The most urgent reform
Kevin Rudd (May 21-27) asks of Labor, “What happens if you win?” Rhetorically he provides five challenges for Labor across foreign and domestic policy but closes with the need for media reform and described this as the most urgent reform of all. During the campaign, Labor experienced a media onslaught, effectively providing additional advertising for the Coalition and reinforcing Rudd’s concern. The High Court of Australia has determined the constitution implies a right to free speech necessary to ensure a vital democracy, but whether this also means systematic destruction of a political party’s credibility is another question. In protecting our democracy, the High Court’s judgement would surely assume that freedom of speech contained honest and fact-based journalism and vital debate. This was clearly missing from the Murdoch press during the election campaign, and we can now see it has also sustained the Coalition through a decade of power, during which time Australia has languished on important reforms. Perhaps Rudd’s concern is correct and “what happens if you win” includes early review of the failed Gillard attempt at media reform?
– Dr David Wilson, Newport, Queensland
An addition to Rudd’s list
Kevin Rudd asked “What happens if you win?” Well, Labor did win and we have to see soon what the new government decides to do. Rudd’s article includes the following five beneficial recommendations and then adds one more: Diversify the economy especially from fossil fuels to renewables, and value-adding manufacturing. Strengthen national security. Solve climate change by raising the 2030 emissions reduction target and specify methods for attaining it. Restore the social contract by government, increasing more ways to help the vulnerable. Progress the reconciliation process. Many of us would add protection for integrity, environment and refugees. In view of record high media ownership concentration here, Rudd concludes that dealing with that is the “most urgent reform of all”. However, I consider that it should just be added to his list as No. 6.
– Barbara Fraser, Burwood, Vic
Hope for an end to lies and denial
As the election vote count enters its final stages, it’s good to be able to reflect on where we were and how the future will change. Miracles do happen – this time with an undeniably positive outcome. Mike Seccombe’s useful list (“Cut out and keep: your guide to key seats”, May 14-20) felt like wishful thinking, but for the most part it’s now a reality. There’s hope that Australia may at last join the adults at the climate table, with strong support from independents and Greens pushing Labor to set and achieve more worthwhile targets. I applaud The Saturday Paper’s consistent efforts to emphasise the urgency of environmental matters, among competing priorities, in an otherwise barren local media landscape. We cannot escape the Morrison government’s legacy of lies and denial soon enough.
– Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale, Vic
Threat from private sector funding
The election was undoubtedly a catharsis for many editorial readers (Editorial, “Life inside a lie”, May 21-27), but I was left wondering whether the biggest existential threat was thereby averted. Only about 19 per cent of election funding is reportedly provided by the Commonwealth, leaving a crucial percentage to be determined by a private sector that is largely as foreign as it is unsentimental. Both of our major parties have become, in the words of former Western Australian premier Carmen Lawrence, “corporations”, with similar value systems and economic vulnerabilities. The most powerful of these corporations are in the fossil fuel sector, and are hardening their hardball for what could be the grand final. Our elected candidates have responded by portraying independent parliamentary candidates as threats to our culture, with the best of them largely mute.
– John Hayward, Weegena, Tas
An honest assessment
Congratulations on the editorial. The facts and assessment of Morrison and the LNP were needed well before election day so that voters had an honest and comprehensive exposure of “this cruel and bilious man”. Likewise, Karen Middleton’s experiences on the campaign trail (“Can Scott Morrison pull off another ‘miracle’ win”, May 21-27), with Morrison not taking questions and providing only scripted talking points. Unfortunately, I don’t think voters waited to read The Saturday Paper before voting.
– Sue Lasky, Soldiers Point, NSW
Why have the commentariat kept telling us the ALP has only been elected from opposition four times since 1945? It is true, but the Coalition has also only been elected from opposition four times since 1945! Incumbency has huge advantages, so governments usually only get voted out when they are seen to be tired and out of touch.
– Ian Lowe, Marcoola, Qld
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on May 28, 2022.
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