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Labor should lead push for anti-corruption body
With the latest scandal of the car “porks” (“Pork-barrelling should be made illegal”, The Age, 6/7) and the ongoing purposeful lack of transparency and obfuscation standardised as modus operandi for this federal government, surely the path is becoming clear for the opposition. The public is waking up and I see the PM’s popularity waning. The opposition must come out proud and 100 per cent committed to a fully independent federal commission into corruption with the most broad-reaching powers. But do more … start today and do it right. Mandate Mark Dreyfus as shadow attorney-general and a few other credible members to progress the issue.
They should invite all independents and minor party representatives to actively participate from the start and together come up with a proposal with a clearly stated structure, membership, guidelines and rapid implementation milestones. They should talk about the initiative every day and keep reminding the electorate.
Irrespective of where people live and how they usually vote, this will be a winner. The LNP may try to discredit or feign to match it but theirs is a position devoid of credibility on this matter. The opposition needs a credible point of difference and this is it. Most importantly, we the Australia people need this initiative in place.
Royce Bennett, Baxter
Inaction speaks volumes
The longer a political party is in power, the more they seem free to splurge taxpayers’ funds on programs that blatantly promote their own party’s electoral prospects. This takes the form of pork-barrelling in grant distribution, advertising programs that run into tens of millions meant to inform the public but mainly designed to laud their own wonderfulness and equally expensive royal commissions with the principal aim of embarrassing the opposition. The reluctance of both main political parties to set up a permanent non-partisan anti-corruption commission with the sweeping powers of a royal commission does speak volumes.
Peter Barry, Marysville
Car park rorts take the cake
Car parks for all! If you live in an electorate held by the LNP. Most decent people saw through the embarrassing “sports rorts”, but this particular round of pork-barrelling takes the cake. Lots of promises for negligible delivery. Finance Minister Simon Birmingham has become quite adept at deflection. Sorry Birmo but you are a shallow version of a politician. Your obfuscation and prevarication is lacking in finesse.
David Legat, South Morang
Hunt provides useful cover for PM’s misjudgments
Kevin Rudd makes a damning list of the Morrison government’s “ministerial disasters” and the policy failures of Health Minister Greg Hunt (“Hunt has failed and must go”, The Age, 5/7). But the PM won’t sack any of those ministers, since it is he himself who calls the shots, whether on pork-barrelling schemes or the mismanagement of the pandemic. Hunt for his part is ineffectual, doing his master’s bidding in all things. Morrison will hang on to Hunt just as long as he provides useful cover for the PM’s own misjudgments.
Anthea Hyslop, Eltham
Money should have been spent on quarantine station
Perhaps the $660 million pork barrel Morrison has set up for his marginal seats for car parks would have been better put towards a quarantine station. Certainly makes Bridget McKenzie’s sports rorts look downright paltry.
John Cain, McCrae
The buck has to stop somewhere
Under the Westminster system, individual ministers whose departments make serious mistakes are expected to resign or be sacked. Either we don’t follow the Westminster system (with its cabinet confidentiality), or the Prime Minister should resign for not fulfilling his duties in ensuring his ministers are accountable. Scott Morrison can’t have it both ways. The buck has to stop somewhere.
Greg Tuck, Warragul
Time to heal old wounds
As Australia celebrates NAIDOC week, I ask leaders to turn an egregious tragedy into a pivotal healing moment for our nation. Early last month, Uncle Russell Moore (“Final homecoming: Indigenous man Russell Moore laid to rest”, The Sunday Age, 4/7) died in a foreign land far from Country. A member of the stolen generations, Uncle Russell was stolen from his mother when he was weeks old.
Uncle Russell was a beautiful, kind, sensitive man that I had the pleasure of knowing. He loved his family and wanted to return home from the US. He has now returned, but more than 50 years too late.
What happened to Russell is a tragedy. The initial wounds from the 1950s are even deeper today. Let’s make a renewed commitment to our lands, waters and sacred sites, as NAIDOC week asks, as well as repatriating any of our countrymen back to Country.
Belinda Wheeler (expat Aussie), Cordova, South Carolina, US
New word for new world
“They” is a plural pronoun. The sole merit for its use as a singular gender-neutral pronoun is that the language has no word for that use. It is inappropriate and inadequate because it will be perpetually confusing. We need a new word. When the need for a new word emerged some years ago, Ms was devised and put into use, to our general advantage. The same thing must be done again. We need to find people who know about words and have them find or make a word with a fitting ancestry that can take its place in the existing family of he, she, them and the rest.
Ben Draper, East Malvern
Risks rise with numbers
On Monday in the daily COVID-19 update, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, while expressing disappointment about the national cabinet decision to reduce the number of weekly arrivals from overseas, said that “it doesn’t necessarily reduce the risk” because it just takes one error “for the virus to get out”. This is just plain wrong. The more people arriving from overseas, the more COVID-19 cases we will see in quarantine. With a risk – a non-zero probability – associated with each of those cases of seeding a community outbreak, the overall risk is cumulative. This means that the more people in hotel quarantine, the higher the overall risk of the virus transferring into the community.
Professor Ann Nicholson, Monash University
The protein COVID-19 vaccines are coming – and they are much better. Adelaide-based biotech Vaxine (“Local startup’s vaccine bid in Iran”, The Age, 5/7) has developed a successful Recombinant Protein COVID-19 vaccine (not funded by the federal government) COVAX-19 (similar to Novavax) – for all ages.
The Flinders University vaccine covers new variants, stops transmission and is well tolerated. It is in global phase 2 trials now.
Australians deserve the choice to have our own, home-grown COVID-19 vaccine. Support and fund Australian scientists – research and development – so we can have a safe, equitable, easy to manufacture at scale vaccine with high efficacy manufactured locally.
Wendy Goodwin, Flagstaff Hill, SA
Warning on Pusey
While Pusey’s act of filming the deaths of Lynette Taylor and her fellow officers was tasteless and hurtful, we need to be careful of making it unlawful (“‘Two clicks on the phone and it’s out there’”, The Age, 6/7).
Indeed the filming of George Floyd’s death in the US, which led to a worldwide outcry, was the same act as Pusey’s, except for the commentary. This filming led to the guilty verdict of his killer and to a mass movement to change the law regarding police brutality in the US.
Pusey did not directly cause the deaths of these officers.
Maria Liew, Woodend
Protect historic precinct
Melbourne deputy lord mayor Nicholas Reece (“City must support good architecture”, The Age, 6/7) needs to also be concerned for the historic architecture of the city.
East Melbourne is the home of many grand examples of colonial and Victorian architecture, but developers continually apply to build overly tall buildings that will destroy the character of this part of Melbourne.
The council must oppose these developments, which are increasingly being planned in the backyards of historic mansions. The Epworth hospital is also proposing to build a new tower on Albert Street.
If we do not enforce height limits, the streets of this historic part of Melbourne will become another set of cold and windy canyons.
Peter Hendrickson, East Melbourne
David Crowe’s article (“Women’s snub risks PM’s grip on power”, The Age, 6/7), is significant because the Morrison government doesn’t comprehend ethical, nuanced arguments around the appalling treatment of women or, for that matter, any of the major issues besetting this nation. Its raison d’etre is always to stay in power. It lives or dies on electoral preferences. Nothing else matters. Crucially, the existential reality for it now is that its primary votes are eroding. Women are walking away. [Former federal MP] Julia Banks is, rightly, playing the role of prophetess of doom.
This could be a watershed in Australian political history.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza
Thanks (“The global tally that reveals the real test for Scott Morrison on our vaccine rollout”, The Age, 6/7) for explaining the global supply challenge sourcing effective COVID-19 vaccines. Australia isn’t alone in this challenge. Knowing now what we didn’t a year ago about the remote clotting risks associated with AstraZeneca, things might have been different.
We shouldn’t forget CSL is producing one million doses a week in Australia. Giving up on that “here and now” source doesn’t makes sense particularly for high-risk cohorts. The right promotional campaign can undo the misinformation on AstraZeneca risks and massively increase herd immunity.
Andrew McLorinan, Hampton
All hail Ash Barty
Australian sports lovers will be in raptures at the news that our leading female sporting light, the tenacious Ash Barty, has booked a place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals, having ended the winning streak of French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova in their fourth round encounter.
Barty, the world No. 1, now has a good chance of lifting the Venus Rosewater Dish, and if she does so will become the first Australian player to do so since another Indigenous female Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley magnificently did in 1980.
Eric Palm, Gympie, Qld
It appears the media and political releases aren’t doing a good enough job in overcoming vaccination hesitation. How about bosses asking politely face to face what employees are concerned about and why they are not prepared to be vaccinated? How about having medical personnel on site to facilitate discussions and allay fears. Why, they could even administer the vaccine.
How about bosses explaining to employees the severe risk that unvaccinated personnel pose to all others in the workplace? Could that be a way to combat the onslaught of misleading online tweets, posts and blogs put up by all those who want to say their bit about anything and everything? A way to bring some reality to the debate? A way to alleviate fears and misconceptions? A way to advance the vaccination program?
Elaine O’Shannessy, Buxton
Buck doesn’t stop here
It beggars belief that “the airlines” are left to determine which Australians get to come home and which don’t, with the government saying airlines will determine which passengers get bumped, and that each case is dependent on what kinds of tickets people have booked.
Surely the government ought to be managing the process – evaluating compassionate considerations, medical imperatives and undertaking any necessary risk assessments to determine a priority listing for returning Australians rather than effectively washing its hands of the responsibility. Yet another example of the buck stops anywhere but here.
Claire Merry, Wantirna
Common decency will do
Bravo to the idealistic Sean Kelly (“Let’s give being altruistic a shot”, The Age, 6/7). Alas, the selfish disregard for others is rampant. Unsurprising given the standard of federal leadership: a PM who cannot apologise for many misdemeanours, and seems nonchalant about the vaccine confusion this government has created.
To be altruistic, one needs to care about the health and wellbeing of those who look after our elderly or those who educate our children. Yet they have not been prioritised for what scarce vaccinations are available. And it requires inspiring leadership to instil the importance of caring about others’ and our future.
Forget altruism – I’d make do with common decency. For now.
Sally Davis, Malvern East
A better way
I could not agree more with David Blom (Letters, 6/7). Over many years I found myself parking further from Ringwood station and grew tired of missing buses occasionally. I started cycling to the station in about 2014 and except for a bout of vandalism and a stolen seat and seat post, it was a better way to commute.
Since the station re-development in 2016 a secure facility became available which is fantastic and my saddle stays dry! My wife also took it up when she changed work locations. If you’re prepared to cycle in all weather, it’s massively more efficient than driving and you’re doing the planet a favour too.
Andrew Barnes, Ringwood
AND ANOTHER THING …
Simon Birmingham has rubber-stamped Gladys Berejiklian’s defence of pork-barrelling. The Wilcox cartoon (6/7) suggests voters will probably rubber stamp it too at the next election. Bah! or baa?
Peter Thomas, Pascoe Vale
Does “In the interest of national security” really mean “In the interest of the Coalition’s security”?
George Reed, Wheelers Hill
There must be something wrong with me, it would take far more than the funding of a car park at my railway station to sway my vote one way or another.
John Wyatt, Armadale
The frantic rollout of election rorts showed that, given the right incentives, the government is perfectly capable of meeting deadlines.
Bernd Rieve, Brighton
Instead of lockdown and rollout, the PM offers us lockout and roll up. Not much of a plan.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale
It would be easier and quicker to get around if they stuck barcodes on our foreheads.
John Ogge, Oakleigh South
Josh wants hospitalisation to be the new yardstick. Another diversion tactic to cover up the slow vaccine rollout?
Arthur Pritchard, Ascot Vale
It’s a Claytons lockdown in NSW.
Margaret Sullivan, Caulfield North
It seems Scomo’s plan is not to have a plan at all.
Lisa Bishop, Macleod
Does Scott Morrison have a Plan B for each of his four-points plan?
Peng Ee, Castle Cove, NSW
Crown Casino is well and truly tarnished, and no amount of polishing would ever create, let alone restore, a shine.
Chris Burgess, Port Melbourne
If Xavier Walsh, Crown’s Melbourne CEO said of their management “It wasn’t good enough” then why didn’t he do something or sack himself?
Jocie Cohen, Blairgowrie
Where money is involved governments can turn a blind eye.
Glenise Michaelson, Montmorency
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