Letters to
the editor

NDIS changes not needed

I thank Rick Morton for his incisive article regarding the potential changes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme assessment protocol (“Exclusive: The seven-year plot to undermine the NDIS”, December 5-11). As a mother of a participant and an allied health provider it is a retrograde step to require participants to yet again prove their disability and right to access this scheme. Those who have been through the NDIS experience are aware that, at the moment, a generic multi-question assessment is undertaken and the participant provides documentation regarding their disability. This new assessment can only be seen as an exercise in gatekeeping as funders aim to increase their involvement in the admission of new participants and the level of funding received by current participants. The research that underpins these changes as noted in the article is scant and unreliable. Life for people with disability and their families is complex enough without this unnecessary interference in a scheme functioning as it was intended.

– Annette O’Sullivan, Brooms Head, NSW

Farhad’s story

Farhad Rahmati, an Iranian refugee with a heart problem, was brought to mainland Australia for medical treatment. Since he speaks out about the way he is shunted about from one place of confinement to another he is being terrorised by the Australian Border Force, usually suddenly at night. Handcuffed, without explanation he is moved around this country. Karen Middleton (“Medevac refugees: we face special punishment”, December 5-11) describes a man of spirit, determined to survive the treatment by the ABF designed to break him. An engineer who has taught himself English, surely such a man would make a fine migrant to our country? Why is there not outrage among the public at the barbarous way this government tortures unfortunate asylum seekers?

– Gael Barrett, North Balwyn, Vic

PM’s aim is domestic appeal

Scott Morrison’s hairy-chested admonishment of China over its “repugnant” tweet seemed like strange diplomacy because it was for domestic consumption (Paul Bongiorno, “Don’t feed the trolls”, and Editorial, “Blueprint for failure”, December 5-11). Scott Morrison has proved adroit at exploiting race politics – he oversaw the Liberal Party’s 2001 “Tampa election” campaign, Operation Sovereign Borders et cetera – and can sense growing unease about China. As Covid-19 spread around the world, he was out in front, closing borders and calling for Chinese transparency. Feeding the trolls might be ill advised, but Morrison has form on race and can count. His interpretation of foreign policy’s “two-level game” is skewed heavily to domestic politics, where his votes are sourced. He’s gambling that Australians will confuse his proud, hectoring tone with statecraft, and won’t trace the economic repercussions of a serious spat with China back to him.

– Dave Lisle, Mullumbimby, NSW

Selling Scott Morrison

I can only applaud John Hewson’s critical analysis (“How rorts, mates and marketing took over politics”, December 5-11) of the current state of play with government and politics in Australia. I would add only that the states are, collectively, actually governing the nation. This, of course, frees up our PM to focus on spurious daily announcements that have only one intention – to ensure he maintains enough popularity to get re-elected. Can Australian voters be so gullible as to be so totally unaware of Morrison’s strategy to transform the government that he heads into his own personal marketing machine with unlimited resources at his disposal? A marketing man’s wet dream, I’d say!

– Helen Cust, Ballina, NSW

A run-in with Mungo

My first recollection of journalist Mungo MacCallum (The Week and The Cryptic, December 5-11) was at the annual general meeting of the Portland Cement Company in the late 1960s. A group of us opposing the mining of the Colong Caves had bought shares and were in attendance. We opposed every motion, even the banal procedures, and carried it on “the voices”, which then required a ballot. Which we lost, 20-odd to a squillion held in proxy by the chair. The meeting dragged on interminably. Mungo became visibly agitated by our juvenile antics; perhaps he was close to deadline (or pub time). I am not sure how I recognised him, but even as a callow youth his bedraggled bearded visage was unmistakable. Mungo, we will miss your astute and entertaining contribution to Australian journalism, and to the nation. Not to mention the crosswords. In your own words, “Water source, by painter Ken – overcooked”.

– Charlie Carter, Alice Springs, NT

Um bygone

Clue: Unco-operative bus driver’s comment as he approaches expectant passengers at a bus stop (2,5,4,3) Answer: We shall miss you.

– Mike Puleston, Brunswick, 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 December 12, 2020.

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