Letters to
the editor

Not a super idea

If Tim Wilson was serious about housing affordability, he should take aim at dwellings as an investment (Rick Morton, “Inside Tim Wilson’s campaign against super”, February 6-12). Removing taxation benefits for investors and increasing taxes on properties held outside of the family home would help level the playing field and open up the market for people to be able to buy a home. Increasing the proportion of dwellings lived in by the owners would be a grand idea and a worthy legacy for any politician. His suggestion of using super to get a deposit isn’t going to help anyone in the long run.

– Mark Kelly, Manly, NSW

The morals of the story

It’s interesting that Scott Morrison sees himself as a purely transactional leader (Mike Seccombe, “Why Scott Morrison finally cautioned Craig Kelly”, February 6-12). Presumably he interprets the term to mean pragmatic and practical. To me it sounds more like leadership without a moral compass. It’s the sort of thing you get when the party spin doctor suddenly finds himself in charge and sees nothing wrong with letting someone such as Craig Kelly have his head. Morrison would no doubt claim that he gets his moral compass from his personal beliefs. That those beliefs are derived from mediaeval superstitions is hardly reassuring. But then again, how many politicians pay more than lip service to inconvenient morality these days?

– Philip Fitzpatrick, Tumby Bay, SA

Fixing political donations

“State of donations” by Max Opray (February 6-12) has Geoffrey Watson, SC, deploring the fact that super-rich Australians have more powerful voices in politics than he does, simply because they are wealthy. We know Geoffrey Watson to have a powerful moral compass – it is on display in many commissions and inquiries. The fact that businessmen such as Clive Palmer and Anthony Pratt of Visy Industries are using political donations for their own ends lends urgency to the need for reform. In the United States nowadays the rich can buy the government and representation that serves their interests. In the past 20 to 30 years lobbying has grown into a major industry and the largest corporations spend the most money. Opray’s verbal picture of Prime Minister Scott Morrison accompanying Pratt for a business photo opportunity with Donald Trump at the opening of a box factory in the US, and missing a United Nations climate change conference in New York, speaks volumes. Both policy areas need urgent reform in Australia.

– Joanna Jaaniste, Lilyfield, NSW

A violent reality

In Christos Tsiolkas’s review of Promising Young Woman (“A failed promise”, January 30–February 5), he is critical of the scene with the lawyer, asking whether we are “truly meant to believe that the worst of human behaviour that a hard-nosed lawyer has seen has occurred on a university campus”. The crime portrayed in this film is a gang rape of a young woman in a university dorm room. As a criminal defence lawyer of 22 years, I have represented murderers, hitmen, rapists, bikies, drug dealers and terrorists. I can comfortably say that the crime, as portrayed in this movie, is capable of being classed among the worst of human behaviour that I have professionally witnessed. Surely we’ve developed an awareness that the worst of human behaviour can occur among the powerful, the elite, in the halls of power, and even on university campuses among promising young men. I think that was one of the points of the movie that Tsiolkas seems to have missed.

– Stewart Bayles, Melbourne, Vic

Uplifted by sculptures

Thank you so much, Karen Middleton, for your eloquent and heartwarming homage to Skywhale and Skywhalepapa (“Balloon animals”, February 6-12). We need such whimsical creativity in our lives. It would be so exhilarating to see the pair of them floating in supreme glory above Mount Panorama in Bathurst, perhaps on a weekend when the car races are roaring beneath them. What a contrast. The smile on the face of Skywhale would be so appropriate.

– Elizabeth Chandler, Napoleon Reef, NSW

Literary fiction

There are two predominant Emilys in my life: Brontë and Dickinson (Fiction, “Emily”, February 6-12). I can imagine each of these purveyors of the entangled primal force of words would mull over Damon Young’s story. And then would it be a case of advance, attack, beat, engagement?

– Pam Connor, Mollymook Beach, 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 Feb 13, 2021.

A free press is one you pay for. Now is the time to subscribe.