Letters to
the editor

Bring on the election

The revelations in Karen Middleton’s article “Exclusive: PM planned not to deliver abuse apology” (February 12-18) are a clear demonstration that Prime Minister Scott Morrison cares far more for himself and his position of power than he does for women who have been sexually or otherwise abused, even in Parliament House. It also shows Morrison is prepared to punish anyone who does not obey his every wish, especially if their actions might threaten his re-election. For me, and I’m sure many other voters, the election cannot come soon enough.

– Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin, ACT

One family’s suffering

“The story of a life” by Rick Morton, February 12-18, is a poignant story of the pandemic’s impact on the many faceless names in our aged communities. Beautiful and shocking at the same time. This more personal delve into the impact on one family goes a long way to exposing this government’s callousness and disregard for the aged-care sector over the past decade. Billions in funding cuts and obfuscation of responsibility almost pale against their inaction regarding the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety after its horror findings. The federal government has forced the health and aged-care sectors to the brink of collapse without remorse, arrogantly playing with numbers in an attempt to paint a picture of leadership in control. But we are still in crisis and our front-line staff are still overworked and underpaid. Calling out from the bleachers, ministers in charge maintain their absolute disconnect to community, proving their lack of compassion, humanity and moral leadership. Strong action will require strong leadership, honesty and real governance, just not from a Morrison-led government.

– Ian Ossher, Dover Heights, NSW

Banishment does occur

Kieran Pender quotes Kim Rubenstein as saying: “We have a criminal law system to deal with criminal conduct – we don’t banish people” (“Schrödinger’s citizen”, February 12-18). That’s not quite true. Hundreds are deported each year under sections 501 and 116 of the Migration Act. (The former applies to people sentenced to a year or more in custody, the latter to people guilty in the minister’s eyes of bad character.) Peter Dutton calls this “taking out the trash” but many have spent most of their lives in Australia. I know two 501s held in Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation who have each spent 50 years here. As one said: “I’ve done the crime and done the time, but Australia made me. Now it wants to send me away from my family.” This cruelty has to stop.

– David Glanz, Hadfield, Vic

Take action on a charter

“We need a bill of rights to enshrine all principles of freedom.” Thank you for saying that in your editorial (“Let me be me”, February 12-18). Unless we fight for and achieve this, or at least an Australian Human Rights Act or charter, we will be floundering as the wretched crop of federal politicians award themselves more and more powers, like kings in the Middle Ages. This is a fight, not some debate appealing to the better natures of these people. We must pressure all our institutions to fight for this. Most of all, to close down the hotel dungeons, to help kids and not lock them up, to save Julian Assange, we have to get off our bums.

– Stephen Langford, Paddington, NSW

The legacy of Peter Costello

It was disappointing to read John Hewson on the Reserve Bank of Australia (“Matter of Interest”, February 12-18). He says he admires “inflation targets”, which the then treasurer Peter Costello imposed on the RBA. Low targets are designed to strangle economic activity and boost market speculation. The Bank of Canada and RBA agreed this removed their independence from government. Costello also took away RBA powers to control financial markets and banks, creating new entities, APRA and ASIC. Banking royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne said these were weak. Costello also tried to close government bond issues, which infuriated bond traders. The aim was to reduce government money if needed to boost activity. Current Treasurer Josh Frydenberg directed ASIC and APRA to ignore Hayne’s proposals – so creating a property bubble and mass household debt. Given wage suppression, asset inflations bring an inevitable crash, about which the RBA is most worried but can do nothing.

– Jocelyn Pixley, Paddington, NSW

A step in the right direction

Mark Dapin’s adventurous and admittedly absolutely bloody marvellous Bondi-to-Manly walk reminded me of why I love walking and why it is so good for the soul (“Back on track”, February 12-18). Walking slows us down, allows us to experience a gaze upon, and a connection to, the earth beneath our feet and the landscape that informs and educates us about true importance. Trains and boats and planes do not present us with the same opportunities to lose our way joyfully and to rely on our own compass. And “asking someone” about the right path may be the most significant thing we ever undertake.

– Pam Connor, MacGregor, ACT

Fabulous fiction

I do hope you’ll publish more of Tina Cartwright’s work (“Iceberg”, February 5-11): a fresh, relevant voice that needs to be heard.

– Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale, Vic

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 February 19, 2022.

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