Letters to
the editor

Counting the cost

The New South Wales government is apparently keen for us to live with the virus because according to the treasurer, lockdowns are bad for the economy (Mike Seccombe, “Inside the NSW plan: Now live with the virus”, August 14-20). This is just another example of the absurdity of economics. While the treasurer will no doubt be able to come up with a cost in billions of dollars of a lockdown, any economists could come up with an equally daunting figure on the cost of  “letting it rip”. Probably both figures would be wide of the mark as there are too many unknowns and the treasurer’s figures will be based on a comparison with the pre-pandemic economy, something that is now just part of our history.

– Don Owers, Dudley, NSW

Independent actions

It was independent Rex Patrick who made the application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal after the prime minister’s department rejected two FOI requests that resulted in Justice White’s historic decision to permit the national cabinet’s deliberations not to remain secret (Karen Middleton, “Legal loss a blow for Morrison secrecy”, August 14-20). It was independent Helen Haines who introduced the federal integrity commission bill and it was independent Zali Steggall who introduced the climate change bill. It would seem the most active members of parliament are the independents. One has to ask what kind of a role is the Labor Party now playing in holding the government to account and formulating the laws that govern us?

– Peter Nash, Fairlight, NSW

How to save the Earth

“What really concerns me is how far away scientific reality is from the reality of world politics.” This profound comment is from Joëlle Gergis, a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report (“Dire warming”, August 14-20). Gergis says the world must reach net zero by 2050, and every country must raise their pledges to stay near the 1.5 degrees temperature limit. She concludes “the governments of the world” must agree soon at COP26 in Glasgow on the report’s safest scenario. Billions of years of evolution have produced a wondrous array of interdependent species. At this extraordinary, historic point in time, our leaders must make the wisest choice.

– Barbara Fraser, Burwood, Vic

At the tipping point on climate

I applaud and thank Joëlle Gergis and her colleagues in the climate science community for their dedication to a gruelling and heartbreaking cause. Reading her heartfelt and sincere article was challenging but enlightening. It seems we really are at a tipping point on climate. I implore all to listen and do everything in our power to reduce emissions and stabilise the Earth’s climate.

– Amy Hiller, Kew, Vic

Similar treatment for veterans

As the former wife of a Vietnam veteran I was so disappointed, but sadly not surprised, to see the tactics used to reduce or deny NDIS support to people with a disability (Rick Morton, “Brutal scheme”, August 14-20). This is the same playbook used on our war veterans: first reject the claim, then send the claimant to doctors appointed by the department for review. In our case, the review doctors rejected our doctor’s findings. But our GP challenged the findings and referred my husband to specialists whose tests proved the disabilities claimed were, in fact, correct. Without our GP and the specialists, we would have not known what to do or how to challenge those results. All up, resolution of our claim took some seven or eight years. Similar to the NDIS cases, days before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal was to hear the case, the government accepted our claim 100 per cent and my former husband is now on a TPI pension and a service pension. It was an emotional and financial rollercoaster ride. When we should have been focused on our children and our lives, we were under pressure to prove something that was clear from the medical results. We had the burden of covering the costs of my husband’s medical care for all the years of our claim, as well as there being extended periods when he was not well enough to work or could only work part-time. To see this occurring to people with a disability is beyond “brutal” and it is also unnecessary and costly.

– Faith Hopkins, Camp Hill, Qld

The faces of the NDIS cuts

Well-deserved kudos to The Saturday Paper and Rick Morton for his insightful and dogged pursuit of transparency and the shortcomings of aged care and the NDIS. “Brutal scheme” personalises the adverse outcomes and highlights the current government’s mindless penny-pinching. I don’t expect the current federal government to do much given their penchant for corporate welfare.

– Philip Rice, Rivervale, WA

Losing Gadfly’s sting

How could we afford to lose the Gadfly (Sami Shah, “Blatant self-promotion”, August 14-20)? It was my first go-to column as soon as I unwrapped The Saturday Paper. A much-needed laugh I could share with my partner as I read aloud some of the hilarious retelling of political or social gossip so aptly described by Richard Ackland and his fitting successor Sami Shah. Who is now going to provide me with the lighter serve on politics with a dash of satirical humour on a bed of total irreverence?

– Dilhara Gonsalkorale, Glebe, 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 August 21, 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