Parlous state of Covid consensus
The article by Rick Morton (“Exclusive: National cabinet counts intensive care beds”, August 21-27) highlights the lack of information that is being collected by the Australian government as the Covid-19 Delta strain rips into our communities. It is staggering to think that the national intensive care bed count isn’t already known and a plan already prepared to meet this emergency. The intensive care bed problem is now front and centre as New South Wales in particular has given up on eliminating the virus. However, other states have declared that, regardless of the vaccination count, opening up with high cases is not on their agenda. This disturbing lack of consensus again highlights the complete failure of the Morrison government to manage this emergency in a co-ordinated way. We have a so-called national cabinet that is about to fracture and present many different options depending on which state or territory you live in. It is a classic example of a federation system not serving the best interests of this country. It is exactly the same scenario with natural disasters when, for example, states and territories have different equipment and different communication systems. The pandemic is out of control and political infighting will not be the answer.
– Daryl Regan, Eden Hills, SA
Another policy failure
The extreme cruelty of the federal Coalition has long been apparent, in its scandalous refugee policies, in robo-debt, in its suppression of wages, its tax cuts for the well-off, its fossil fuels advocacy and climate denial, its funding of privilege, its corrupt allocation of public money, its denigration of women and denial of their rights, and its refusal to adequately address First Nations concerns. Is it too much to hope that its latest egregious act of cruelty – to abandon Afghans, despite impending Hazara genocide and crimes against women, denigrating those in dire peril as al-Qaeda supporters – will finally enlighten those still enamoured of a government bereft of not just policy but any last shred of morality (Karen Middleton, “They took him from his home, and killed him...”, August 21-27)?
– Alison Stewart, Riverview, NSW
Our small world
It’s sad to watch the changes that the pandemic is making to our national psyche. We used to bemoan our insularity and do everything we could to break down our isolation and improve our communication with the wider world. Suddenly in a global pandemic we’ve become grateful for the sense of security conferred by our island status: distance is no longer seen as a tyranny, but rather as a lucky protection. There are dangers when this attitude spreads to other areas, such as the government’s policy approach to dealing with climate change and with refugee resettlement. Your editorial put the problem neatly: “the cruelty of a country that works hard to pretend that there is no world beyond its shores” (“Cruel to the end”, August 21-27). Isolation is no recipe for progress, creatively, scientifically, economically or spiritually. The government must remove its selfish blinkers and learn to live in the real world.
– Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale, Vic
The PM’s lack of agency
Trashing the conventions of democracy is one thing the federal government can be relied upon to do. There are innumerable indicators of such behaviour. A key factor is Scott Morrison being “not responsible” across all areas of involvement (Richard Denniss, “Scott Morrison is stuck”, August 21-27). Neglect is an active ingredient in Morrison’s approach, his government’s character formed by the abject laziness that is the hallmark of his leadership. Anarchy is described as the absence of government in society; pretty much precisely what, as agent, the prime minister delivers. As realisation spreads alarm in the community, that chicken is rushing home to roost. Its name is consequence, otherwise known as karma. The prime minister is, after all, accountable for his underperformance.
– Rod Milliken, Greenwell Point, NSW
Blaming the unemployed
John Hewson presents us with an ethical conundrum (“Welfare thin margins”, August 21-27) . Is the prime minister’s utterance – “we can’t allow the JobSeeker payment to become an impediment to people going out and doing work” – a personal prejudice or one more widely held? How often I have heard the unemployed maligned for their unemployment. And yet, when the maligners are challenged to share their work with those they critique, stupefaction is the usual response. Ideological antipathy may of course be an influencer in this space. Scott Morrison et al could recalibrate their moral compass by acknowledging that every unemployed individual has sacrificed their own welfare to provide someone else with a job. For this reason alone, those employed need to adequately recompense the unemployed. If this is too ideologically ambiguous, the state could instead mandate that all work be shared to the point that no one is unemployed – permitting the redundancy of the miserly JobSeeker...
– Peter Doelle, Mount Gambier, SA
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on August 28, 2021.
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