Short term tactics won’t tackle global challenges

CLASSIC DYSON

Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson

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Peter Dutton
Many people understand that, due to a range of global circumstances, recession and other economic hardships are likely in the immediate coming years. There are also considerable challenges in transitioning to cleaner energies. Governments simply looking to survive three-year election cycles will be tempted to avoid the hard decisions necessary for the good of the economy and the planet.

How destructive then that the major focus of the opposition (“Dutton’s one-term strategy to become PM”, Sunday Age, 4/12) will be on capitalising on discontent rather than planning for a sustainable future. Power or the public good? Unfortunately, the Coalition is showing its priorities haven’t really shifted beyond a willingness to pay a bit of necessary lip service to climate policy.
Liz Levy, Suffolk Park

Changes needed to build bridges
“There’s already a lot of feedback coming back from Kooyong that people haven’t been able to form a connection with Monique [Ryan] at all,” says Peter Dutton. It can be said that similar hearsay commentary was made in relation to former Kooyong representative Josh Frydenberg.

Rather than making nebulous comments, maybe Dutton might consider supporting minor parties and independents by working with them to increase their allocation of parliamentary staff. This would be obviously sensible given his stated intent to negotiate the support of crossbenchers to form a future government.

However, to win office he would also have to persuade the Australian people that the Liberal Party’s “identity crisis” has been addressed, that it reflects the values of Australian society and has changed its spots, other than through expediency, in relation to climate change, integrity and women’s issues.
Jennifer Quigley, Balwyn

Better connections
As a Kooyong voter, I take exception to Peter Dutton’s claims that constituents find it hard to connect with Dr Monique Ryan, our “teal” MP. My “connection” with her predecessor, Josh Frydenberg, was non-existent. In 2019 he received a detailed submission from several constituents with senior experience in superannuation, regarding an inequitable anomaly in Centrelink rules. There was no response of any kind from the former treasurer or his staff.
Joan Reilly, Surrey Hills

Predecessor absent
Re Peter Dutton’s projections that Monique Ryan hasn’t “been able to form a connection” with the people of Kooyong: actually I’ve had frequent, detailed updates about the work she has done in parliament and many invites to connect. The only time I had communication with Frydenberg was when he wanted my vote.
Robyn Stonehouse, Camberwell

Former treasurer damaged his brand
How does Peter Dutton square the circle of working with teals and endorsing Josh Frydenberg? Indeed, how can both Liberals and paid political commentators ignore the very personal vote against Frydenberg that he earned all by himself, choosing to kick his constituents in Kooyong and Victorians in general during the darkest days of COVID?
Margaret Callinan, Hawthorn

Deeper reflection required
It is clear that the Liberals under Dutton still do not really understand why they lost the federal election. He says Liberal MPs were ″⁣swept out in a wave of teal that wasn’t of their making″⁣ but it was of their making, in that the teals offered action on climate change, integrity accountability and gender fairness that the Liberal Party refused to endorse. Another reason the independents succeeded is because we could believe in a cause that was greater than ourselves, that was inspirational, that was different and showed us the way forward.
Jan Marshall, Brighton

THE FORUM

In principle
Your correspondent “Show me the detail” (Letters, 4/12), equates a Voice vote on principle to signing a blank cheque. More helpful is the framework first suggested by a Channel Nine journalist, as cited by Noel Pearson in his Boyer Lectures. Namely, let’s vote yes or no to building a bridge over a river to unite peoples. I say, once agreed in principle, the cheques can be written by the politicians in conjunction with expert engineers, economists, accountants and planners.
Russell Crellin, Greensborough

Credit due
Incoming Liberal MP Sam Groth almost got it right when calling for his party to shun the far-right fringe (“Liberals rue far-right ties, feuding”, Sunday Age, 4/12). He correctly fingered the party and its campaign as the reason it failed.

But he ponders why it couldn’t win “after four years of the most divisive government and premier …” Groth and the Liberals need to wise up. The so-called “divisive government and premier” were just re-elected with a big majority. Why? Because a lot of us appreciated how the premier and the government stood with us, as best they could, through a very tough global pandemic.

It’s only a small – albeit vocal – minority that thought the government’s response was in any way “divisive”. As Groth acknowledges, pandering to this fringe group didn’t garner, but instead cost, the Liberals votes.
Graeme Russell, Clifton Hill

Politics as a game
The Liberal self reflections seem to ignore their party’s lack of standards on acceptable behaviour or conflicts of interest. Its disclosure on donations is inadequate and it is weak on supporting the disadvantaged.

Its members also treat politics as a game, not as the serious business of improving the lives of their constituents.
Andy Lloyd, Acheron

Preference priorities
A how-to-vote card is a statement of principle, and the Victorian Liberal Party’s odious principles have been on public display now for successive elections, both state and federal, in my electorate, at least.

In October this year, an international terrorism and extremist watchdog, the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, added Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) to its current list of Australian hate groups. Family First Victoria is the political creature of the ACL. One Nation is listed for its anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, white nationalist racism, COVID-19 conspiracy theory ideology and anti-vaccine paranoia. The ACL is listed for its hatred of the LGBTQ community, transgender people in particular, and its opposition to women’s reproductive rights.

In my electorate Family First was preferenced at number two and One Nation was preferenced at number three on the registered Liberal Party how-to-vote recommendation at last month’s state election, and One Nation was similarly preferenced in May at the federal election. I am dismayed that Liberal voters seem to neither know, nor care about this.
Michelle Goldsmith, Eaglehawk

Christmas break
Scott Morrison may have given his “valedictory” speech last week, but as a pragmatist, he is unlikely to resign until February. December and January aren’t good months for starting a new job and why would he forgo two months’ salary and superannuation?
Gretel Lamont, Aireys Inlet

Losing a wonder
In her authoritative piece, marine biologist Professor Jodie Rummer makes it clear. We are the current custodians of the Great Barrier Reef and “time’s almost run out” to save it from climate change (“Are we ready to lose this natural wonder?”, 4/12). Despite knowing this, Resources Minister Madeleine King has approved 10 new sites for offshore fossil fuel exploration in six months.

Like her predecessor, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek is defensive, claiming the listing is “unfair” and that the Great Barrier Reef is “one of the best-managed reefs in the world”. This response misses the point so well made by Rummer. Science tells us the reef is in danger from climate change.

It can only be concluded that even this so-called “climate-friendly” Labor government has not accepted the urgency of the climate crisis and is still beholden to the fossil fuel industry, a major donor. It seems Labor’s answer to Rummer’s headline question is, sadly, yes.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn

Luggage failures
The shocking footage of baggage handlers throwing Qantas baggage on to the conveyor from a large height and kicking baggage was no surprise. Since COVID, Qantas has failed to restore a professional baggage service. We recently travelled to Auckland with Qantas. We arrived, but one of our bags didn’t. Fortunately I had a tracking device that determined the bag was still in Melbourne. However it wasn’t just me – about 45 passengers on the flight had luggage left behind.

It seems the Melbourne baggage handlers “forgot” to load two trolleys of luggage! The luggage arrived in Auckland the next morning but if I hadn’t had the tracking device that enabled me to collect my bag from the airport, I would still be waiting. The Auckland baggage handlers told me they had a huge backlog and it could be a week or more before they could send the luggage to me.
John Rosenberg, South Melbourne

African pride
The goal almost scored by South Sudanese-born Garang Kuol in the last seconds of the Socceroos’ World Cup match against Argentina provided a glimpse of the future of Australian soccer, and the nation. Projections show that by 2050 Africa’s population will have doubled from its current 1.4 billion, and a quarter of the world’s population will be African.

It is likely that by the next soccer world cup, African players will be scoring goals, hopefully, lots of goals, for Australia. It is probable that before 2050 there will be more than a million Africans in Australia. What a splendid prospect for both soccer and the nation.
Stewart Sweeney, Adelaide

Football failure
Your correspondent (Letters, 3/12) is probably being hard on himself when he says his only football position was left-right-out. I am sure he also had a run as a held-back, a waiting-in-the-wings or a don’t-play-going-forward, mate.
Dan Robinson, Parkdale

Fashion backward
The Balenciaga BDSM Teddy Bear (“The Balenci-saga sheds light on fashion’s dark side”, 2/12) highlights the extent to which commercial concerns outrank all other considerations in the rarified world of high-end fashion today. The late Cristobal Balenciaga was a devoutly religious man and an artist. This latest abandonment of aesthetic values and good taste in the house that bears his name is equivalent to an oversized Balenciaga hoody.

BDSM Teddy comes at a time of evolving mainstream awareness, beyond just the clinical sphere, of the detrimental effects of sexualisation of young children which can manifest in dysfunction and severe mental illness later on.

The Balenciaga design and marketing departments are in need of a makeover. They might heed the comments of Tanja Gacic, model and content creator, who accurately summed up current fashion industry values … “being perceived as cool, well-dressed and important tops any moral or ethical compass … It’s abhorrent. We need to evaluate where fashion is going.”
Duncan Cameron, Parkdale

Law falling short
Jacqueline Maley asks whether, in sexual assault cases, the law is fit for purpose (“The Brittany Higgins matter is closed. Has anything really changed?”, Sunday Age, 4/12). From an outsider’s view that case is particularly strong in cases with limited physical evidence. In particular, because the defendant is not required to give evidence or be cross-examined.

During such a case the defendant’s barrister is searching for inconsistencies in the victim’s story and possibly her reputation, to damage her credibility. Surely the accused should be required to undergo similar scrutiny to balance the strength of the arguments.
John Groom, Bentleigh

Sound opinion
One of the new free TAFE courses could be Certificate 2 in Microphonology. Every public place subjects us to announcements that are too loud and unintelligible. Decent equipment and operator training would make all the difference.
Raeleene Gregory, Ballarat East

Care concerns
It is interesting that it is aged care staff more than visitors who continue to bring COVID with its devastating consequences into aged care facilities (“Aged care virus caseload surge sparks renewed call for vigilance”, Sunday Age, 4/12). What also comes across, is the continuing provider centricity of the aged care system, always focusing on the impact on the profit makers (“rising reliance on expensive agency staff”), rather than those who need care.

Agency staff do not know the difficulties and preferences of each resident and so the care they dispense is often perfunctory and unsatisfactory.
Ruth Farr, Blackburn South

Cherished memories
Reading about the Mount Macedon house Marnanie (Sunday Life, 4/12), brought such joy to me. My father, brother and I would travel from Latrobe Valley in the 1950s and 1960s, to visit our grandparents’ home, then called Calulu, Mount Macedon. My love of autumn colours comes from the trees and bushes surrounding the property, the hydrangeas, the babbling brook, where my cousin terrified me, telling me the billy goat gruff lived in the garden.

I loved reading about the people, like Sir Isaac Isaacs, who lived in the house with his wife and daughters, Marjorie and Nancy, and Sir John Monash a regular visitor. I am sorry to see the circular drive, so posh, is no longer. A beautiful house.
Pauline Santillo, Altona North

And another thing

Socceroos
The dedication and skill of the Australian players who played so well against Argentina was inspirational and well worth getting up early to watch. Well done.
Mary Fenelon, Doncaster East

Don’t cry for me Argentina, the truth is you were way too good.
Ed Veber, Malvern East

We should thank Lionel Messi for the soccer masterclass. He was everywhere. He was Messi beaucoup.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick

Liberal leadership
Yes, Josh Frydenberg was swept away in a climate wave not of his making, but he still put politics before science within the Liberal Party.
John Hughes, Mentone

Peter Dutton is citing a lot of “ifs” in his aspirations to win the next federal election.
Marie Nash, Balwyn

Calling in Ray Hadley as a character reference is a measure of Dutton’s desperation.
Tony Haydon, Springvale

Re: “Dutton’s one-term strategy to become PM” – tell him he’s dreaming.
Vera Lubczenko, Geelong West

Indigenous Voice
Peter Dutton wants more detail on The Voice? The Nationals have made it easy for him to not lose political credibility by being the first to say “no”.
Gary Bryfman, Brighton

The Nationals are so satisfied with the details on the Voice, they’re voting no. Whereas the Liberals want more detail before they decide to vote no.
Henry Herzog, St Kilda East

Furthermore
The decline and fall of the world’s greatest airline.
Malcolm McDonald, Burwood

Here’s a plan. Pack up Alan Joyce in a stout suitcase and put him through the baggage system, then have a jolly good chinwag with him to see how he feels about the outsourcing.
Chris Waters Ormond

What is it in fast foods that makes rubbish bins invisible?
Bryan Fraser, St Kilda West

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