The government justifies misspending money on car parks because it was elected and this was promised (Karen Middleton, “Car park slush fund among worst breaches”, July 3-9). Apparently this get-out-of-jail-free card relieves them of any responsibility to spend our money wisely, efficiently, fairly or well. Hardly responsible government. The greatest tragedy is this is seen as unsurprising not scandalous.
– Michael Berg, Randwick, NSW
Population numbers game
Thank you, Peter Martin for revealing (“Demography is destiny”, July 3-9) the convolutions inherent in Josh Frydenberg’s analysis of the current intergenerational report. While I acknowledge that a national vision is useful, we can no more predict our demographic destiny 40 years hence than those in 1981 or 1941 could have imagined our current condition. The Ponzi scheme of constantly increasing our immigration to provide succour to an increasingly ageing population is itself a quirk of history. Imagine if during the 1940s Japan had not swept into our region; the postwar Populate or Perish immigration of millions would have been moot. Further imagine if the White Australia Policy had been maintained: additional millions would not have immigrated. Since Australia’s total fertility rate fell below replacement level as long ago as 1976 one can but speculate who would care for our ageing population. Like many affluent countries, our population, in the absence of immigration, would have declined and further aged. How long can we realistically Ponzi our demographic destiny?
– Peter Doelle, Mount Gambier, SA
The absence of integrity
We get the politicians we deserve. If we want a better standard of political representative, we need to hurry up and find, train, encourage and support them. Paul Bongiorno (“You pays your money and you takes your Joyce”, July 3-9) underscores the rot at the heart of our modern political scene, where “merit and the national interest run a poor last” in decision-making priorities. In this transactional world, the lowest common denominator of self-interest rules. He who shouts loudest wins and proceeds to manipulate the system to retain power by any means. This is Third-World stuff: we are allowing governments to trash our natural advantages and ignore any semblance of ethical principles, behaving like spoilt children instead of responsible adults. Nothing is likely to change until there’s a proper opportunity for accountability via an integrity commission. This has been said too often, but it’s up to us all to make it happen soon.
– Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale, Vic
Good signs on Covid-19
Your editorial “Says it all...” (July 3-9) confirms what many are claiming – that Australia is lagging behind in the race to vaccinate nations. However, another set of statistics about these same countries tells a different story. Chile, the frontrunner in the vaccination league table, has a Covid-19 death rate of one death for every 580 people. Italy, in the middle of the pack, has an even worse death rate of 1:473. Australia’s rate is 1:28,340, while New Zealand’s toll is the lowest with only 26 deaths – a rate of 1:186,948. While our vaccination rollout has been slow and problematic, our nation’s geographical isolation, wealth and government policies are keeping most Australians safe. However, we’re also part of a global community and it’s heartening to see that a significant proportion of people in these more vulnerable countries are now protected from serious illness and death.
– Brenda Proudfoot, Warners Bay, NSW
Still getting Middle East wrong
The article by Jonathan Pearlman (“Biden orders air strikes after spate of drone attacks”, July 3-9) makes for sobering reading given this is now the 18th year after the invasion of Iraq. How telling it is for the raids to be condemned by Iraq. What does it take for Western alliances to realise that we are not wanted in the Middle East? Even the Russians had to learn that and so did the Crusaders. The region has so many complexities and tribal history that we again, as with Vietnam, didn’t know what the true outcome would be of our intervention. The eye-for-an-eye policy will not work. Countries such as Egypt that can mediate with fellow Middle Eastern neighbours are the answer. A country cannot invade another and think a military solution will eliminate all our concerns. I must say it is disappointing the president of the United States has taken this action. It will give some comfort on the home front but do nothing to address the lessening of tension and mistrust in the region.
– Daryl Regan, Eden Hills, SA
Cycling has been a lifelong passion and I was pleasantly surprised to read Kieran Pender’s insightful article about cycling, the Olympics and the Tour de France (“Uphill battles”, July 3-9). I read The Saturday Paper for quality journalism about the things that really matter and this was an unexpected bonus.
– Keiran Ryan, Bright, Vic
A publishing deadline
Cate Kennedy is such a lovely writer (“Pass/fail”, Fiction, July 3-9). Please, Cate, finish that never-ending novel. I’m 78 so finish it before I die....
– Judy Wells, Carrington, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on July 10, 2021.
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