Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis
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POLITICIANS AND GOVERNMENT
Our duty to get involved in the political system
John Cummings (Letters, 9/11) correctly identifies the largesse available to the current crop of seat warmers taking up politics as a “career”. It dovetails into the reason for branch stacking in all parties. Nearly 30 years ago, I wrote about how these “stacked” members do nothing in the parties “but will come out en masse for an internal election or preselection. They owe their allegiances to one warlord or another, and the purpose of the stack, to win preselection for their candidate, becomes easy” (The Age, 27/7/94). This of course leads to sub-standard politicians who one day will embarrass the party and, as we have seen recently, the country.Nearly
40 years ago, I went into the Parliament to serve the public after 20 years of journalism on three continents. Today many MPs come straight from university into a political office through a faction and have no real life skills. But the ultimate blame must go to the public who have demonised politics to the extent that many are wary to participate. But if you do not utilise your democratic rights and get involved in the political system, you have no right to complain about the sub standard-crew you elect.
Pete Steedman, Heidelberg
Oh for the days when we had second-rate leaders
In his book, The Lucky Country (published 1964), Donald Horne wrote “Australia is a lucky country run by second-rate people who share in the luck”. Given the state of politics, Australia would become a much better place if we went back to second-rate people.
Basil Theophilos, Castlemaine
So tired from the spin from our political parties
Memo to all parties: please do not offer me hope. I do not want to hope that we will reduce carbon emissions or manage diplomatic relationships or survive trade wars, pandemics and corruption. I want to know that we will. Do not shower me with spin or a “washing machine cycle” of lies and political slogans. Tell me your plans and back them up with targets and rationale. I am a simple person. I want faith in my leaders. I want charity. I am weary from hoping – and if anyone can offer wisdom, that would be good too.
Suzanne Miles, Frankston South
Voters must focus on more than tax cuts at elections
As a career public servant I have watched the public service go from a valued part of society where folk could have a career contributing to the public good to a perceived public burden. Politicians have made careers “cutting red tape” and the voting public have lapped up the resulting tax cuts. We now have a public service that is barely capable of managing base load, let alone a pandemic. If folk want a public service with capacity to deal with their needs, they will need to vote for more than tax cuts at the coming elections.
Jeff Moran, Bacchus Marsh
Seeking bipartisan support for caring policies
In my 70-plus years on this earth, I have never seen such an adversarial lot of elected representatives, both state and federal. They refuse to be held account for their mistakes and actions.
Pollution control, an absolute minimum income survival level for people and proper health care accessible by all should be minimum bipartisan mandates. The Scandinavian model where everyone is looked after is one to be envied. Vote one for more independents, the only way to sort our lot out.
Ian Anderson, Surrey Hills
A time when we had a mesmerising prime minister
Watching Paul Keating at the Press Club was like being at the Sydney Theatre Company watching The Wharf Review with Jonathan Biggins in the lead role. The theatre of the event was mesmerising with the grand master holding court – “Britain, an old theme park slipping into the Atlantic”. Our politics miss Keating 26 years later.
Margaret Raffle, Keilor East
Stop beating drums of war
Congratulations and thank you to Stuart Rollo for his excellent piece – “Lest we forget the cost of war as China hawks beat their drums” (Opinion, 11/11). Remembrance Day is a day for solemn reflection on the cost of war, not for jingoistic drum beating and idealisation of the brutal consequences of warmongering. Veterans know the tragedy of war; let us hope that for once we take heed of their experience and reflect on what war has cost this country.
Lorel Thomas, Blackburn South
Those who are forgotten
Good on Tony Wright – “Herbert fought in two wars, but there was no land for him” (The Age, 11/11) – for reminding us on Remembrance Day that we do not remember those of the Indigenous people who served and suffered for Australia, only to be forgotten on their return home. May we not forget.
Doris LeRoy, Altona
As always, Tony Wright writes an excellent article. The piece about Herbert Lovett is heartbreaking as it reveals how appallingly he was treated in his quest for a piece of land for his family. The fact that his application in 1945 for a farm, after he had served for the second time, was never answered and that every farm went to a white ex-serviceman is appalling.
I sincerely hope that his son, Uncle Johnny Lovett, is at last listened to by the federal government. Many thanks, Tony Wright, for such an informative and positive piece. But such a negative view of the federal government, past and present.
Susan Wood, Southbank
Many deserve our honour
Herbert Lovett, what an inspirational man. He was one among many we have effectively abused when we should have been honouring them and rewarding their sacrifice.
Elizabeth Morris, Kennington
Urgent SOS from schools
As if principals and senior teachers did not have enough on their plates, they have now been served the task of contact tracing whenever a positive case appears at their school. Government support is nowhere to be seen, as staff must make hundreds of phone calls and send many emails to determine which students (and often staff) must isolate for between seven and 14 days.
Nearing two years of teachers constantly pivoting their teaching programs, and responding to growing issues regarding the mental health of young people, these additional administrative burdens are a real kick in the teeth. Save our staff, Education Minister James Merlino. Send help.
Tim Webster, Brunswick East
Mask up and distance
The mind boggles – “Cup party guests asked to get tested” (Sport, 9/11). Why weren’t the people who attended the celebrations wearing masks? They have been shown to be indoors, dancing and in close contact with others. They could have been facing a cluster event.
Wendy Poulier, Ferntree Gully
World’s most vulnerable
Steven Hamilton and Richard Holden (Opinion, 8/11) are wrong. Children are nowhere near the final battle. An enormous proportion of the world’s population at far greater risk from coronavirus than Australia’s children remains unable to access any vaccines at all.
Samuel McMahon, Parkville
Certain members of Victoria Police should move into the 21st century – “IBAC probes claims police shared new Laidley photo” (The Age, 11/11). Their distasteful, homophobic attitude towards Dani Laidley is a disgrace and can be compared to that of racism. It must be dealt with in an appropriate way. These police members are unfit to serve in a force where understanding and tolerance should be a given.
Barbara Rozenes, Southbank
A matter of deterrence
Paul Keating says that by Australia going down the path of AUKUS and future nuclear-powered submarines, we are moving our posture from defence to attack. I suggest that these moves are purely to deter any potential aggressor and to make it think twice about the huge damage that it may incur by its actions. Paul Keating’s analysis is way off the mark.
Tim Nolan, Brighton
Lagging behind world …
When Prime Minister Scott Morrison says we can rely on “can-do capitalism” he is absolving himself, and all of us, from any responsibility or action. It is a lack of leadership and a lack of policy. It is out of step with the rest of the world. Compare it to yesterday’s statement by the United States and China: “We need to think big and feel responsible”.
Craig Dowling, Fitzroy North
… and behind business
Who thought of the “can-do capitalism” slogan for climate change Scott Morrison has announced? Not satisfied to allow the corporate and general business world to organically move ahead with its own plans on renewable energy, the Prime Minister wants to claim them as his own and make it ideological. I assume he thinks he is their natural champion and leader. He forgets that they left him behind at the station many moons ago.
Ian Hollingworth, Caulfield East
The problem with carbon
Does the government appreciate that coal is carbon that has been captured and stored in the ground? Is it really suggesting that we should reduce our carbon emissions by burning it and then try to recapture the carbon from the atmosphere to pump it back into the ground?
Mark Martakis, Melbourne
Our ‘leaders’ prepare
The election theatre has opened. Scott Morrison is already on stage spouting his simple and often meaningless lines, while Anthony Albanese is still in the dressing room wondering what to wear, when to front the audience and what script to use.
Les Jones, Fitzroy North
Our own EV industry
Volkswagen, the “people’s car”, came into being in Germany in the late 1930s. At the time cars were relatively new technology, very expensive and thus very few owned one. It was clear to the government that private enterprise could not produce one at a price that the hoi polloi could afford. The state stepped in with subsidies and a purchase payback scheme: the Beetle was born.
Australia could and should do likewise with an electric vehicle and public charging stations. It is precisely the industry that those (few) who currently work in coal could transition to. Furthermore it would generate numerous flow-on jobs and economic benefits. We just need a leader with vision.
Maxine Hardinge, Clunes
Importance of universities
Has someone pointed out to the Prime Minister that if he wants some amazing future technology to get our emissions down to net zero, he had better start funding universities properly? Where does he think this technology will come from? His government’s treatment of the tertiary sector has been deplorable (no JobKeeper, progressive cuts to funding) so I hope he can join the dots and realise that we really need healthy, thriving universities.
Kylie Marty, Northcote
Building for our future
The nation needs more than marketing hype like “can-do capitalism” and banal utterances from our Prime Minister. He seems to believe the private sector is solely up to the task on climate change, which may be just as well as this visionless government has an abysmal track record in areas of major policy development and implementation.
There are occasions when government intervention is required as was demonstrated with COVID-19 and the need to sustain the economy through the injection of taxpayer funds. Furthermore, but for a publicly funded health system, mortality rates would have been much higher. We need leadership and sound policy formulation by governments to provide the foundations for our future.
Anne Lyon, Camberwell
ALP, happy in opposition
You will not hear any trenchant criticism about anything from the elected “opposition”. That is left to retired prime ministers. It is hard not to get the impression that Labor does not want to win government. After all, opposition is a good job with no responsibility and excellent superannuation. Kowtow to Rupert Murdoch, agree with nearly everything the government proposes, have no issue with rorts and corruption, and elect a leader who cannot raise a sweat about anything or string two coherent sentences together.
John Laurie, Riddells Creek
The towers we don’t want
We got rid of the Gas and Fuel buildings in the 1990s, now there are plans to build more of them – “$25b towers plan to link city to MCG” (The Age, 10/10). The lord mayor, in backing the development of these monstrosities, should have a rethink about what this hideousness would mean to Melbourne in the future.
Sylvia Kappadais, East Ivanhoe
A liveable dimension
Building a major residential district over the rail tracks east of Federation Square feels like a great idea in principle, and there are also other rail and road spaces that are suitable for such fill-in developments that may help to combat outer urban sprawl. But the towers as depicted in the article are a monstrosity that will suffocate the area. How about waiving the billions in air-right payments against a height limitation to, say, eight storeys, to keep it at a liveable dimension?
Ralph Böhmer, St Kilda West
Education and balance
Thank you, Dr David Hastie, for the erudite and thought-provoking article on the history curriculum (Opinion, 8/11). I think I get what you are saying and I will happily pay for you to present a two-hour version to our education ministers in the hope some of them might get it too. Hooray for balanced discourse that has the capacity to emancipate.
Ian Taylor, Northcote
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
The world has recognised the PM’s net-zero plan for the do-zero plan that it really is.
Niko Melaluka, Fitzroy North
Australia left behind and left out.
Jean Andrews, Cheltenham
Morrison is following the science … of the opinion pollsters.
Kyle Matheson, Mont Albert
So Morrison is endorsing EVs. Has he had a shocking religious experience?
Jane Taylor, Newport
The Marshall Islands (11/11): the mouse that roared.
Glenise Michaelson, Montmorency
Morrison’s policies are full of holes: large holes for burying carbon and more large holes for digging it up as coal.
Penelope Buckley, Kew East
The US and China can come to agreement for the greater good before the Liberals and Nationals can – 2021 is still full of surprises.
Andrew Crane, Richmond
Ironic. The call for no more “don’t do” government comes from a “won’t do” anything PM.
Jon Buckeridge, Brighton
And we vote them in. Politicians’ accountability needs an overhaul now.
Christine Hammett, Richmond
Career politicians? It’s more like a family business these days.
Eric Butcher, Eltham
Morrison: marketing man first, prime minister second.
Rosemary Lithgow, Maryborough
Paul Keating (11/11): the 21st century’s Neville Chamberlain.
David Francis, Ivanhoe
Keating says China won’t take Taiwan with force. So China will make it an offer it can’t refuse. What a relief for the Taiwanese.
Murray Horne, Cressy
Keating: intelligent and eloquent.
Ian Maddison, Parkdale
Perish the thought of retiring Jeremy (10/11). I always look forward to my dose of Zits for the day.
Alan Fancourt, Werribee
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