During the Delta outbreak Australians responded quite well: masking up, working from home, social distancing, being locked down and adhering to border controls. Governance of the problem was a daily lecture from premiers, chief medical officers and epidemiological commentators with persistent reinforcement of protective actions. Now Martin McKenzie-Murray (“Next Covid wave: ‘The government is gaslighting the community’ ”, July 23-29) paints a grim picture of government having “gone to ground” and actively avoiding actions of governance. This situation exists as we approach record levels of new variant cases leading to ramping of ambulances, emergency department blockages, and confounding of aged care. The vocabulary now comprises operational concepts of retreat, confusion, absence, inaction and, best of all, “gaslighting”. This situation contrasts directly with responsibility, clarity, cohesion, communication and accountability – the operational vocabulary of good governance. Our politicians seem to have lost the plot on governance as the fundamental process of planning and the need to act. What is now happening is not an act of ignorance, for we learned much during Delta. It is an act of sloppiness.
– Dr David Wilson, Newport, Queensland
Nyadol Nyuon’s article (“The boundaries of civility and freedom”, July 23-29) is priceless in its articulation not only of exposing the hypocrisy of many of the powerful and ruthless thugs in our society, but the incendiary way in which they try to frame a given situation – for example, Peter Dutton and African gangs. As regards civility and freedom, perhaps one aspect not mentioned is that of anger. We need to have a healthy anger when exposing the disproportionate power and its impact.
– Judith Morrison, Nunawading, Vic
A moral question
Nyadol Nyuon’s excellent analysis of Peter Dutton’s record of appalling conduct over two decades in public office calls into question the morality of those who elected him leader of the Liberal Party. Dutton is the messiah of the land infested with Coalition climate change deniers and those in that party lacking attributes of intelligence and civility. Sussan Ley trots sneeringly behind him, uselessly attempting to preserve the honour of the myth that human activity has little to do with catastrophic climate change. Together they are going nowhere, looking confused but nevertheless intrigued by the emptiness of what they’ve left behind.
– Graham Rabe, Perth, WA
Your editorial (“Drug dealer’s defence”, July 23-29) highlights Dr Bob Brown’s insightful question as to whether the Albanese government is for the “environment or the Labor Party?” Labor answers that they are sticking to their 43 per cent emissions reduction by 2030 target plus continuing new fossil fuels. And Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek insists that reforms will “take years to turn around”. But climate science insists that the next three years are critical for emergency action, including fast decarbonising, no new fossil fuels and massive protection of forests. Also, we should increase our contribution to the UN Green Climate Fund to speed poorer countries to clean energy. Can Labor and the new parliament see the extreme urgency and agree on the science? That is the leading question.
– Barbara Fraser, Burwood, Vic
Closer scrutiny needed
The Richard Denniss interview of Joseph Stiglitz (“Future progressive”, July 23-29) left me wondering when we can expect the future. With income inequality steadily increasing along with offshore corporate profits, you have to wonder what our supposedly sovereign government is up to. How did foreign corporations come to control the seemingly unfettered rights to so many of Australia’s resources? Do Australia’s political parties have a chronic debt problem arising from their reliance on the very biggest players? Should we have some truly independent fiscal scrutiny and control of domestic financial matters? Do our political parties deserve the trust that they all unreservedly insist they deserve, despite all evidence? “Future progressive” suggests that the democratic values suggested by Stiglitz could still be seen as mere marketing slogans by many, especially in our executive branches.
– John Hayward, Weegena, Tas
Martin McKenzie-Murray’s article (“Excess all areas”, July 23-29) is fascinating. Who would have known we can eat our way to glory … or not. I am incredulous that so much eating can occur in competition. George Shea seems to have found his calling, or created the opportunity for it to flourish. James Webb too. And as the author references the “arc of America’s history” and where it bends, we are reminded of the great contradictions that exist within that society, as well as in our own. It was a thoughtful, beautifully constructed article that encourages us to think about all that is weird and wonderful, strange and extraordinary, or not.
– Christine Kerr, Marrickville, NSW
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 July 30, 2022.
For almost a decade, The Saturday Paper has published Australia’s leading writers and thinkers. We have pursued stories that are ignored elsewhere, covering them with sensitivity and depth. We have done this on refugee policy, on government integrity, on robo-debt, on aged care, on climate change, on the pandemic.
All our journalism is fiercely independent. It relies on the support of readers. By subscribing to The Saturday Paper, you are ensuring that we can continue to produce essential, issue-defining coverage, to dig out stories that take time, to doggedly hold to account politicians and the political class.
There are very few titles that have the freedom and the space to produce journalism like this. In a country with a concentration of media ownership unlike anything else in the world, it is vitally important. Your subscription helps make it possible.
Select your digital subscription