Floods of tears
Rick Morton’s piece about the New South Wales government’s shameful planning processes failing to ensure adequate social housing is entirely consistent with its reluctance to govern for all (“Public enemy”, March 5-11). A case in point is Dominic Perrottet’s clear failure to properly assist people during the flood emergency. Time and again, this government has neglected the forgotten element of a neoliberal economy – people. We do, however, hear a lot about the urgent requirements of business and the economy. In the case of social and affordable housing projects, including the Waterloo Estate, where “budget neutrality” and asset selloff business models are deployed, it is property developers who substantially benefit, rather than the 50,000 people on the waiting list. Similarly with the floods, where grants to businesses are all very well, but trickle-down theory works inefficiently for people who have lost everything. If governments want to understand why electorates are turning away, perhaps focus more on people and less on themselves and their corporate boosters.
– Alison Stewart, Riverview, NSW
Make this carnage stop
Thank you so much for the brilliant article by Mark Edele (“Inside Vladimir Putin’s paranoia”, March 5-11). The dreadful scenes of slaughter and suffering in Ukraine are heart-wrenchingly sad. And no sane person wants a wider war in Europe. But how long can the world continue to witness Ukraine being bombed, resulting in the mass killings of innocent civilians and reducing Ukraine’s cities to rubble? I hope international pressure, sanctions and Ukrainian resistance halts this terrible carnage. Tolerating these atrocities is a totally untenable situation. Putin’s attempt to restore Russia’s empire is being built over the dead bodies of children, women and men. In the name of justice and humanity, this must end. As Calgacus rightly said, “These plunderers of the world … they call empire and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”
– Steven Katsineris, Hurstbridge, Vic
A new name for elites
Tim Winton (“Big Daddy Gas”, March 5-11) outlines the bewitching of our democracy through years of mendacity and gaslighting by the gas- and oil-mining industries. Peter Dutton, when discussing Putin’s Russia, described corruption facilitated between “Russian oligarchs and Putin”. Surely Australia is not oligarch free? Fabulously wealthy magnates who have tax-free access to exploit our mineral wealth, to pollute our media, facilitated by the most secretive government since colonial times, who block interference of their patrons. This species resides in 21st-century Australia, too.
– Keith Mitchelson, St Lucia, Qld
Oil and the damage done
Tim Winton is right to launch a withering truth attack on the fossil fuel companies undermining our future. The lobbyists and politicians are their accomplices. Australian domestic greenhouse gas emissions peaked around 2007 and have been slowly reducing year on year, but emissions from fossil fuels exported from Australia have been steadily rising at a much higher rate. We play a much greater role and bear much greater responsibility for climate change than industry and political apologists would have us believe. The companies responsible for all this have clearly been well aware for decades of the dangers inherent in planetary heating due to burning of fossil fuels. Just as clearly they have been more motivated by short-term profit than any concern for the future. Climate justice and accountability is arguably the key issue for the coming federal election. It has never been more important to send a clear message to the parties and candidates that have failed us.
– Frank Nicklason, North Hobart, Tas
Attacking the hand that reads
I agree with everything in your editorial “Telling stories” of March 5-11 except the pejorative epithets “dandruffy old men”. It is ageist, sexist and dandruffist. A lot of us dandruffy old men have spent our working lives and retirement labouring in socially worthwhile fields. And we comprise a goodly proportion of your readers. We have the knowledge and the stamina to read and enjoy, and argue with, complex articles. And why are editorials never signed? I know the answer is tradition, but that’s not good enough. For transparency, and to demonstrate the courage of your convictions, put a name, or names, to it.
– Rob Wills, West End, Qld
Set them all free
Sometimes a change to a longstanding human problem can occur without fanfare. Several weeks ago the story of Mehdi Ali and his human torture as a refugee appeared in subsequent editions of The Saturday Paper. He is now safely in the United States having been quietly exported. My previous letter to the editor expressed my anguish at his suffering, but I am now overtaken with considerable joy. On his release Mehdi said, “I won’t be happy until all my friends are released from detention.” This includes his cousin Adnan, who has been with him for all of the past nine years. So what about the others, Mr Dutton?
– Angela Jennings, Netherby, SA
We are enthusiastic biscuits of Liam Runnalls’ cryptic crosswords. He is a formidable successor to Mungo. The past few weeks have been exceptional with the culmination of TVs and coffin in Cryptic No. 389 (March 5-11).
– Tim McQueen, Malvern East, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on March 12, 2022.
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