Labouring under a misconception
It should indeed be obvious that a healthy economy requires healthy people but not, apparently, to Scott Morrison and Dominic Perrottet (Mike Seccombe, “Tracing the ‘nightmare’ reality of the shadow lockdown”, January 22-28). Utterly blinded by ideology and a grovelling eagerness to appease their business cronies, surely it is dawning on them that it is actual people, rather than units of production, driving the critical processes; people whose worth is barely recognised in better times. This fatal underestimation of the value of labour has become apparent during 10 years of wage stagnation. Could this catastrophic misjudgement trigger a conservative reset, to recognise that a successful, sustainable economy values its workers, remunerates them adequately, considers their health and family needs, and does not try to force people to work when sick, or strip them of penalty rates, proper holidays and parental leave, all for extraordinary profits and obscene executive remuneration? Unlikely. Time for a government reset.
– Alison Stewart, Riverview, NSW
Our health system in crisis
The article by Mike Seccombe tells a story of politicians leading the public up so many paths that have no exit point. We have gone from complete lockdown to so-called freedom days with the same pandemic, which has led to so many scenarios being presented by politicians that we literally don’t know who to believe. But one thing that is abundantly clear is that we the voters have elected politicians of all persuasions who have given us tax cuts and we have never thought how detrimental that has been to the health system. We are now paying the price of health service cuts in staff and infrastructure. Rural health services in particular are a disgrace. As we approach this election period, can one politician please be honest enough and say taxes are not a dirty word, they actually protect us.
– Daryl Regan, Eden Hills, SA
A list of Morrison failures
John Hewson sets out a long and comprehensive list of policy development work that has not been tackled by the current government over recent years (“Basket cases”, January 22-28). Many of these outstanding issues are concerned with effective pandemic management, fair employment conditions, social equity and parliamentary integrity, and involve governing for all Australians. So I must ask, if the Coalition has not been governing for us, who have they been governing for?
– Shelley Fredericks, Pennant Hills, NSW
New legislation that can punish foreign individuals without going near a court moves Australia a step closer to the fascist European governments from the 1930s (Brian Toohey, “Bad reaction”, January 22-28). We can now expect more “kangaroo” decision-making from the marsupials within our government. This delivers a blow to our legal system and the proud claim that we are a sovereign nation formulating our own laws. We have once again participated in our favourite pursuit of follow-the-leader by virtually cloning a law devised by the United States and which “is likely to be aimed primarily at China”.
– Carmelo Bazzano, Epping, Vic
Mehdi Ali is the real story
Thank you for the latest from Mehdi Ali (“The sky of this cage”, January 22-28 ). We have to get him out after his nine years of purgatory. And the other 32 refugee prisoners. And all the others in Australia’s refugee gulag. The whole world is watching the Park Hotel refugee prison in Melbourne. Mehdi Ali references the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. He is right to do that. Australia signed the Refugee Convention in 1954 after the horrors of World War II. It has everything in it that enables a refugee to make a new start. We have to talk it up. It is international law. We signed it. Shame on those journalists and their bosses who used the refugees for the “main story”, the tennis star.
– Stephen Langford, Paddington, NSW
Australia’s care-free politicians
January is not over and already a contender for letter of the year – Angela Jennings’ exhortation of the Liberal Party’s continuing and contemptible treatment of refugees under Scott Morrison (Letters, “A refugee policy without compassion”, January 22-28). As she intimates, we are all demeaned by this atrocity. A while ago Anthony Albanese stated publicly that the detention system, originally introduced by Labor, was never meant to last eight years. Crucially, he failed to add to that lonely comment with any undertakings. As it stands, voting Labor will be as worthless as voting for the Coalition.
– Rod Milliken, Greenwell Point, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on January 29, 2022.
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