Letters to
the editor


Rick Morton (“Exclusive: Cabinet documents show funding for new hospital staff refused”, September 24-30) exposes confidential documents that confirm politicians like shiny new buildings and ribbons to cut rather than designing an effective service. We have just had the biggest health emergency in modern times. We have an ageing population. The truth is that any efficiency in health services will be at the margins. When will we banish the phrase “efficiency gains” from any budget? It uses positive language that simply translates to loss of service. We need to recognise that lower taxes equals poorer services. The politicians pull the wool over our eyes and
we vote for those who do. Shame on us all.

– D. Robertson, Yarralumla, ACT

Private pain

Rick Morton’s article on the unfunded medical infrastructure filled me with dread. It’s straight out of the neo-conservative playbook: spend millions of taxpayer dollars on infrastructure, underfund its operations guaranteeing failure and then flog it off to private equity.

– Timothy Ashton, Katamatite, Vic

Important updates

While pondering John Hewson’s global warming article (“Global warning”, September 24-30), it occurred to me to ask why we don’t have regular, perhaps monthly, Australian updates on our progress towards our climate change targets. After all, we had daily Covid-19 reports throughout the heavy infectious periods. Nations around the world shared their statistics. Global warming is even more life-threatening. Consider the current high level of deaths and suffering in Pakistan and Somalia. Inevitably there is much more suffering to come, and affecting not just humans. Time to open our eyes and minds, stop making empty target promises and actually take meaningful action.

– Robin Jones, Buderim, Qld

Paralysis of will

John Hewson makes a compelling argument for urgent climate action, concluding with an appropriate question for governments. Hewson’s question itself is telling. Humanity has placed financial value on almost all aspects of our lives such that money does the talking. Fortunately, the projected economic cost of inaction on climate change is now substantially more than the cost of action. But even so, the daily media frenzy, fossil fuel lobby and power of misinformation continue to paralyse political will. Subsequently, we citizens must speak up and fight for the priceless natural world that is inextricably linked to our survival.

– Amy Hiller, Kew, Vic

Valuable labour

Denham Sadler’s report (“Refugee payments cut”, September 24-30) is yet another episode in the long suffering of Australian refugee Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) holders. The five-year SHEV was designed to provide genuine refugee protection needs in exchange for three-and-a-half years’ work or study in a designated regional area. Many SHEV holders work in regions that are not designated for SHEV. Many others face the outcome of poor employment opportunities in designated areas, with the real possibility of employee exploitation. Refugees also compete for regional work with international backpackers and students, plus Pacific seasonal workers. There are already well-documented reports of exploitation of these latter groups, who are in a much better negotiating position than refugees. So, three-and-a-half years of regional work will not be an easy task, nor guaranteed, and is a very good reason as to why not many have aspired to non-humanitarian visas. In 2011, Professor Graeme Hugo, a leading Australian demographer, completed a report for the minister of Immigration on the high level of economic, social and humanitarian integrity of refugees. Why, then, is Australia not making better use of this valuable labour cohort under permanent residence conditions?

– David Wilson, Newport, Qld

Humanity comes last

The article “Some news since the Queen died” (Martin McKenzie-Murray, September 24-30) set out a litany of inhumanity from the Russian invasion of Ukraine through natural disasters, slavery, big business rorts and so on. I thought the final paragraph said it all – NASA released revised objectives for its Moon to Mars mission. “We’re helping to steward humanity’s global movement to deep space.”  What humanity?

– Margaret McPherson, The Gap, Qld

More codes broken

Your editorial (“Breaking the code”, September 24-30) could just as easily have been “Breaching the occupational health and safety legislation”. The alleged behaviour by management in the Hawthorn Football Club workplace towards an employee certainly falls into the category of bullying. Why on earth is this being left to the AFL to manage instead of the OHS regulator, WorkSafe Victoria?

– Robert Walker, Inverell, 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 October 1, 2022.

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