Committing to promises
Rick Morton’s “‘Negligent in the extreme’: Labor inherits crises across portfolios” (June 11-17) had me contemplating an unlikely possibility – the coming national integrity commission policing election promises. The example of there being no legislation drafted regarding the promised expansion of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card triggered this thought. Could the practice of requiring verified costings of election promises be extended to requiring parties to substantiate their commitment to their policy promises – draft legislation, a white or green paper? For the governing party, the relevant minister could be required to sign a declaration that an announced policy has that sort of substance behind it. For the opposition parties, the leader could be required to make such a declaration. Then, after the election, if it’s revealed that there was nothing but air behind a major election promise, the declarant could be hauled before a national integrity and corruption commission for defrauding the Australian people.
– Roy Reekie, Preston, Vic
Not fixed yet
Over the last week we had extensive media coverage of the Nadesalingam family and their return to Biloela. While it might seem like a welcome good news story, the resulting glow of self-satisfaction should be vanquished by the article written by Mehdi Ali (“Defending dignity”, June 11-17), who points out that we don’t do enough for those presently incarcerated – including whistleblowers such as Julian Assange – or refugees in Australia. This must include those displaced by floods or fire and the Indigenous people who have become refugees in their own land as a result of our economic policies that allow native title to be extinguished for fossil fuel projects. The absurdity of this action should be obvious because the emissions from these projects will make the new government’s target of emission reduction impossible and the hike in global temperatures will become, if it’s not already, the largest driver of refugees, including in Australia, as life in our countries becomes impossible.
– Don Owers, Dudley, NSW
While John Hewson enthusiastically puts the case for a biogas industry (“Never let a crisis go to waste”, June 11-17), it is hardly a short-term fix. The main attraction of biogas, if Hewson’s figures are correct, is its lower carbon footprint and its potential to substitute for fossil gas. This could lessen the need for new gas fields such as Scarborough, that threaten the culturally unique petroglyphs at Murujuga, one of the oldest and largest rock art sites on the planet and described by traditional custodian Raelene Cooper as “a place of healing and a place of togetherness” (Jesse Noakes, “Out of gas”, June 11-17). Sadly, given Resources minister Madeleine King’s declaration of Labor’s “absolute” support for Scarborough, it seems that, while the climate wars may have ended, the war on climate is still only half-hearted.
– Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Vic
Shame and joy
Alison Croggon’s “Agony and ecstasy” (June 11-17) was dance criticism at its finest. It exposed the searing necessity for, and ability of, art-based theatre to capture global and national shame – and lift our spirit. Speaking truth, giving hope. The performances in her gaze highlighted the courage of solo artists and the necessity for mature collaborative theatre processes. The polish of work devised over a long period of time reflects the “listening” and thought that underscores its making. Croggon equally exposed the risk art criticism can play in crucifying the ephemeral joy of performance. Her article exemplified the imagination we must all bring to art theatre to keep that joy alive. Well done. May Marrugeku be nationally broadcast on ABC and NITV when we hold the Voice referendum.
– Elisabeth Burke, Potts Point, NSW
The often incomprehensible and gritty dynamics through which a family navigates their bonds is poignantly conveyed by Gabrielle Carey (“Unholy trinity”, June 11-17). From a childhood rich in possibility, a world of twisted expectations overwhelmed the son; his sister, despairing of losing him, wanted only his survival, while a mother’s love sought every avenue of keeping them all in one piece. The greatest story ever told.
– -Pam Connor, South Brighton, SA
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on June 18, 2022.
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