I believe – smiling benignly. They seem pleased with what they have achieved. Juxtaposed with this photo is a story of cruelty (Abdul Karim Hekmat, “Hazara asylum seeker faces exile from his son”). A young father is to be deported, when the pandemic allows it, never to see his young son or Australian wife again. These now many, many acts of cruelty against people who came seeking asylum, who broke no law and are treated worse than those who have broken the law, are breathtaking. I look again at the photo of our prime minister and treasurer and am taken over with such shame at what we as a country have allowed to happen.

– Joan Lynn, Williamstown, Vic

Refugees are ready to work

The ongoing and unnecessary torture of refugees claiming asylum by the Morrison government is an obscenity in any democracy and a stain on the human decency of Australia. The government claims it is seeking solutions to provide farmers with labour to pick crops in regional Australia. There are thousands of people in Australia on temporary visas who have been recognised as genuine refugees who would gladly work in open fields. It has been eight years since the Australian government condemned these people to endless prison sentences. Covid-19 is your excuse, Minister Dutton – set them free!

– Gerry Gillespie, president, Rural Australians for Refugees, Queanbeyan, NSW

Asylum seekers are not criminals

Such a sad story about Mojtaba, the Hazara asylum seeker, being unable to be with his wife and young son. No wonder his mental state has deteriorated after all he has suffered – his entire family perishing in Afghanistan and surviving a treacherous journey by boat. When will our government realise that refugees are seeking asylum and have committed no crime?

– Susan Munday, Bentleigh East, Vic

Another language option

How about instead of demanding “functional” English tests (Karen Middleton, “Budget primes Morrison for an early election”, October 10–16) we pay migrants to teach Australians how to speak literally any other language?

– Kylie Mulcahy, Eugenana, Tas

US in danger from Trump

As we wish the Trumps a speedy recovery (Jonathan Pearlman, “ ‘I’m better,’ says Trump, but health concerns remain”, October 10–16) let’s also reflect on the absurdity of the moment. For months the American president has downplayed the threat of Covid-19, calling it a flu, a hoax, mocking the need for masks and social distancing. Now the most protected person on Earth can’t even protect himself. Trump frequently uses the racist slur of the “Chinese virus”, when the White House has its own outbreak; he tried repeatedly to overturn Obamacare for being “socialised medicine”, now he wants to give everyone socialised Covid-19 drugs; he undergoes state-of-the-art treatment at a top military hospital, having paid little in tax to fund the service; he won the election on his image of a successful businessman, but his tax returns reveal accumulated losses of more than a billion dollars; he enjoys adulation from the evangelical Christians, despite being accused of multiple sexual assaults and paying off porn stars; his campaign theme is “law and order”, but many of his associates are indicted or jailed. Trump’s casual disregard for truth, science and expert advice not only endangers his own family but also poses mortal threat to the wellbeing of the people of the United States.

– Han Yang, North Turramurra, NSW

Opaque communications

I agree with Mike Seccombe’s view on the dominance of spin and obfuscation by ministers and their teams “What happens when a government chooses to lie?”, October 3-9). However, it has been going on for decades. Today there are more media minders on board; they are paid a lot more; and the default position is to deny anything potentially negative and exaggerate anything potentially positive. In my time in the public service, technically working for the department, not the minister, I wrote speeches for ministers, researched and drafted replies to parliamentary questions on notice, advised on how to respond to messy situations, drafted funding proposals broken down by electorate, wrote policy positions post-hoc to propose something the minister had flagged that s/he was going to do. I may as well have been on the minister’s staff but fortunately was not, thus being able to do it all over again for the next minister when there was a change of government.

– Name and address withheld

Loss of humanities

Jacqui Lambie’s passionate speech to federal parliament and Rick Morton’s interview with her covers much but not all of this issue (“Teaching raids”, October 3-9). An arts degree teaches critical thinking. How to read and analyse: when was this written and by whom; what was the purpose? It teaches how to write clearly and concisely. Students of modern history can understand what is happening in the world today, what has led to current affairs. Where will our future English, history and language teachers come from? I thank Jacqui for her eloquence and determination and share her dismay at the widening inequality and also the government shortsightedness that considers all of this to be unimportant.

– Barbara Lyle, Tea Gardens, 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 October 17, 2020.

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