Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis
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AUSTRALIA AND THE WORLD
Critical global problems require global solutions
Your article details how Scott Morrison will call on our global allies to buttress Australia against an increasingly aggressive China (The Age, 9/6). It illustrates that he understands that, alone, we cannot have much influence but if we join with other countries, we can achieve mutually desirable outcomes.
At the same time, Mr Morrison rebuffs calls from our global allies to join with them on combating climate change. Ignoring the fact that climate change requires a global response is like driving a horse and buggy onto a freeway. Mr Morrison, in his buggy, insists he wants to go at his own pace while the rest of the world zooms past us into a carbon-free 21st century. Worse, he is making us a laughing stock, slowing down other countries’ efforts to transition to a sustainable future and jeopardising the international relationships that Australia is dependent on to thrive in our global economy.
Matilda Bowra, Fitzroy North
Let’s try bold diplomacy, rather than rabble rousing
Chris Uhlmann (Opinion, 9/6) suggests that “useful idiots” are “blind to the signs of the times” – China’s aggressive stance. He quotes research indicating Australians’ unfavorable view of China rising from 32per cent in 2017 to 81per cent in 2020. This is hardly surprising, given the almost universal media barrage against China over the past few years, including Uhlmann’s contributions. This barrage includes the origin of COVID-19, the threats to Hong Kong and Taiwan, the economy and the promotion of Chinese culture.
Scott Morrison is leading the attack on China. He is quoted in the same issue of The Age as identifying US leadership after World WarII as the “inspiration” among liberal democracies on security, trade and the recovery from the pandemic. Inspiration? We should ask whether our blind following of the US through wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan indicates our ability to make appropriate decisions on “signs of the times”, particularly when those “signs” are constructed by marketing men men such as Mr Morrison.
Perhaps Australia could arrive at more effective results if we were to undertake diplomatic initiatives in ways which were bold and appropriate, rather than rabble rousing.
Peter Deerson, Mornington
When will Labor stand up for the oppressed?
Chris Uhlmann is right that some of Australia’ politicians are “willfully blind to the signs of the time”. This blindness was on display on The Insiders (ABC TV, 6/6) when Labor’s deputy leader Richard Marles was repeatedly asked how its approach to China would be different. “You do the diplomacy right” and “make the effort to reach out” were his facile replies.
Why doesn’t Labor speak up more strongly on what is being described as cultural genocide by China on its Muslim minority Uighur population, violations of Malaysian and Taiwanese airspace and the oppression of democratic values in Hong Kong, condemned by the G7? Could it “do a Hawke” after the Tiananmen Square massacre and demonstrate some resolve and courage?
Andrew McLorinan, Hampton
We need to engage with our key trading partner
I was appalled by the lack of balance in Chris Uhlmann’s article. He forgot to mention that in Paul Hasluck’s day, a map of the world was dominated by red – the colour of the British empire – officially recognised around the world. He also forgot to mention that for nearly 50years, under the Whitlam and all subsequent governments, Australia has officially recognised that Taiwan is an integral part of China – under a Communist Party central government and before that a nationalist government.
Australia’s early recognition and subsequent rapport with the communist government has been a vital part of achieving enormous change in China and in changing our previous, mutual attitudes of fear and defensiveness into our most important trading partnership. China today has several hundred billionaires. We certainly need to engage with China and present our interests and values, and we do need to use our intelligence to succeed.
Peter Howie, Kew
Our shameful image
Aside from the inherent cruelty inflicted on innocent young children, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews is effectively bombing Australia’s image back to the Stone Age. By what moral compass is she continuing to keep a family of four locked up indefinitely, inhumanely and perversely? What better advertisement could there be for a soulless government (and policy) than to continue this travesty on the world stage? We might as well make our national slogan, “Australia, the country devoid of empathy”.
Joyce Butcher, Williamstown
Why prolong the torment?
My heart sank when I read that Tharnicaa Murugappan was in hospital being treated for suspected septicaemia (The Age, 9/6). This is a family who was working, paying taxes and contributing to their community. Has the federal government not made its point? Perhaps our Prime Minister may wish to revisit sections of the Bible. Just release them and let them go back to their community in Queensland.
Jane Taylor, Newport
A lack of compassion
Michaelia Cash is worried about the consequences of blinking with regard to the Biloela family and borer security (The Age, 9/6).What consequences? That our government, elected to reflect the values of the Australian people, showed compassion? The Attorney-General could do worse than read another legal stalwart – Portia’s mercy speech in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice: “And earthly power doth then show likest God’s when mercy seasons justice”. I suspect our leaders are so focused on being vigilant about our borders they dare not blink or they might lose the next election.
Josephine Perry, Morwell
Welcome, not rejection
It is obvious that the Biloela family will be sent to New Zealand or the United States. When this happens, it will be a political fix to a justified public outcry of injustice. It will make all the government’s actions to deny the family residency ridiculous. Surely, as an island continent, we can turn John Howard’s cry of “We will decide who comes to this country” from one of rejection of asylum seekers to one of a compassionate and regulated welcome. We can do it.
Dave Robson, Port Melbourne
Please release them now
I find the plight of the Biloela family heart rending. I am ashamed of our federal government and find it extremely cruel. The family has been isolated long enough, for far too long. Can they please be quietly released back to the rural community where they were happily accepted. The cost of their incarceration is mind blowing, as is the sadness endured by this harmless family. Our borders are now closed anyway. We will not be faced with more asylum seekers for some time. Release them now.
Barbara Game, South Caulfield
We are frequently assured that if more women entered politics, government would be more compassionate and caring. I reckon the performances of ministers Karen Andrews, Marise Payne and Michaelia Cash in regard to the Murugappan family give the lie to that old chestnut.
Peter Price, Southbank
Such a terrible waste
Perhaps if the government had not spent about $6.5million on incarcerating the Biloela family for years on Christmas Island, we might have more money available for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the vaccine rollout or support for COVID-ravaged businesses.
Kairen Harris, Brunswick
The letter I want next
I received an email from Josh Frydenberg this week. He wrote “not as the Treasurer, not as a politician, but as a parent” about how the lockdowns in Victoria had adversely affected the education of schoolchildren. I would like to receive a similar message from him, not as a treasurer, not as a politician, but as a parent, justifying his government’s disgraceful and callous detention, of more than three years, of the Tamil family and how they have been adversely affected. I am not holding my breath. Politics and hypocrisy springs to mind.
Ron Dretzke, Deepdene
Quick, calm, efficient
Why all this kerfuffle about when and where to get vaccinated? Many EU countries call people up for their jab through their citizens municipal registers. People get a “It’s your turn” letter in the post. It seems to work well. Australia could do the same, using our electoral rolls to contact people in the same way our political parties pursue us to vote for them.
Henk van Leeuwen, Elwood
Please, wear your masks
An announcement yesterday tells me that “masks will continue to be required to be worn outdoors in all circumstances”. Does all circumstances finally mean joggers, cyclists, people holding coffee cups and/or cigarettes and people yabbering into mobile phones, without “mask dangling” exceptions? And will this message be clearly communicated and enforced?
Denis Young, Sandringham
City will survive and thrive
I was a young waiter in a city restaurant and lunches were huge events. Then, in 1986, the fringe benefits tax was introduced and the very next day we had no diners. Zero. Restaurateurs lamented that our hospitality industry was dead and buried and that we would never be the same again. Boy, were they correct. We went from exclusive restaurants, frequented by the business elite, to a city that leads the country in cafes, casual dining and a coffee culture that much of the world is envious of.
In 2020, COVID-19 brought in a new shock, and now suburban areas are thriving and the city is struggling (The Age, 9/6). We work from home more and this trend will continue. I and many of my co-workers do not want to go back to a confined office five days a week. So the city will need to readjust and move with the times. Now is the time for innovation and moving forward, not hand wringing and complaining. We have done it before and we will do it again.
Nic Beredimas, Sunbury
Back to the future, again
Here we are in 2021 still having an archaic conversation about restrictive school uniforms for girls – “Stockings, tunics and leather shoes: why uniforms stop girls playing” (The Age, 10/6). I was involved in equal opportunity programs in the ’80s as a teacher. (Yes, 35 years ago.)
We successfully introduced a smart new uniform as a result. It was a culotte skirt which was the uniform for everything, including sports. Many schools have followed this thinking with similar clothing. And now a survey on the bleeding obvious? Spare me. Wake up and do the right thing by half of your students. Dress them appropriately. Consider the fact that freedom of movement is essential to childhood development. How tiresome to still have to point out that little girls cannot sit on a mat, swing on a monkey bar (the list is endless) while wearing dresses.
Helen Paevere, Hampton
The Pies’ woes continue
Collingwood Football Club has seen better times. Earlier this year, the release of the critical Do Better report was followed by president Eddie McGuire’s resignation. The ensuing battle at board level continues, and the coach, Nathan Buckley, has now departed. Meanwhile, the side languishes at 16th spot on the ladder. One might say that Collingwood “has torn itself apart”, particularly if one is a Port Adelaide supporter.
Jim Reiss, Abbotsford
Bucks, a flawed leader
I am a bit over the hero worship of Nathan. Difficult as his job has been, leaders should lead by example. I was at the game when he wiped his blood on opponent Cameron Ling’s jumper to ensure he was then sent off. What a low act. Buckley was suspended for one game and at the time said he pleaded guilty because he did not want to argue that he was guilty only by provocation and that nothing could justify “my attempts to use a loophole in the rules to get a player off the field” (The Age, 17/7/2002). However, “whatever it takes” is not a great motto to use to inspire young men.
Kathy Diviny, Coburg
The one missed prize
I arrived in Australia from Italy as a five-year-old in the early 1950s. One of the first things I did to make sure I fitted in as a New Australian was barrack for Collingwood. At school I often heard the phrase Buckley’s chance. I now finally get its true meaning. Despite being an outstanding player and coach for Collingwood, Nathan Buckley was unable to enjoy winning a premiership.
Leonard Palermo, Albert Park
Call out the wage thieves
In her advice column, executive coach Dr Kirstin Ferguson was asked by a part-time worker on an hourly rate whether “an extra two hours is reasonable overtime with no further remuneration” (Got A Minute, 9/6). Her response included that comment that “without it being addressed, this might move from a case of being unreasonable to feeling like wage theft”. In fact, the situation described is never reasonable.
It is illegal. An hourly wage pays for an hour’s work, and overtime must be remunerated – either with time off in lieu, or in wages, and often with penalty rates. An employer who demands unpaid work is a wage thief. If you have concerns about getting ripped off at work, contact your union.
Robert Corr, Brunswick East
Give way to all snakes
I was amused by Ken Prato’s comments about “creating some noise with our feet as we walked through the bushland” to scare off snakes (Letters, 10/6). Maybe he should have added “actual results may vary”! We had a red-bellied, black snake living under our steps for a time. He was polite and would duck into his hole if we came past. But if he was “going on a mission”, no amount of stamping would deflect him. We just had to stand aside.
Andrew Laing, Williamstown
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
Once we had Buckley and Nunn. Now we have no Buckley.
Geoffrey Lane, Mornington
Collingwood take seriously the responsibility for coaching: the Buck stops here.
Rob Bartlett, McCrae
It’s clear that Bucks stood Buckley’s.
Zena Marzi, Kew
Buckley says, ″nothing lasts forever″. Alas, Nathan, Collingwood’s poor form may endure.
John McCaffrey, Brighton
If this is an example of the Christian values our PM and his MPs espouse, they are not ones I can believe in or support.
Anne Maki, Alphington
Minister Andrews, take a strong stand and send the family back to where they came from – Biloela.
Harold Zwier, Elsternwick
Surely to be considered a Christian, one must act like one and not just say you are one.
Ruth Hudnott, Canterbury
Banishing two Australian-born children to another country would put a black stain on our nation’s soul.
Maria Ambrosi, Essendon
Sadly, the “un-Australian”, cruel treatment of the Biloela family, and refugees generally, might be better described as “Australian”.
Harry Zable, Campbells Creek
The callous government gives new meaning to “suffer little children”. It’s not too late to show compassion and let this family stay.
Ann Matthews, Balwyn
As long as O’Brien continues his carping, the Labor government is safe – no matter how bad it may govern.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick
Methinks Scott has had the Lemonheads’ song, Confetti, on high rotation – “He kinda shoulda sorta woulda”. Great song, though.
John Hayes, Clifton Hill
Ross Gittins (9/6), I suspect “enlightened self-interest” will replace the outdated core and non-core promises in elections.
Peter Thomas, Pascoe Vale
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