As Israel continues its relentless bombardment of Gaza and its civilians, the death toll mounts and traumatised, displaced Gazans face the risk of starvation and disease, Penny Wong calls on Israel to exercise restraint and observe international law (Karen Middleton, “Penny Wong on the Israel–Hamas war”, November 18-24). She condemns Hamas for indiscriminate rocket fire on cities and civilians but fails to condemn the Israel Defense Forces’ actions. There is no military solution to this war. Unless the underlying causes of the conflict are addressed, there will be no lasting peace. As a first step, the Australian government must call for an immediate, sustained ceasefire, a hostage exchange and the immediate free flow of aid into Gaza to relieve the catastrophic humanitarian situation. Only a commitment to the self-determination of Palestinians, equal rights and sustained safety and decent lives for both Palestinians and Israelis will put an end to this interminable conflict.
– Angela Smith, Clifton Hill, Vic
Sophistry is nothing new in our mediocre politics, but it becomes Orwellian when a government unashamedly asserts that the 57th item under the heading “List of Recommendations”, with the introductory sentence “The following is a list of 57 recommendations”, is not a recommendation of the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme (Rick Morton, “The robodebt response”, November 18-24). The Coalition won’t be calling out the Labor government or loudly advocating for the implementation of recommendation 57 any time soon. The major parties just don’t get why our faith in political leaders and the institutions of government is at an all-time low.
– Clinton McKenzie, Cootamundra, NSW
Cover-up a disgrace
Rick Morton says that had the documents referred to in recommendation 57 from the robodebt royal commission been released under the Freedom of Information Act, “it is possible hundreds of thousands of people could have been saved the illegal campaign of fake debt-raising” that ruined lives and triggered numerous suicides. The decision by the Albanese government not to acknowledge the recommendation is a disgraceful cover-up reminiscent of the much-maligned Morrison regime.
– Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin, ACT
Give and take
An arsonist offers sympathetic generosity: “Hi! I am the one who torched your home, but you are welcome to live at my place.” A heretic apologises: “I know that I have destroyed all that you hold sacred, but you can worship with me now.” A developer expounds compensatory largesse: “I have cleaned away all the messy trees and stuff. I know the animals and things have gone, too, so I’m going to build a zoo at my place for you to come and visit. You can also watch David Attenborough and there’s heap of stuff on YouTube.” Mike Seccombe is on the money (“The art of the Tuvalu deal”, November 18-24).
– Derek Hedgcock, Emerald, Qld
Into their arms
Paul Bongiorno (“A Broadbent church”, November 18-24) would give the impression Peter Dutton has, or thinks he has, the ability to make the Albanese government a single-termer. Sadly, many Labor voters think the Labor government seems to be doing that all by itself. Too many of its decisions are poorly judged, fail to live up to either Labor ideals or public expectations, or are just plain stupid. To name just a few: AUKUS; obstinacy on the stage three tax cuts; the prosecution of whistleblowers; the gutless deals with the opposition on legislation, such as the anti-corruption commission and refugee issues. In its apparent desperation to avoid the support of the Greens, the teals and the thoughtful independents, it is instead forcing its supporters into their arms. That said, a Dutton-led opposition has no chance at the next election. It will take years to erase memories of the incompetence, cruelty, shamelessness and venality of the worst government in Australia’s history.
– Richard Creswick, Darwin, NT
Change at the top
Aarathi Krishnan (“Life in the time of polycrisis”, November 18-24) captures our urgent need for world-changing leadership and foresees the hope that such leadership could inspire. Democracy’s strength – ruling with the consent of the majority – can also be its Achilles heel. Short election cycles encourage myopic thinking and populist policies, egged on by news-hungry media. The world we leave for future generations will be shaped by our leaders’ actions now. Democracy needs inspirational leaders to catalyse major change. The multiple crises that we face need to be tackled with a leader’s compelling vision. If our leaders cannot provide this inspiration, major change will be left to drift.
– Chris Young, Surrey Hills, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on November 25, 2023.
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