Letters to
the editor

Women’s fight for equality

Thank you for such intelligent and insightful articles by Karen Middleton (“Training wheels”, March 20-26) and Bri Lee (“Between here and justice”), Jane Caro (“Time marches on”) and Paul Bongiorno (“Cracks in the wall of concrete”), in particular. Older women have waited for our younger counterparts to realise that the systemic bias against women was still evident, just more subtle. Not anymore! It is time to organise on local levels as our foremothers did when fighting for voting rights and sex discrimination legislation (thank you, Susan Ryan!). Young girls and women have shown incredible courage highlighting institutional gendered violence in elite schools, parliament and justice systems. Enough is enough. Time to organise for an equitable society for all citizens. Only then will everyone be respected and safe.

– Victoria Chipperfield, Richmond, Vic

PM not the man for the job

In March 2019, Scott Morrison said he did not “want to see women rise only on the basis of others doing worse”. Others, presumably, being men. With such an attitude on record, can we seriously expect this man to lead the country towards gender equity? The PM has shown no more real commitment to this issue than he has to any other serious issue affecting this country – climate change, racism, equality of opportunity; take your pick.

– Michael Berg, Randwick, NSW

Invertebrates count too

Numerous commentators have claimed that the catastrophic fires of 2019–20 killed “three billion animals”. In all cases the crucial word “vertebrate”, though intended, was omitted before “animals”. Since invertebrates comprise about 95 per cent of all animal species, all of these authors grossly underestimated the extent of the animal kill. For example, there may be tens of thousands of microscopic mites in a square metre of soil or forest leaf litter. It is timely and highly appropriate, therefore, that Mike Seccombe (“A bug in the system”, March 20-26) should draw attention to the effect of fire and other agencies on terrestrial invertebrates.

– Ian Bayly, Upwey, Vic

Help for PNG at last

Jonathan Pearlman’s analysis (“PNG on the brink of Covid-19 catastrophe”, March 20-26) on the unfolding situation in Papua New Guinea makes for uncomfortable but necessary reading. Over the 12 months since the pandemic began, the Australian government has stepped up efforts only at the point when the situation poses an immediate and serious issue to Australia. While Australia’s response in recent weeks is no doubt the right thing to do from a moral and ethical position, it has come far too late. It also comes across as being disingenuous when at the same time Australia continues to oppose the World Trade Organization’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights waiver for Covid-19 vaccine patents. If patents on vaccines were suspended, it would allow production of and greater access for many low- and middle-income countries where they are most needed, including PNG.

– Timothy D. Johnson, Dickson, ACT

Subject to history

It was a pleasure to read your short extract from Alison Croggon’s Monsters: a reckoning (March 20-26). Rarely are we reminded that our language and way of thinking are dictated by the arc of history within which we are trapped. Perhaps, like Croggon, we will try fruitlessly to escape it, but that is nonetheless a project worth undertaking. Thank you for the thought-provoking read.

– Greg Baker, Fitzroy Falls, NSW

Strong start for LR

Congratulations, Liam Runnalls, on your first cryptic crossword in the wake of the maestro Mungo MacCallum (The Cryptic, March 20-26). And your tribute in 27 across was brilliant – “Legend made uniquely naughty grids, outwitting beginners – Mungo”.

– David Thurley, Lavington, NSW

Financial web snares Greensill

Rick Morton’s article “Lex Greensill, why the green energy backer lost his billions”, March 13-19, is a great example of the complexity of international finance that ordinarily we the average punter could note in passing, but this case has implication for our whole community. The Gupta Family Group (GFG) is a major player in the Australian economy and particularly so in South Australia where the government has indicated that $50 million is available to GFG. But look at the billions that are invested through Greensill to the Gupta Family Group and the $50 million is but a drop in the ocean. Multinational companies are extremely difficult for governments to deal with because of the massive financial systems that operate outside any government’s control. Rick Morton’s statement of explanation for the systems of finance with Greensill does show how exposed the Gupta Family Group is by having such a high proportion of financial arrangements with one identity. Let’s trust it is resolved, but with such staggering amounts we the public can only hope that for cities such as Whyalla it turns out okay. There is another world out there.

– Daryl Regan, Eden Hills, SA

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 March 27, 2021.

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