Time for Labor to stand up
I thought my disgust at the Coalition’s treatment of refugees could not be more vehement, but Rick Morton’s update (“Exclusive: War on refugees moves to final phase onshore”, October 17-23), on the back of Abdul Karim Hekmat’s heart-wrenching story (“Hazara asylum seeker faces exile from his son”, October 10-16) set a new low. We have seen this government’s bigotry and indifference, their selfishness and dog whistling, but the cruelty now being meted out is beyond the boundaries of human decency. Of course, we expect the Coalition to behave despicably; the question now is why this new level of cruelty has not been challenged by the ALP. Why have we heard nothing from the opposition? When are they going to stand for something?
– Jack Bowers, Downer, ACT
Karen Middleton’s elucidation on the pitfalls of calling a coming together of disparate heads of state and country a “national cabinet” is entirely consistent with the way a marketing mind works (“Cabinet confidential”, October 17-23). People who are trying to sell you things rarely deal in cogent facts; cabinet sounds as if it has more heft than something as commonplace as a council, with the added advantage of confidentiality. The only way we can gauge if a government is working in our best interests is if we know what they’re doing. The fact that department heads often have a much better idea of the lay of the land than their federal or state leaders does not warrant the rebadging of COAG, notwithstanding the fact that it’s undoubtedly unconstitutional anyway. At the moment my bathroom cabinet is more functional than this national contrivance and quite transparent – even reflective.
– Bruce Hulbert, Lilyfield, NSW
At a loss on childcare
The latest federal action on childcare (Natasha Stott Despoja, “After the virus: A plan for women”, October 17-23) spells out the government’s position in regard to women in society. This has its roots in old religious ideology, wealth of two centuries ago and a complete misunderstanding of up-to-date economic thinking. At no time in the future will a Liberal–Nationals government be able to claim any expertise in economic management.
– Trevor Pratt, Eaglemont, Vic
Deserving of a better legacy
Sian Prior’s article “Politics in a pandemic” (October 17-23) is heart-rending, poignant and illuminating. The politicisation of the pandemic, by the planting of Australian flags, demeans all of us and exhibits a nationalisation of dubious worth.
– Judith Morrison, Mount Waverley, Vic
Abbott’s low road on virus
What a moving piece about Sian Prior’s mother, who died from Covid-19 during the Victorian lockdown. I was particularly struck by the point Sian made about the right’s hypocritical pragmatism when it comes to the lives of others. On the one hand, Tony Abbott, Australia’s self-appointed “health economist” urged “governments to reconsider the value of an individual life in a pandemic”. Yet Abbott and his moral crusading fellow travellers on the right are the first to rail against any change to assisted dying laws on the grounds that it is not our place to play God and that all life is sacred, no matter how unbearable. What nasty, selfish, opportunistic hypocrisy it is to deprive Sian’s mother, Margot, of a way out of her appalling and deteriorating condition according to her own wishes while at the same time implying that she and the rest of the ageing population are expendable. Once again the failed prime minister and wrecker Tony Abbott takes the low road on behalf of his impoverished ideology, easily dispensing with his so-called Christian values, to promote a specious economic calculus that debases us all as a society.
– Tor Larsen, Marrickville, NSW
Held to account
In his article “Dark clouds descend on PM in the Sunshine State” (October 17-23), Paul Bongiorno concluded “the prime minister has little if any appetite to give an independent [integrity commission] the sort of ammunition it would need to hold him and his government to real account”. This reminds me of the several reports on the 2018 purchase by the federal Department of Infrastructure of a 12-hectare block near the Western Sydney airport site for $32.8 million. The land was later valued by the Australian National Audit Office at $3 million. Earlier, the ANAO piqued the PM when it unveiled the “sports rorts” affair. As a “reward”, the ANAO’s funding was slashed. If Mr Morrison remains true to type, the ANAO will have its funding cut yet again. So much for accountability.
– Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin, ACT
A growing pleasure
Oh, Margaret Simons, you gave us “A dose of reality” (October 10-16) on the dire situation of medicines in Australia, and this week you toss in “Dangling a carrot” (October 17-23) on methods of growing this vegetable. You reminded me of my greatest success with carrot cultivation, which came after many failed attempts, when I chucked the remaining seeds across the flower garden. Totally neglected, they were the best carrots I ever grew. Please keep up this balance against the daily avalanche of bad news so we can better understand our changing world and still keep smiling.
– Julia Osborne, Nambucca, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on October 24, 2020.
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