Letters to
the editor

Letting women speak

Dhanya Mani has penned an elegy of profound emotional strength, every word expressing the dignity and significance of the life of her friend and confidante (“Remembering Kate”, August 28–September 3). An academically gifted student who excelled at debating, a teenager who stood on the threshold of a brilliant future. A loving and expressive friend, an exacting historian in her adult life. A life beset with mental health issues, which Kate managed with “more insight and proactivity than anyone else”. A vibrant and precious life still beating in the hearts of others. The sentence in this writing that deeply resonated for me, as I’m certain it has for so many others, is: “Much of the country has moved on.” What is crystal clear for Dhanya Mani, for myself, for so many women whose voices continue to articulate their reality, is that we will never be persuaded to move on. That would be tantamount to dishonouring our experience. Remembering Kate, who she is, who we are, we stand tall and refuse to be silent.

– Pam Connor, Mollymook Beach, NSW

Afghanistan left to the Taliban

Sarah Price’s piece “I am human first of all” (August 28–September 3) is a truly gut-wrenching one, which I read with a rising sense of despair. T. S. Eliot came to mind: “Humanity cannot bear too much reality.” I tried to imagine the depth of distress and fear being felt by the Hazara refugees here on temporary visas and their family members still in Afghanistan. The social and educational advances gained in the past 20 years will be replaced and negated by strict imposition of Sharia. Women and girls will again become commodities for the use of men. The Taliban have confounded Western intelligence by so quickly filling the vacuum left by foreign forces. It may be trite by now to say Australia should never have obeyed the United States’s call to arms yet again. Here, now, our nation has another opportunity to show compassion but, for purely political reasons, refuses to rise to meet this humanitarian challenge.

– Jeremy Barrett, Valla Beach, NSW

Timing is everything

Paul Bongiorno’s surmise, based on the Covid situation, that Scott Morrison is marshalling the troops for a November tilt at The Lodge (“Crood language in the workplace”, August 28–September 3) may reveal only part of the reasoning. Another good reason to run early would be to avoid another bushfire and cyclone season. With a wet spring predicted, by November everything will be lush; the pasture will be growing and the winter crops looking set for a bumper harvest. The parks and gardens of suburbia will be blooming and everything will seem right with the world. Come March and the chances of having had another searing and violent summer season, plus the post-lockdown reality of empty shops, it will be all too evident that climate change and the allied pandemic have become an existential reality. Whatever you may think of Scotty the Fixer, Scotty from Marketing is no slouch.

– John Mosig, Kew, Vic

Poll risks for reward

An early federal election in November would be yet another reminder that base political self-interest always wins out over the objective public good. It would compel entirely unnecessary travel by most of the population, either to a polling booth or a mailbox, with the attendant avoidable virus-transmission risks. And presumably election officials and scrutineers would have to gather to count the ballots. Many people don’t take the travel and gathering restrictions seriously because of the many exceptions that make a mockery of them. An early federal election would be one of the more breathtaking examples.

– Clinton McKenzie, Cootamundra, NSW

Our collective needs

I am full of praise for John Hewson for highlighting the concept of the “greater good” (“The politics of the greater good”, August 28–September 3). There has arguably never been a more important time to understand that we, humankind, possess shared interests and a common future. As the world faces the concurrent crises of managing a pandemic and catastrophic climate change, it is crucial that we tackle these challenges collectively. Morally and ethically, there is a need to move beyond self-interest and address these issues for the greater good of all future generations.

– Amy Hiller, Kew, Vic

Janette Howard’s larger role

“John Howard’s wife” – you mean Janette Howard? (Editorial, “Moral stature”, August 28–September 3). Bit “casual sexism” to reduce her to the anonymous butt of the joke, don’t you think? She is a person with a name and a place in history. Wasn’t there an opportunity to make the joke and the point about morality without resorting to this? Hard to make a morally defensible point about the indefensible with such a discursive shortcut.

– Antoinette Holm, Drouin, Vic

Communication strategies

Thanks for the story on translators for the Deaf (Fiona Murphy, “Signs of the times”, August 28–September 3). I am an elder losing my hearing to illness and dependent on lip-reading. Covid presents special problems. Government staff happily help me, none of which I can hear, and of course requests to drop the mask are met with suspicion. Normally I confess that “I am as deaf as Scott Morrison”. That usually does the trick. Laughter followed by lowering the mask. So far no scowls.

– Melody Kemp, Balmoral, Qld

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 September 4, 2021.

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