Letters to
the editor

Another job for Carr and Cousins

Following the success of Bob Carr and Geoff Cousins in accessing the Chinese embassy to assist in blocking lines of finance and insurance to Adani (Mike Seccombe, “Exclusive: How three men stopped China funding Adani”, July 17-23), perhaps Bob Brown should second them to try to halt the logging of the Tarkine forest by the Chinese-owned MMG company (Comment, “The fight to save the Tarkine”, July 17-23). I am sure the Chinese would be looking for some brownie points from the Australian public, at the same time as sticking it up the Morrison government.

– Rob Park, Surrey Hills, Vic

Voting for the environment

In his book Optimism, Bob Brown candidly reflected on his life of action. Environmentalists and supporters will need every ounce of optimism as well as fighting spirit to overcome the great threat to Tasmania’s glorious takayna/Tarkine rainforest. An uninterested government, a greedy mining company and a public distracted by a pandemic adds up to a herculean task for those who can see clearly that losing this wilderness chips away at our identity, our treasure, our very soul. The voters of Australia can write, agitate and stand up at the next election and tick “one” for the environment. A giant step towards being hopeful about the future.

– Pam Connor, Mollymook Beach, NSW

A sad tale

Australia makes a quiet exit from Afghanistan, on the losing side once again. Former army soldier Kate Banville expresses concern for the safety of remaining Afghans who helped us, yet no official policy has been guaranteed by our government (“The longest goodbye”, July 17-23). Australia’s longest war has resulted in 41 combat deaths and a staggering 500 veterans have also taken their own lives on home soil. That is the sad legacy. Our two major political parties have little desire to sever allegiance from the international serial aggressor. A new manufactured theatre of confrontation looms over the horizon.

– Carmelo Bazzano, Epping, Vic

Called to answer on pandemic

I agree with your editorial, “Getting some answers”, July 17-23, that we should have a royal commission into Australia’s botched vaccine rollout. There is a lot that has gone wrong, which suggests many lessons to learn. But the only thing our prime minister wants us to know is that none of it is his fault. But let’s not stop there. There are many other questions. How have celebrities managed to enter Australia when Australian citizens languished overseas, stranded for more than a year? How do some people enter and leave so freely through closed borders? How did quarantine become a state government responsibility? Let’s have some answers in a forum where lying is illegal.

– Graham Marshall, North Ryde, NSW

Who are our political leaders?

Your editorial “Bully for you”, (July 10-16), was thought-provoking: so many so-called leaders – in industry, commerce and, above all, in politics – are bullies at heart and do not hesitate to act as such once enough power is gained. Recent history is full of them, all leaving a trail of damage and misery behind them. What they all have in common are personality traits and behaviour patterns we call narcissism. The certainty of rightness, refusal to self-examine, avoidance of responsibility, blame-shifting, lack of empathy, a strong need to exert control over others; these are easily observable in many of our current politicians, the prime minister among them. The question arises: how do such people gain power so often? By clever, determined use of certain skills in the manipulation of people’s perception of them. Arousal of doubt and fear, then making false promises and commitments designed to appease and reassure; appeals to base emotions aimed at diverting blame for setbacks to suitable scapegoats; presentation of themselves as personas far removed from their true selves; and the exploitation of power, once gained, to exert it in self-promoting ways. The ill-effects on a democratic polity of such “leaders” are all too apparent: erosion of basic democratic freedoms of speech and of the media, emphasis on law and order, state capture of government by vested interests: these and other effects have weakened democracy, in and beyond Australia. How good would it be to be properly governed with the future welfare of the citizenry as first priority? One can only hope against hope for this.

– Jeremy Barrett, Valla Beach, NSW

Head bully

Thank you for your particularly apt summing up of the prime minister. So much of the editorial said what I’ve been thinking but have been unable to put into words. The last paragraph was so tragically true: “He has spent the past few years making the country the right size for his leadership. What is clearer now is the kind of person required to undertake such a base project.” Oh that The Saturday Paper was compulsory reading for all those out there who think he has done a good job.

– Robin Sevenoaks, Bruce, ACT

Royal accolade

You’ve earned your salt, Liam Runnalls (The Cryptic, July 17-23). “Crown jewels” – precious stones indeed. Mungo would be proud.

– Mike Puleston, Brunswick, Vic

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 July 24, 2021.

For almost a decade, The Saturday Paper has published Australia’s leading writers and thinkers. We have pursued stories that are ignored elsewhere, covering them with sensitivity and depth. We have done this on refugee policy, on government integrity, on robo-debt, on aged care, on climate change, on the pandemic.

All our journalism is fiercely independent. It relies on the support of readers. By subscribing to The Saturday Paper, you are ensuring that we can continue to produce essential, issue-defining coverage, to dig out stories that take time, to doggedly hold to account politicians and the political class.

There are very few titles that have the freedom and the space to produce journalism like this. In a country with a concentration of media ownership unlike anything else in the world, it is vitally important. Your subscription helps make it possible.

Select your digital subscription

Month selector

Use your Google account to create your subscription