NDIS needs to be reined in

When the NDIS was first announced, it seemed too good to be true (Rick Morton, “WhatsApp leak: ministers shut out of NDIS redraft”, April 3-9). It reflected well on us as a caring society. It was exactly the sort of scheme I would have liked for my brother, who had cerebral palsy. But my immediate approval was tempered with the realisation that it would be a financial bottomless pit. Where would the lines of eligibility be drawn? How could you determine what is fair and reasonable? How would administration costs be contained and what would prevent huge amounts going to private profit-making companies? Although the NDIS is an overall success, many of my concerns have been confirmed. Sadly, more stringent limits will have to be set. Objective assessments by qualified independent personnel are necessary. While the details are not fully clear, there will be inevitable resistance to setting new boundaries. However, with collaboration and goodwill, much of the original intent can be retained in a viable, effective system.

– Peter Barry, Marysville, Vic

Coalition has no ideas

Karen Middleton and Paul Bongiorno both paint a gloomy but accurate picture of the Liberal brand (“Exclusive: While women marched, the PM was doing factional deals”and “A sad tale of two cities”, April 3-9) as a party that has forgotten how to govern: all faction, no action. Sound bites, photo ops and cabinet reshuffles simply provide a distraction, with no sign of any responsible leadership underpinned by real-world principles and policies. Major issues (climate, energy, health and aged care, education, housing, infrastructure and development) degenerate into squabbles over tactics: one step forward, two steps back. Ministers show no signs of realising there are problems that need to be resolved in order to move on; they take cover and keep mum, only opening their mouths to change feet. With Scott Morrison steering the ship, if it’s heading anywhere, it’s straight for next year’s electoral iceberg. Let’s hope Labor’s craft is more seaworthy.

– Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale, Vic

Distracted by the numbers

If there ever was a scenario more indicative of Scott Morrison’s utter unfitness to lead, it is the one delivered in Karen Middleton’s damning piece. Interested solely in clinging to power, Morrison’s concerns, as always, are for himself. With the vaccination rollout in tatters, with Australians rising up at this government’s inability to recognise and respect women, with conservative politicians seeking refuge on the crossbenches, on medical leave and at empathy courses, what does this man concern himself with? The internecine politics of shoring up his factional base. Is he the worst prime minister ever inflicted on Australia? The jury is coming in.

– Alison Stewart, Riverview, NSW

Jobs and jobs

Mike Seccombe reveals the selectivity and hypocrisy of the Morrison government that claims to be “always and ultimately about jobs” (“Jobs just for the boys”, April 3-9). Plainly there are jobs and jobs. The most important are Coalition members’ own jobs – hence the priority from day one of the Morrison government has been to get re-elected. Other priorities related to that include 400 jobs in Adelaide where the government is apparently prepared to pay double the going price for submarines, and 40,000 coalmining jobs, many in critical central Queensland seats, despite their inevitable demise and at continued damage to the environment. Meanwhile, the end of JobKeeper will see up to 150,000 jobs disappear.

– Norman Huon, Port Melbourne, Vic

Youth will follow Rudd’s lead

While I loved Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations of Australia’s First Peoples, his undermining of Julia Gillard lost me. Recently though, he has been showing courage by standing up against Rupert Murdoch and making good sense on climate change. His recent piece, “A foreign policy for the climate” (co-authored by Thom Woodroofe, April 3-9), provides a valuable historical overview of when Australia showed leadership, how it fell into disgrace and what it needs to do next. His call for a “foreign policy for the climate” is a good match with Joe Biden’s leadership model. However, given the federal government’s record, one doubts it has the capacity to pull that off. The only way Australia can move forward on climate change policy, and regain some global respect, is with a change of government. Australia’s young people, worried about climate change and their future, will soon be marching from the streets into the polling booths. The world’s climate, and Australia’s role, will be their No.  1 priority.

– Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Vic

A startling comparison

Jonathan Pearlman’s description of police killing Victoria Esperanza Salazar, a 37-year-old mother of two, was appropriately headlined “Femicide in Mexico” (World, April 3-9). Mexico’s brutal treatment of women is indicative of a thoroughly dysfunctional society in which only “about 5 per cent of rape and sexual assault allegations lead to criminal sentences”. Hang on – 5 per cent – that’s better than Australia. How dysfunctional is this country’s legal system and legislative regime when even femicidal Mexico manages to do a better job in convicting sexual assailants?

– David Clarke, Battery Point, Tas

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on April 10, 2021 as "Letters to the editor".

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