Letters

Letters to
the editor

No vision, just destruction

Mike Seccombe’s analysis of the “Get Clover” plot (“How to kill off a lord mayor”, August 23-29). has highlighted the sheer gall and hypocrisy of her opponents. As a resident of the City of Sydney for the past 24 years, I can only laud her qualities as a benchmark for those who wish to replace her. Tell us your vision for the city, call meetings to listen to the residents, present your long-term plans and the stages in which you might implement them, tell us how you will undertake urban improvement. The ability to tap into the electoral mood at local, state and federal levels has been lost over the past two decades of focus groups, recycled spin and corruption. Instead of seeing Moore as a role model for political success we have the dirty tricks parade of wreckers in full flight. We have the best and worst of democracy in action here – may the best triumph.

– John Nicol, Surry Hills, NSW

Business as usual

Many City of Sydney residents are complaining about the changes to the voting system at the next council election. They only have themselves to blame. Their inability to cast their vote the way Alan Jones, News Corp, the Shooters and Fishers Party and some NSW Liberals told them to will now lead to the electoral rules being changed. It was made abundantly clear that they should not vote for Clover Moore in 2012 but few heeded their advice. Instead of the Clover-haters standing a credible alternative candidate for lord mayor in the 2016 election, they plan to move the goal posts. There is no doubt that by giving each resident one vote and each business two votes the aim of removing Moore is more easily achieved. Unfortunately it will also mean local government will no longer be of the people, by the people and for the people. We can now all experience government of business, by business and for business. 

– David Bartlett, Surry Hills, NSW

A matter of definition

Dingoes or part dingoes are regularly and conveniently termed “wild dogs” by farmers (“Dogs on the lamb”, Alana Rosenbaum, August 23-29). This gives farmers an excuse to slaughter the “dogs” at will and without any discussion about their right as a native animal to exist in their native landscape with the protections that other native species have. This poses the question: what defines a feral animal? If it is defined as an animal that is introduced to Australia and that damages its environment, then surely farmed animals such as sheep and cattle must come within that category. It seems as humans we choose to apply a definition to something only in terms that will benefit us, and those definitions are frequently and conveniently inconsistent. 

– Judy Hungerford, Crows Nest, NSW

Knowing when to shoot

I do not own a Moleskine, but I do own two centrefire rifles, a welder, and a dog, and I recently shot a dingo on a property near Tenterfield. My grazier uncle and that side of the family congratulated me on my marksmanship. My ecologist friends castigated me, citing research that I had myself read suggesting stable dingo populations suppressed foxes and domestic dogs. I responded with stories about dingoes and sheep. A few months later I found myself with the crosshairs over another dingo. I let him go (cattle country, no sheep) with only a photo through the scope – dog and crosshairs – to show for it. The old man was not pleased. “Don’t show your Uncle Noel that!” I look forward to a considered debate on the control of wild dogs.

– Andrew Duguid, Deagon, Qld

It’s a MAD world

How right you are, Hamish McDonald, to spotlight the high risk that comes with Australia’s deepening military alliance with the US (“Everyone’s sights on missile defence plans”, August 16-22). Australia’s imminent integration with US plans for a sea-based ballistic missile defence system surely should be the straw to break the back of public complacency about the US alliance. That we and our superpower ally are prepared to develop a first-strike capability is, literally, madder than MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction). Once a nuclear power has first-strike capability, any possibility that nuclear deterrence has actually worked is lost. Far too much is happening within the US-Australian military relationship that is not getting a decent public airing. The public consultation period for the 2015 defence white paper is now under way, an ideal time to ignite the comprehensive debate on national security the Australian public has needed for decades. Please, please, Hamish, give us more! 

– Julia Marlow, Berkeley, NSW 

Freedom in speaking out

While Leigh Sales’ lucid interview with John Micklethwait (“Democracy on trial”, August 16-22) raised valid concerns, it skimmed over three points. First, criticism arrives through information, dissent, and freedom of the press. People lacking such liberties might be inclined to praise, even adore, Big Brothers such as Putin or Kim Jong-un, since tyrants can control media to hide errors or crimes. Second, disappointment with Western governments does not necessarily equate to dismissal of democracy itself, nor preference for dictatorship. Third, testimony of the oppressed is tainted by threats of imprisonment or other forms of persecution. Complaining about our parliamentarians, far from heralding systematic decay, signifies robustness. We grumble because we can. From rallies to protest songs, petitions, donkey votes, cartoons, tweets, latte shrugs and the Westminster whinge, we revel in disapprobation. Disillusionment is the luxury of idealism. 

– Louisa John-Krol, Clayton South, Vic

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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Aug 30, 2014. Subscribe here.