Letters to
the editor

A mediaeval relic is bang on 

Thank you for the excellent, well-composed, beautifully written article by Martin McKenzie-Murray regarding George Pell’s lack of empathy, even understanding, of child abuse (“The blindness of George Pell”, August 30-September 5). Regarding both Pell and the Roman Church, Martin’s column just says it all. He is absolutely right: “...the papacy is a residual element of mediaeval belief, a historical aberration aggressively maintained long after we abandoned a feudal conception of this world”. What a brilliant statement.

– Lynne Redknap, Robina, Qld

Pell not knocking on heaven’s door

I’m not a believer but if there is a heaven, it’s a fair bet Cardinal Pell isn’t going there.

– John Davies, Kambah, ACT

Italians know how to protect their flocks 

I was appalled to read in The Saturday Paper that sheep farmers are still losing lambs to wild dogs (“Dogs on the lamb”, Alana Rosenbaum, August  23-29). Free-range chicken farmers use Italian maremma dogs to protect their chickens. They are even used to protect penguins. But these dogs were bred originally to protect lambs and sheep. Why are sheep farmers continuing to ignore the fact that you need this specific breed of dog to stop dogs and other predators?

– Ann de Paul, Armadale, Vic

Dingoes, like ferals, shape the landscape

Not that I entirely disagree with Judy Hungerford in her letter, but dingoes were introduced into Australia – about 4000 years ago – and they probably did damage their environment, at least to the extent of causing the extinction of the thylacine on mainland Australia.

– Wayne Robinson, Kingsley, WA

A lord mayor we’re lucky to have

In September 2006, Clover Moore attended a small community function to present certificates to a group that had graduated from a joint TAFE school project for students deemed educationally and socially “at risk”. Many local community organisations had been integral to the success of the project, as had been the input of Councillor Marcelle Hoff. On that occasion, Clover Moore not only presented the awards, but stayed on afterwards and spoke to every student and their parents in turn. She posed for a group photograph but then asked the students if they would like individual photos with her for their families. She conveyed genuine interest and stayed for much longer than was formally required. I thought she was fantastic. She had the kind of charisma that lit up the room and helped make the event for these young people truly celebratory. The city of Sydney is fortunate to have her and her continuing efforts to build and strengthen local communities. As for right-wing opportunists like Robert Borsak, someone needs to remind him that elephants never forget. So the next time he takes his lethal boy toy to hunt one, I hope a big bull elephant gets him and tells the rest of the herd, “It was awesome. He did not know what hit him.” Karma, Borsak, karma.

– Barbara Bee, Bawley Point, NSW

Team Australia struggling to be seen 

Clem Bastow rightly observes that more vulnerable people slip through the cracks (“Infrequently asked questions”, August 23-29). In my research and community legal practice with people who have complex social, economic and health problems, I am concerned that the cracks are widening. Former justice Ron Merkel recently commented, “Most governments are well meaning and full of zeal, but lack understanding. Until they understand the problems they are solving, we’ll never solve them.” I must agree. Your report that wealthy and corporates are buying access to our politicians (“Politics’ hidden millions”, Sophie Morris, August 30-September 5) flies in the face of true participatory democracy. Social exclusion and alienation can harm a cohesive society and challenge the prime minister’s envisaged Team Australia. Governments need to ensure those who are disadvantaged and vulnerable have a voice too. This can inform and ensure effective policies. Their increasing invisibility due to use of stereotypes rather than seeking their lived human experience is my key concern. Sidelining evidence-based research and favouring power and wealth over connection with those working with disadvantage and people experiencing disadvantage can only lead to policies that are remote, unjust and counterproductive. Such pathways are critical if insights are to be gained and problems solved for public good.

– Dr Liz Curran, Australian National University

Senate better get it RET 

Like most Australians, I am very concerned about the adverse effect upon the world and future generations from climate change, when we have a federal government that is doing little if anything to allay our concerns. For instance, when we can have free sunlight and winds producing our electricity, why do we persist with coal and its emission, which further the problems with climate change? So, when the government wants to do away with the Renewable Energy Target, I plead with Labor, the Greens and particularly the crossbenchers to block any such moves. You would certainly want to join this team
for Australia.

– Jim Banks, Pottsville Beach, 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 Sep 6, 2014.

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