Letters to
the editor

Over-reach on charities

Thank you, Mike Seccombe, for alerting readers to this proposal (“Morrison’s ‘unconstitutional’ crackdown on charities”, May 22-28). I recently attended a forum on the for-profit and non-profit sectors where the head of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, Dr Gary Johns, was a speaker. There was no mention of these planned changes. As one who has been involved in volunteering for well over 50 years, the work of charities and non-profits makes a significant contribution to the social fabric of the nation. Yes, regulation and supervision make for good governance; however, the planned changes seem to be an unnecessary over-reach by government. Time to listen to those who understand the sector rather than be driven by ideology that stifles grassroots advocacy.

– Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW

Call to arms to save ABC

Rick Morton (“Is a former Murdoch executive the ABC’s next best hope?”, May 22-28) has reported that Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has made three appointments to the board of the ABC. They may be worthy but not one has defended the ABC or has experience working for the ABC. Previously the Coalition has appointed avowed opponents of the ABC, and has slashed its funding causing the loss of experienced, skilled broadcasters and researchers who produce polished, accurate programs. These are the people who enable the ABC to fulfil its charter to educate, inform and entertain the public – evidently not what the Coalition wants. Chair Ita Buttrose has championed the ABC eloquently but the constant cuts to funding make its task more difficult daily. If the public wants the ABC to defend our democracy we need to fight for it.

– Gael Barrett, North Balwyn, Vic

Labor policy is the problem

Chris Wallace’s claim that about a third of federal polls in the past 50 years were won with “a handful of seats” is a psephology that fails to explain the election of May 2019 (“Whither Labor?”, May 22-28). Locality was central in the 2019 poll, with Queensland voters almost eliminating Labor in that state. Wallace assesses both Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese but fails to account for policy as a driver of voter decision-making. Changes to franking credits and policy confusion dogged Bill Shorten more than “optics” and attire. Labor pursues identity politics at its peril. Meanwhile, Morrison simply needs to say his closure of borders has kept Australians safe from Covid-19.

– Andrew Trezise, Greensborough, Vic

A changed world

Thank you, Jeff Sparrow, for your review of the Chavura and Melleuish text (“The Forgotten Menzies”, May 22-28). Labelling someone a “cultural puritan” imbued with Anglophile traditions centred on Protestant values such as independence, duty, freedom and self-reliance appears a rather hollow defence when measured against the Australia we now inhabit. We must remember – zeitgeist notwithstanding – Menzies inhabited a world in which he was reluctant to grant colonial independences. His take on “duty” was expecting my generation to accept the draft, and Vietnam, before even reaching voting age. His values were such that it took the Charles Perkins et al Freedom Rides to highlight Australia’s racial segregation inequities. His “self-reliance” was symbolised by an absence of a national health model, and the subservience of women. Why did Miss Battistella, on marriage, have to resign her teaching role? While a wrench for this former pupil, it no doubt accorded with the Anglocentric, Protestant values of the then Australia.

– Peter Doelle, Mount Gambier, SA

The Coalition’s responsibility

It would seem Josh Frydenberg was just joshing when he decried the evil debt that would be inflicted on the country should its citizens be so foolish as to vote Labor (Mike Seccombe, “What’s behind Frydenberg’s debt epiphany?”, May 15-21). It turns out to be one of those rare occasions where someone in the Coalition has sought the advice of people who actually know what they’re talking about. There’s no better example of the obverse of this than the story that sits cheek by jowl on the front page (Karen Middleton, “Business leaders push back against ‘fortress Australia’ ”, May 15-21). Rather than seeking the advice of highly skilled epidemiologists, with real-world pandemic experience, the Morrison government has consistently cherrypicked from the musings of its own medical officers and assorted others, with disastrous results. These include: the cruise ship debacle; the failure of hotel quarantine; “fortress Australia”, when the real solution is a workable quarantine system; the tardiness and confusion of the vaccination rollout; the death of 685 people in federal government-administered residential care; and a total death toll, to date, of 910. We should never forget the culpability of the Australian government in these matters.

– Bruce Hulbert, Lilyfield, Vic

In Marianne’s thrall

What an excellent review by Isabella Trimboli (“Ragged, raw poetry”, May 15-21). For far too long, Marianne Faithfull has had what can only be described as an underground following since her sublime 1979 album, Broken English. Anyone who has seen her in concert will know that, even though her voice is not as smooth and silky as the countless bland female singers that dominate radio and music videos, she has a presence and voice unlike any other.

– Con Vaitsas, Ashbury, 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 May 29, 2021.

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