Letters to
the editor

Misplaced protections

Heartfelt thanks to Louise Milligan for her forensic and sympathetic article on the cases against George Pell that never went to court (“The child abuse cases for which George Pell was never tried”, January 14-20). Her own work interviewing survivors of sexual abuse by clergy has been so valuable in uncovering the depth and magnitude of horrors committed against these children and the poverty of our institutional responses to them, especially cover-ups by the church, and appalling treatment of them in court. As the law stands, it seems we treat anyone who makes an accusation of sexual assault as a criminal who can be excoriated by cross-examination, false accusation and interrogation, while the accused is afforded so many protections, including the right to remain silent.

– Freya Headlam, Glen Waverley, Vic

Vicious catch 22

I wept this week when reading Louise Milligan’s article. Those little boys, now grown men with shattered lives, are living the catch 22 of the effects of their childhood abuse. It’s such a great formula for the abuser: abuse the child, create an adult whose life is so shattered he won’t be believed. And, of course, it applies to little girls as much as to little boys. Forty years of practice as a clinical psychologist, including working with many people damaged by childhood sexual abuse, has left me with no answers to this ugly conundrum.

– Jennifer Flatt, Blackheath, NSW

Lost at sea

Louise Milligan’s moving article about the broken, red-eyed adults who, as children, were victims of abuse by Catholic clergy and later brutalised by the church’s attempts to deny culpability reminded me of Christ’s poignant words: “It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” (Luke 17:2) It might be more appropriate if Cardinal Pell were buried at sea than in the crypt of St Mary’s.

– David Clarke, Battery Point, Tas

Bad manners

The ground rule for the Voice referendum is for all Australians, no matter their political stripe, to join and contribute “in good faith”. Just as Julia Banks points out the Liberal–National Party’s intractability towards women and same-sex marriage (“It ends with respect”, January 14-20), the Liberals and Nationals have raced to the bottom with deceitful weapons of “bad faith”, for example, a lack of available “details” and “treating voters like mugs”. This referendum is a moment where good manners are required. Why is the LNP in such a hurry to sabotage it?

– Andrew Barnum, Meroo Meadow, NSW

Dutton’s lack of detail

It’s business as usual as Peter Dutton fails to disclose his position on the Voice while being misleadingly critical of the government for failing to provide “detail” on legislation that the same Peter Dutton could change if he were to become prime minister (“Raising the Voice”, January 14-20). Has he given up on that (possibly unattainable) dream? Remember how our backyards were at risk after Mabo and the sky was going to fall in if people of the same sex could marry?

– Richard Ure, Epping, NSW

Little change

Excellent editorial (“Finding the will”, January 14-20). In Australian politics we still express many of our opinions from a white Anglo-leaning, privileged, entitled and decidedly superior standing. We’re unable and unwilling to consider a more generous viewpoint towards those less fortunate than ourselves. Sadly, it’s still happening well into the 21st century. When will we consider others’ disastrous life circumstances and their ongoing plight? The glowing commentary on George Pell shows little has changed.

– Dorothy James, Burnley, Vic

Sound theory

I dispute the report of Royce Kurmelovs accusing the Productivity Commission (PC) of questionable modelling in its three-page report to government on electric vehicle uptake (“Stuck in neutral”, January 7-13); and the subsequent letter accusing the PC of bias (“Myopic report”, January 14-20). The PC’s report is a summary of more substantial PC climate advice circulated extensively to business (Productivity Commission: 5 Year Productivity Inquiry), prior to its submission to parliament in February 2023, which is ignored in Kurmelovs’ analysis. The PC’s advice to government on EVs is based on sound economic theory of “least cost abatement targets” with greatest impact on CO2 emissions. Their substantial marginal economic analyses show the pursuit of EV demand-side abatement strategies is currently too costly in CO2 reduction terms and more productive abatement options currently exist. The PC also emphasises the time for EV uptake will arrive when innovation reduces EV costs and supply-side economics increase purchase options. In doing so the PC states that EVs “will make an important contribution” to Australia’s decarbonisation (hardly bias!).

– David Wilson, Newport, Qld

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 January 21, 2023.

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