Unforgettable calls from Nauru
I wept on reading the editorial (“The Nauru rapes”, November 27–December 3). Six years ago, Martin McKenzie-Murray documented the brutal rapes of the refugee girls on Nauru. Even after the exposure of this systematic and brutal treatment of the girls both inside the camp and then in the remote hut accommodation in the community, political denial ensued. Some of the girls went to the Nauru police and made statements demanding action. No one was charged. Australian Federal Police officers stood by. I can never forget those phone calls from Nauru. Thank you to Martin McKenzie-Murray and The Saturday Paper for recording what one day must be acknowledged as a shocking time in this nation’s history. You helped us bear witness.
– Pamela Curr, via email
Working to improve aged care
Rick Morton (“Old habits”, November 27–December 3) summarises correctly the seemingly intractable difficulty of properly funding and administering aged care. The essential problem lies in the federal government’s refusal to take responsibility. Its first response to blame is to commission yet another inquiry. A minor but telling characteristic is the constant reference to bureaucrats. These people used to be called public servants. As a former public servant myself, I know that one’s own perception and the perception of the general population of the tasks and responsibilities of one’s job is vastly different if one thinks of oneself as someone whose job is to serve the community rather than as part of officialdom. Officials can refer tasks to others. Public servants (and I suggest politicians) are expected to undertake them themselves.
– Juliet Flesch, Kew, Vic
Change of government welcomed
John Hewson shows how Scott Morrison stands for nothing more than his own immediate electoral interests (“Captain Trump-lite, or gentleman of the goad”, November 27–December 3). Seeing himself as “chosen by God” for the work he does, he changes his tune to suit the moment, apparently confident of the Almighty’s ultimate absolution. He heads a government without leadership that is crumbling around him. The bills he is bringing to parliament pander to the extreme right but alienate the reasonable middle. His climate change agenda is a platform for spin that protects his donors, and he, and his new speaker, have rejected the house vote to debate Helen Haines’s bill for an effective federal integrity commission. Hewson’s concern that the Morrison government has undermined our democracy in critical ways is well founded. We must hope that the electorate will see sufficient in Labor, the Greens, and independents to empower the country to move forward on a responsible, principled basis after the election.
– Chris Young, Surrey Hills, Vic
Going off the long run
Thanks to Martin McKenzie-Murray for his story on Australian cricketer Tim Paine and for reminding us to keep a sense of proportionality about our moral outrage (“The naked truth”, November 27–December 3). We should also remember that Steve Waugh falsely claimed a catch against the West Indies in 1995 and was rewarded with the captaincy. Has Cricket Australia, in any of its incarnations, ever considered “moral courage and ethical restraint”?
– Jonathan Silberberg, Cow Bay, Qld
A watery argument
Jon Kudelka’s deft cartoon of Scott Morrison (“ScoMoses Parts Lake Burley Griffin”, November 27–December 3) made me smile. It reflectively brought to mind another association of Morrison walking on the waters of Lake Burley Griffin because he knows where the stepping stones are. In this respect, however, he needs to be very careful, because recent events have shown his memory is not all that good.
– David Wilson, Newport, Qld
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on December 4, 2021.
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