Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue has concluded that no laws were broken when Scott Morrison appointed himself to five ministries, although his actions had “fundamentally undermined” the principles of responsible government. What could a costly, time-consuming inquiry really achieve when we have the hospital crisis, and so many more pressing areas that need to be addressed, including welfare and housing?
Betty Alexander, Caulfield
We were lucky so many voters said ‘enough’ in May
Parnell Palme McGuinness hit the nail on the head in her description of Scott Morrison’s political tactics and modus operandi (Comment, 27/8). I never once sensed a decision-making process from him that had the nation at heart. Instead I sensed political opportunism and wedge politics.
Where I differ from Palme McGuinness is her assertion that we were lucky to have had him. Lucky for what? A political term whereby little was achieved in major policy areas and where we are now playing catch-up? We were not lucky to have had him, but we were lucky that so many voters in marginal seats said “no more Morrison” at the federal election.
Maurie Johns, Mount Eliza
The fear that Morrison ’could rise again’
Waleed Aly (Comment, 26/8) misses the point. Scott Morrison has managed to avoid scrutiny and credibility over a long period – eg, “on water” matters, robo-debt, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and protecting ministers with question marks over their heads.
If Morrison is not brought to account, it will be a final disregard for truth and decency. He may no longer be in government, as Aly says, but he is still in parliament, with his salary paid by taxpayers, and while there, like Donald Trump in the US, could rise again.
Chris Palfreyman, Malvern
The resume that might be difficult to sell
It is hardly surprising that Scott Morrison shows no sign of resigning from parliament. If you could see his CV, I wonder if his skills listed would include: telling lies, undermining his colleagues, not taking responsibility, being unaccountable and bullying. The public had seen more than enough of the above behaviours and that is why his government was booted out. If he does resign from parliament, who on earth would hire him?
Greg Smith, Caulfield South
Listening to our youth
In September, the Victorian government will hold Youth Fest, celebrating the contributions and achievements that young people make. I work in the multicultural youth sector, initiating strategies to place multicultural young people at the forefront of decision-making processes.
Amongst my peers, I see a lack of engagement in political processes and trust in government. This seeps into a lack of participation in valuable youth services and not-for-profit organisations that aim to elevate youth participation and their voices. How can we engage young people without tokenism and make their voices feel heard, in times that do not just involve elections?
Rosie Thyer, 20, Northcote
Nightmare of robo-debt
One of my children received a letter informing them they had an outstanding robo-debt of less than $100. Eventually they received the follow-up telephone call where the person calling had no idea about the details. After some time, we were told when the debt had occurred.
Wrongly, we had assumed it related to my child’s time at university. No, it was while they were still in high school and not working. Many hours later, the issue was resolved. Someone who was less able would have been overwhelmed by the process. No, Peter Dutton, the “witch-hunt” was robo-debt.
Anne Maki, Alphington
Such loving reassurance
On reading Anson Cameron’s article – “What’s a little lie between lifelong partners as the end approaches?” (Spectrum, 26/8) – I was put in mind of the experience of my wife. Upon visiting her aged mother, she was met with the uncomprehending, vague gaze of dementia.
“Who are you?“, queried her mother in a somewhat apprehensive voice. “I’m Linda”, came the answer. “I don’t know you but I had a daughter called Linda and she was a wonderful, caring daughter – a really lovely person”. That answer had a profoundly reassuring and calming effect on all of us.
Philip Bunn, Beechworth
True lessons from the past
Thank you, yet again, Tony Wright. Your article – “A voice from the past: pay the rent” (The Age, 27/8) – says it all so powerfully in the story of Wombeetch Puyuun. Indeed, we should listen to these words of 145 years ago and finally, as did white pastoralist James Dawson, pay our dues.
Miriam Gould, Malvern
End an ugly ’tradition’
It was encouraging to read Glenn Maxwell’s comment on the Australian cricket team’s apparent abandonment of sledging – ‴It’s hard just ignoring people‴ (Sport, 27/8). This “tradition” was formerly endemic in Australian sporting culture. It recently reared its head in an AFL Brisbane Lions-Melbourne game but, hopefully, it is now on the decline.
Peter Russo, West Brunswick
David Hill, thank you for your long-time, dedicated work towards achieving the return of the Parthenon sculptures (commonly called the Elgin Marbles) to their rightful home in Greece (Comment, 27/8). I am so glad you believe they will be returned during our lifetime.
May I request that you now turn your terrier-like doggedness to the return of the Koh-i-Noor diamond to India. This was another valuable item that was “acquired” by the British during their Raj in India.
Walter Valles, Clayton South
Cancel North East Link
Julian Virgona (Comment, 24/8), the East West Link would do very little to solve the Eastern Freeway bottleneck, at least in the form that it was previously proposed, because most of the traffic would still need to access Hoddle Street and Alexandra Parade instead of using the link’s tunnel.
However, you’re right to be concerned about postponing the Suburban Rail Loop. If the Liberals want to cancel anything, they should look at the North East Link.
Scrapping that would make more immediate funds available to spend on health (than would scrapping the loop), would be better for the economy and the environment, and would improve the benefits of the loop in the northern suburbs when it comes through there. However, I would fall off my chair if the Liberals ever cancelled a road project.
William McDougall, transport planner, Soldiers Hill
Planning for the future
If you want a business case for the Suburban Rail Loop, go to London and travel on the Underground. Go anywhere at any time and wait just a few minutes for a train. It is all about future generations and their travel. Melbourne will be as big as London in 50 years time.
Peter Randles, Mornington
In praise of our myki
In response to your correspondent’s letter re purchasing a ticket on Sydney’s public transport system (Letters, 23/8). We were also in Sydney recently and used our credit card. We realised later that the system could not detect if you were a senior or a student, hence we ended up paying full fare. It is not such a good system after all. I will have my myki any day.
Louise Bell, Blackburn
Why the organ won’t work
Recent correspondents have called for a pipe organ in Hamer Hall. Installing a new (or the old, currently in storage) organ in that venue would be a waste of money, the reason being that it could not be powerful enough with the space available. This is the reason the old one was not reinstated.
Lars Fermvall, Blackburn North
Arguing their cases
One argument supposedly supporting compulsory voting is that it prevents extreme political reviews being over-represented by a large minority of people. Your correspondent (Letters, 27/8) uses the Brexit vote as an example of this. In fact, 72per cent of Britons voted, representing a fairly large majority of the population.
Extreme political views will always exist in a healthy democracy. Some people might regard Pauline Hanson, Monique Ryan or Adam Bandt as being extremists. Their success or failure depends less on the compulsory system but more upon their ability to argue their case and the common sense of Australians.
Michael Doyle, Ashburton
An inference of weakness
Thanks, Catherine Bearsley, for commenting on the use of “battle language” – “Cancer words can hurt” (Letters, 25/8). Another expression around cancer treatments is that patients “fail to respond” to certain drugs or treatment modalities. Surely we should instead assert that treatments fail to restore patients to health? There can be an inference of patient weakness or culpability when often cancer is fierce and overwhelming, and impossible to halt.
Rosemary Turner, Castlemaine
Calm, reasoned debate
The most recent episode of the ABC’s Insiders featured ACTU secretary Sally McManus and Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott, two highly intelligent, articulate and measured women who conducted a discussion/debate in the way it should be conducted. There is obviously an immense reservoir of talent in 50per cent of the population which should be fully utilised in our society.
Tim Douglas, Blairgowrie
A government backtrack
Tanya Plibersek has given permission for a $4.5billion fertiliser plant to proceed on Western Australia’s Burrup Peninsula. Her decision will result in the removal and more likely the destruction of ancient petroglyphs, some dating back 50,000 years, as well as a massive increase in carbon emissions.
Not all custodians agree with her decision. She must resign, just as the CEO and two executives at Rio Tinto resigned over the destruction of the Juukan Gorge cave in the Pilbara. It has not taken long for Plibersek and the Albanese government to backtrack on its commitments to Indigenous Australians and carbon emissions reduction.
Peter Wilson, Macedon
Customer service returns?
I was one of the many people who was inconvenienced recently and received a poorer level of service to the one I had become accustomed to by our national airline.
Credit where it is due. To see chief executive Alan Joyce come out and acknowledge Qantas’ recent poor levels of service and commit to rewarding customer loyalty has restored my faith in sections of corporate Australia. Many senior executives and ASX-listed companies could take a leaf out of Qantas’ book. Strong leadership and customer-centricity may not be dead yet.
Troy Jones, Wattle Glen
Staff who really cared
Re ‴Too windy’ so disabled woman not allowed to board Jetstar flight” (The Age, 27/8). I would like to highlight the excellent care my husband and I received on recent Qantas and Jetstar flights. We needed a wheelchair and the lift into and out of the plane and onto the tarmac.
The staff were obliging, kind and above all conscious of our safety at all times. Cabin crew also were very caring of us getting settled and comfortable. And by the way, I would be reluctant to use the lift on a windy day.
Carolyn Sykes, Werribee
Shoo, sheep, it’s our turn
The Eastern Sward Golf Course, where a flock of sheep, alpacas, ponies, and goats have made their home (The Age, 27/8) is just catching up. The hamlet of Byaduk, 34-kilometres south of Hamilton in the Western District, was way ahead over 30 years ago, with sheep fertilising the Byaduk Golf Club’s nine-hole course. Before you played, you had to chase the sheep off the fairways.
The putting greens were fenced off to stop the sheep from grazing on them and players had to step over the fence to play their putts. Sadly, due to lack of players, the club fell into decline and is no more. However, the sheep are enjoying the 19th hole facilities.
Gerard van de Ven, Mount Martha
AND ANOTHER THING
In a crowded field, and following Fran Bailey’s disclosure (28/8), multi-minister Morrison can be safely named Australia’s top narcissist of recent times.
Moray Byrne, Edithvale
If only Bailey had spoken up 16 years ago. Think of the damage she could have saved the nation from.
Les Anderson, Woodend
Had the Liberals not been in thrall to a false messiah, we would have been spared the awful things that happened during his government.
Joe Wilder, Caulfield North
How would the media and various interests groups be reacting if Morrison had been a Labor PM?
Tom Pagonis, Hawthorn
Scott never made a decision without first considering if there were votes in the decision.
Michael Brinkman, Ventnor
To the tune of My Guy: There’s nothing you could do to make me vote for Matt Guy.
Garry Adams, Corio
Matt, Matthew, whatever, you’re still the same Guy.
Lisa Bishop, Macleod
Shaq O’Neal’s endorsement of the Indigenous Voice referendum would be more credible if he appeared in anti-gambling ads.
George Reed, Wheelers Hill
Andrews’ new GP clinics can be assured of patients but not necessarily doctors. It’s a zero-sum game for GPs these days.
Ian Powell, Glen Waverley
How pleasing to read of Glenn Maxwell’s outlook and that our cricket team is moving away from its abrasiveness of the past 50 years (Sport, 27/8). Maturity at last.
Neville Wilson, Rosanna
If you played junior football and are interested in coaching, please contact Essendon.
Les Anderson, Woodend
Please clone the coach of the AFLW’s Essendon team and send her to the male Bombers. A brilliant win on Saturday, ladies.
Tris Raouf, Hadfield
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