Unmasking the PM
Karen Middleton has uncloaked the Liberal Party preselection process for the sham that it is, complete with religious and racial overtones (“ ‘Actually a Moslem’: The true story of Morrison’s ruthless preselection”, April 2-8). We no longer should be surprised by the undemocratic shenanigans displayed in New South Wales, resulting in the rise of our most senior politician. The values of our governing party are not equal to the values shared by most Australians.
– Carmelo Bazzano, Epping, Vic
Unlike the present Liberal prime minister, I am not a believer; however, I strongly believe in karma. Sometimes, for me, it takes far too long for karma to manifest. When it does, be prepared for the devastation it can reap. For instance, the current fallout of the prime minister’s preselection in 2007. I will be a keen observer of the possible implications, if any, this will have for the forthcoming federal election.
– Denise Hassett, Mount Martha, Vic
Hoping for better
There are no words to describe the devastation that the residents of Lismore and surrounding Northern Rivers areas have endured (Rick Morton, “Deadly repetition”, April 2-8). Most demoralising, however, is the sense of despair within these communities as summarised by Lismore City Council mayor Steve Krieg who said “no doubt there’ll be another inquiry leading to another inquiry and that will lead to no answers”. Clearly these despondent communities would be bolstered by rapid action on climate, optimal funding and resource support for the Bureau of Meteorology, and a formal royal commission that, unlike the bushfire royal commission, results in implementation of recommended actions. We can but live in hope.
– Amy Hiller, Kew, Vic
Thank you, Raina MacIntyre, for “Living with Covid”, April 2-8. I am in my 80s and would prefer everyone to be masked in public spaces. The number of cases and hospitalisations in Queensland now is higher than a week before the mask mandate was lifted. In Melbourne a few weeks ago I noticed that more people there were wearing masks, even outdoors, than here in Toowoomba. I am sometimes the only person wearing a mask, for instance, at an indoor meeting. This makes me feel uncomfortable. People don’t seem to know that a person can be asymptomatic and infectious. We were never getting sufficient information or advice from government officials. Now we are getting almost none.
– Mary Petr, Rangeville, Qld
Down to the wire on energy
Reading Mike Seccombe’s “Building the Abbott-Proof Fence”, April 2-8, invoked the Proustian memory effect and the bad smell of the Abbott government. While the Abbott-Proof Fence protected the clean energy agencies, the Morrison government has continued to snip away at the fence with wire-cutters. Fortunately, in the same way that the senate blocked Sussan Ley’s attempt to weaken the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, it has disallowed Angus Taylor’s attempt to permit the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to fund the fossil fuel industry. The 2022-23 budget, however, continues the government’s anti-renewable warfare by awarding “between $3 and $4 billion” to the gas industry, according to The Australia Institute, while cutting funding to clean energy agencies by 35 per cent over the next four years. The only solution is to turn the wire-cutters back on the Coalition where it hurts, at the ballot box.
– Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Vic
The Abbott Principle
Mike Seccombe’s tale of the Abbott-Proof Fence should reduce any surviving optimists to existential despair. The Abbott regime’s attempt to give vast amounts of the country’s natural resources and future wealth to huge corporations, mostly foreign owned, largely for the benefit of itself, displayed an audacity previously confined to certain despots. While Mr Abbott clearly understood the utility of capital in securing the support and obedience of a large portion of his subjects, he overlooked the potential volatility of his most compliant servants. He might have profited from viewing a 1970s film, where a similarly ambitious and honest but far less talented aspirant to power named Michael Rimmer rides public gullibility to the summit of then implausible political success in Britain.
– John Hayward, Weegena, Tas
The power of the human spirit
Mehdi Ali’s account (“Tasting freedom”, April 2-8) of his nine years of crimeless incarceration by the Australian government, and his reflections on it following his expatriation to the United States are a moving testament to the power of the human spirit to somehow preserve hope under the most adverse conditions, and to still feel wonder in the natural world once freedom is restored, despite mistreatment. His compassion for his still-imprisoned mates, and even for his guards, is a quality totally missing from the government refugee and asylum seeker policy. Now, suddenly, we hear the prime minister proudly announcing that Ukrainian refugees will be fast-tracked to the front of the queue for admission to this country. Does this man not comprehend the gross hypocrisy of this and other of his decisions? To paraphrase him from another context, “He can go.”
– Jeremy Barrett, Valla Beach, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on April 9, 2022.
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