Rick Morton’s analysis of hospital and medical services is brilliantly summarised by the portmanteau “clusterfuck” (“Hospital plan: ‘Try very hard to avoid getting Covid until March’ ”, January 29–February 4) expressed by a victim of the health system, and perceptibly describing inarticulate and bungled planning, delivery and operation of Covid-19 health services. The outcomes of policy and decision failures during Covid-19 and their repetitive nature raise in me overwhelming sadness, despair and anger for the lives that could have been saved, and the underlying cause of the confusion needs to be described in a powerful way. For me Morton’s article and “clusterfuck” clearly hit the mark.
– David Wilson, Newport, Qld
Health workers afraid to speak up
While reading The Saturday Paper I notice so many quotes attributed to people who speak out only on the condition of anonymity, with Rick Morton’s excellent and revealing piece being a prime example. Is this what we’ve become, a society so fearful of government funding and career prospect reprisal that we’re only able to reveal these alarming truths from the shadows? A nation of deep throats? Even more worrying is what these citizens reveal: a government so obsessed with being in government that it has forgotten totally how to govern. The result of this preoccupation has created a decision-making vacuum, the shambolic and deceptive handling of the pandemic being but one example. With increasing volumes of anti-whistleblower and FOI-shielded legislation passing through the parliament, how long before these brave souls are hunted down and hauled before a Coalition star chamber?
– John Mosig, Kew, Vic
How the parties will campaign
Opinion polls tend to reinforce any latent polarisation of the community. In the relative calm before the pre-election storm, Karen Middleton (“Strategists believe election will be won on character”, January 29–February 4) quotes Vox Populi Research’s view that, after more than three years of Scott Morrison, “it will be a good Albo, bad Albo campaign”. It’s more likely to be a “bad Albo, worse ScoMo” campaign, unless voters wake up and start prioritising action over words, substance over clickbait and empty promises, integrity over marketing hype. Independent community-based candidates willing to fill the void, as described by Margo Kingston (“The courage muscle”, January 29–February 4), have already shown they can provide an optimistic, alternative way to achieve realistic, co-operative change, and deserve support.
– Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale, Vic
Electoral reform is the answer
In all of your excellent articles about Australian politics, one element is never mentioned – the role of our electoral system. Osman Faruqi (“The bigger the better”, January 29–February 4) writes, “Just because Australians want something doesn’t mean it happens.” This is not surprising given at least 60 per cent of us do not have a direct voice in the lower (governing) house. If you are a Liberal in a safe Labor seat, or vice versa, or a minority party supporter almost anywhere, you do not have a direct voice in government. Some form of proportional representation would give all of us a voice. We could even do away with the senate.
– Anne McMenamin, Rosewater, SA
Imagining better for Australia
The late Alan Ramsey feared that John Howard was “remaking Australia in his own miserable, disfigured image”. However, as Margo Kingston and Osman Faruqi have demonstrated, Howard failed because most of us are generous and thoughtful. Despite the malignant tenures of Howard, Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison, most of us want action on climate change, political integrity, gender equality and Indigenous rights. We want more spent on education, health and unemployment support, and we don’t want tax cuts. Now Morrison is trying to remake Australia in his image: vacuous condescension, cringeworthy appeal to dinkum males, and toe-curling incuriosity. In the next election let’s vote according to the better angels of our nature.
– David Clarke, Battery Point, Tas
Sending a message
Kate Chaney comes from a well-known Australian political family and is standing as an independent in the Perth seat of Curtin (Margo Kingston, “The courage muscle”, January 29–February 4). Her descriptions of the major parties explain her disappointment. The Labor Party is “tribal. It’s us versus them”, and the Liberal Party “is about power without purpose”. For Chaney, the focus should be about what she calls “future-building”, something that doesn’t even enter the Morrison consciousness. If Chaney defeats the Liberal Party’s Celia Hammond, who holds Curtin by 13.9 per cent, it won’t be a miracle. It will be because Chaney is authentic and the Australian public is fed up with a lack of action on climate change, government rorts and refusal to keep the promise to establish an integrity commission.
– Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Vic
Jini Maxwell nicely captured the simple delight of Wordle (“Simple joys”, January 22-28). I am unapologetically on the bandwagon. It almost fills the gap while impatiently awaiting the return of Liam Runnalls’ Quick Crossword – please.
– Shennia Spillane, Griffith, ACT
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on February 5, 2022.
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