Letters to
the editor

Coalition’s lack of fiscal discipline

Good to read Rick Morton’s analysis of the hollowing out of the public service by this government (“How private management consultants took over the public service”, October 9-15). How much money has it wasted on consultants? Not to mention other things, such as the ridiculous cost of holding one family on Christmas Island for so long. They pride themselves on their financial management – more like mismanagement in my view.

– Jeanette Knox, Leichhardt, NSW

We need a federal ICAC

The absolute hypocrisy of politicians clutching their pearls at the thought of public ICAC hearings is breathtaking (Karen Middleton, “Netting Porter”, October 9-15). They seem to conveniently forget that they’re paid from the public purse and we, the taxpayers, are entitled to know the level of the corruption.

– Christine Tiley, Albany Creek, Qld

Politicians and public trust

Rachel Withers’ probing comments disclosed many of our leading politicians are afraid of a federal ICAC for the simple reason that they would likely be under investigation, should their integrity be questioned (“Who’s afraid of a federal ICAC?”, October 9-15). I became discombobulated following attempts to digest spurious claims by the Coalition against the NSW watchdog. Alternatively described as “a witch-hunt”, “the Crucible”, “a kangaroo court”, “the Spanish Inquisition”, and “monster”, our leaders continually play the fear card. In 1977, Don Chipp famously promised to “keep the bastards honest”, with limited success. Public trust in our elected leaders is at an appallingly low level. A federal ICAC is necessary to investigate our political miscreants at the highest level.

– Carmelo Bazzano, Epping, Vic

Keeping track of the dollars

Maybe Barnaby Joyce has it wrong about the Spanish Inquisition. It was instigated in 1478 to maintain Catholic orthodoxy and there’s no denying that it has achieved that. It’s exactly what’s needed to maintain the orthodoxy of the Westminster system of government based on ministerial responsibility. But, as tempting as it may be, we don’t burn backsliders at the stake these days. However, the aims of a modern, somewhat less corporal version embodied in a federal anti-corruption authority are decidedly commendable. The Australian electorate deserves nothing less, and I feel sure the long-suffering Australian taxpayers would love to discover where their dollars are going. Now surely Barnaby would have to agree that if it’s good enough for the Catholic Church, it’s good enough for the Australian government?

– John Mosig, Kew, Vic

Consumers at the mercy of banks

In John Durie’s interview of ASIC chairman Joe Longo (“Running ASIC”, October 9-15), Longo claims: “As a generalisation, [banks] want to do the right thing. A lot of the time when things go wrong I personally don’t think it’s because of intentional dishonesty or corruption”. Following 20 years of assisting bank victims I can attest that this claim is erroneous. The banking sector became addicted to corrupt practices following comprehensive financial deregulation. ASIC has demonstrated consistent complicity with bank malpractice since it was created in 1998 to incorporate consumer and (later) small business protection. Aggrieved bank borrowers face a partisan judiciary, a hostile ASIC, a partisan financial ombudsman and thus bank impunity. The Hayne banking royal commission deflected from the core failures associated with a structurally unequal credit relationship.

– Evan Jones, Glebe, NSW

Diplomacy is cheaper and better

The decision to buy nuclear-powered submarines is wrong, Michael Costello (“When ineptitude goes nuclear”, October 9-15). In making such an expensive decision we must consider why we need such a sophisticated weapon. We have no enemies on our borders wanting to invade. Paul Keating in a recent article reiterated what we have known for years: namely we live in the safest country in the world. Keating and others have similarly debunked the “let’s get frightened of China line”. China has not shown any desire to invade any part of Australia. The United States has surrounded China with bases, yet China is called bullying and assertive. Nuclear submarines will create a local arms race and regional tension just went up a notch thanks to this hairy-chested decision. Unfortunately for Mr Costello, just as his article was published, a US nuclear submarine had an accident in the South China Sea. As for Mr Albanese’s decision to meekly follow the Morrison line, I’m with the crowd that calls this cowardice. We would be much better served by soft diplomacy and aid rather than $100 billion-plus on exorbitant weaponry. As Australia tries to wrestle with the major challenges of reconciliation and compensation of our First Nations people, the pandemic and the results of climate change, our leaders – both LNP and ALP – have gone down a dead end with nuclear submarines.

– Denis Doherty, 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 October 16, 2021.

A free press is one you pay for. Now is the time to subscribe.