Letters to
the editor

Wagging the dog

When “Aussies” break the law and are sent to prison, including murderers, rapists, drug dealers and child sex offenders, they are always released from prison at the end of their sentence, often on parole or, in some cases, an indefinite supervision order. Is it only ex-offender refugees and asylum seekers who are too dangerous to reside in the community, even under supervision? The attempts by the Albanese government to “re-incarcerate” refugees and asylum seekers is a case of the tail (the Coalition) wagging the dog (the government) at best, and blatantly racist at worst (Karen Middleton, “Dual nationals at dawn”, December 2-8).

– Allan Elliott, Northcote, Vic

No privacy

Madeline Gleeson’s heartfelt and powerful argument for the abolition of mandatory detention of asylum seekers (“The case against mandatory detention”, December 2-8) brought back horrific memories of my own encounters with the system. Among the worst was the case of a husband and wife held in the Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre in a single room with their two teenage daughters and two pre-teen sons. Making it worse was the family had fled to Australia from a Middle Eastern country with strict standards of modesty. The lack of privacy for all concerned was obviously a source of immense distress to the parents and, of course, their adolescent daughters, and would obviously cause harm and tension. The continuation of mandatory detention shames us all. 

– Juliet Flesch, Kew, Vic

Missed chances

Among the many irrefutable arguments against Australia’s “uniquely severe, arbitrary, and punitive” immigration detention system, as described by the Global Detention Project in Madeline Gleeson’s article, one glaring omission should give pointscoring politicians pause. If the fearmongers currently whipping up hysteria in parliament and the community were so concerned about threats to public safety, law and order, and national security, they could have relegislated appropriately decades ago, rather than wait for such an obviously inhumane and dangerous system to be ruled unlawful.

– Tor Larsen, Marrickville, NSW

Burnt is burnt

Royce Kurmelovs (“Inside the COP28 talks”, December 2-8) highlights Australian Conservation Foundation research showing “the 16 new fossil fuel projects the government has either already approved, or continues to support, will wipe out any [emissions reduction] gains made”. The same cognitive dissonance afflicts America. The US Inflation Reduction Act was supposed to address climate issues by ushering in an energy revolution. However, United States President Joe Biden seems set to approve mammoth gas exporting schemes that will be climatically disastrous. Biden may attempt to disown emissions exported overseas by emphasising the virtues of IRA domestic clean energy, but the atmosphere is indifferent as to where fossil fuels are burnt.

– Ian Bayly, Upwey, Vic

Nearly midnight 

John Hewson’s fair assessment of government efforts to transition to renewable energy stands in stark contrast to burgeoning mainstream media coverage that relentlessly prioritises the vacuous fearmongering of the opposition (“The new climate denial”, December 2-8). It is infuriating to witness the daily showcasing of Dutton’s divisive populism at the expense of actual news. The world is two minutes to midnight on climate policy. A mature opposition might consider bipartisanship instead of their laughable nuclear option with a clear agenda to prolong fossil foolery. The recent referendum debacle illustrates, however, that where there’s a chance of inflicting political damage, Dutton stands first in line and his sycophantic media allies hasten to assist.

– Alison Stewart, Riverview, NSW

Fighting old battles

“To spite one’s face” (Editorial, December 2-8) is an appealing lens through which to view the government’s refusal to drop the stage three tax cuts. But a metaphor with more explanatory power might be of generals fighting the last war. Labor’s reluctance to jettison Scott Morrison’s tax relief for the rich is not spiteful. It is fundamentally defensive and stems from two lessons that have been over-learned from recent elections. One: Julia Gillard’s claim “There will never be a carbon tax under the government I lead” apparently resulted in dire electoral blowback. Two: Bill Shorten took a suite of mild soak-the-rich policies to the 2019 election, and lost. Generals prepare for war by analysing earlier battles. Labor’s generals are unprepared to argue the case against this fiscal vandalism because they think breaking promises and taxing the rich resulted in battlefield calamities. 

– David Lisle, Mullumbimby, NSW

Avoiding the same mistake

The tragic loss of life in Israel and Palestine is heart-wrenching (World, December 2-8). The whole Middle East is tense, and an unjust war is raging in Ukraine. Without absolute justice, the Israel–Palestine conflict could be one of the flashpoints for a wider conflict or even a world war, resulting in a nuclear holocaust. We already witnessed the US abusing the 9/11 tragedy to wage an unjust war on Iraq, destroying a country based on false intelligence. The West must not make the same mistake of being mindlessly biased again. For decades, Palestinians have been left stateless in their land. The world must unite for a peaceful two-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side with dignity.

– Amtal Majeed Ahmed, Clyde North, Vic

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 December 9, 2023.

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