The Liberals assure us “nothing to see here”

Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis

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The Liberals assure us “nothing to see here”

Peter Dutton described the censure motion of Scott Morrison as a “stunt” and nothing more than an “opportunistic swipe” at the former prime minister (The Age, 30/11). In so doing, he diminished the seriousness of Morrison’s choices, which former High Court judge Virginia Bell said had “eroded public trust in democracy” and “undermined the principles of responsible government”.

This refusal to stand up for the censure is emblematic of how the Liberals are (still) missing in action on the important values that resonate with the community – integrity and transparency in government. It is as if their defeat in May never happened.

Ordinary Australians would respect the party a lot more if Dutton stood by the report’s findings in defence of responsible government. Dismissing this censure reflects craven politics – it effectively says “nothing to see here”. Their former prime minister is responsible. The Liberal Party would do well to show some spine and declare who they are on this topic.
Tiffany Lovegrove, Croydon

Morrison’s actions undermined democratic process

I was shocked that the opposition chose to play political games and vote against the censure motion. An independent inquiry by a former High Court judge was totally critical about the secretive behaviour of our previous prime minister in taking action which, de facto, undermined our democratic process.

Understandably the opposition did not like the report – it was their government at the time. But to oppose the censure instead of simply abstaining means they support Scott Morrison in his secretive, autocratic behaviour – behaviour that has significantly undermined our democratic process. It follows that they are not disapproving of his actions, just embarrassed that he was found out.
Michael Cramphorn, Caulfield North

The Prime Minister pretending to be outraged

I watched Anthony Albanese’s pantomime performance, with his faux gravitas, during the censure motion of Scott Morrison. His speech reminded me of what a mediocre public speaker he is.
Dennis Walker, North Melbourne

Give Scott Morrison credit for his sheer audacity

One can only sit back in awe of a prime minister who signed himself up for multiple ministries in absolute secrecy, not even letting the ministers whose responsibilities he mirrored be aware they really only had a token positions, then stood up in Parliament and said in his defence, “Had I been asked about these matters at the time at the numerous press conferences I held, I would have responded truthfully about the arrangements I had put in place.“
Mel Green, Glen Waverley

Surely the former PM is blameless at every level

If only Labor MPs and journalists had been telepathically aware that Scott Morrison had secretly appointed himself to five extra ministries, he would have been able to answer questions honestly. See what you made him do.
Peter Russo, West Brunswick

Morrison should have apologised and resigned

So “censured Morrison comes out swinging” (The Age, 1/12). This has to be the pinnacle of arrogance. A person of integrity who has any care for his country or his colleagues would surely have resigned from Parliament and offered a sincere apology way before now.
Jan Dwyer, Rosebud

Loyalty to Parliament over loyalty to her party

Scott Morrison clearly and arrogantly broke the rules and needed to be censured. Unfortunately most politicians of all persuasions regard party loyalty as being above their loyalty to the Parliament (the people). How refreshing to see Liberal Bridget Archer voting with the government and for the censure motion, placing the authority of the Parliament over the authority of her party.
Rod Mackenzie, Marshall


Albanese’s lack of grace

In the past during a time of Labor leadership turmoil, Anthony Albanese nominated “fighting Tories” as a favourite pastime. However, now that he has been appointed to the high office of prime minister by the Australian people, he ought to show a little grace and maturity towards his predecessor, Scott Morrison.

The former prime minister, after all, acted in what he thought was the national interest. In the future Albanese may himself be in need of some of the grace he ought now be extending to Morrison.
Peter Curtis, Werribee South

Our inaccessible city

Megan Peniston-Bird says “to get into the city with my walker I use my car and, contrary to what some think, it’s very difficult to find a parking spot” (Letters, 1/12). She is right about parking, and some of us cannot even use trams, buses or trains. Melbourne, an impossible place to be.
Rosalind McIntosh, Camberwell

Risk of triggering a trigger

Finally, some research into the efficacy of trigger warnings (The Age, 30/11). I hope evidence and reason will help quell the divisive hostility around their use. Some culture warriors on both sides were getting so riled up by them, it was looking like we might need trigger warnings for the trigger warnings. How very meta.
Gregory Hill, Brunswick

Workers’ right to safety

Re: “Abusive parents to be banned by schools” (The Age, 30/11). Gail McHardy of Parents Victoria says that orders to ban parents “were open to misuse by principals, who could prematurely ban a parent before exhausting all other options”. No level of violence, threats or intimidation of school staff is acceptable. To permit these behaviours suggests to students that they are legitimate methods of conflict resolution. School staff are entitled to a safe workplace, as are all working people.
Mick Hussey, Beaconsfield

Dutton playing politics

As Pat Dodson explains (The Age, 1/12), the decision about the Voice is one of principle and the details can be thrashed out later by our elected representatives. Given our history is littered with examples of this approach (think World War I, World War II and our current support for Ukraine), it is very disappointing to see Peter Dutton deliberately muddying the waters by insisting on more detail upfront.

His refusal to grasp the significance of the Voice and demonstrate leadership on this significant opportunity to reconcile with Indigenous Australians shows he is modelling his style on Tony Abbott, who was combative and obstructionist, rather than John Howard.
Howard’s decisive action on gun control in 1996 when he stood up to vocal opposition earned huge respect in Australia and overseas. So far, Dutton’s contribution to the Voice debate shows he is more interested in playing politics than engaging constructively on important issues.
Matilda Bowra, Fitzroy North

Importance of respect

So the Nationals are concerned that a Voice for Indigenous Australians will not close the gap. Really? This is after eight years in power at the national level with little impact on the gap. The Nationals have earned little credibility on this matter. Australians need to under pin our treatment of our Indigenous folk with profound respect and the Voice will be another step in that direction. People who feel valued and respected are capable of closing many gaps.
Graeme Booth, Hawthorn

Still so many questions

There have been bodies which were meant to represent First Nations people in providing input into government decision making, established or recast by both major parties when in government. Did previous bodies fail because they reported solely to the minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs?

What does the current government have in mind? Will any such body’s concerns be brought to parliament through the minister? If not through the minister, will an annual report be required and be acceptable? The principle of the continent’s oldest nations having a say in our present nation is excellent, but the government needs to let us know what we will be asked to consider.
Andrew Moloney, Frankston

Gains from hard yakka

“More full-time workers seek second jobs” (The Age, 1/12) reminded me of my own struggles in the early ’70s. I taught full-time and my salary was $200 a week. It simply was not enough for rent, childcare and bills. We had no telephone and everything was second-hand or borrowed.

So, needs must. I took in two schoolgirl boarders and went out at night to work. I had a night class and then found a very lucrative job. Modelling for a life drawing class paid $20 an hour. In one night a week, I earned $60, almost a third of my money for a whole week in the classroom. Perseverance and persistence does reap rewards. I am now retired and live in my own home. Hard yakka makes us appreciate things more.
Evelyn Lawson, Karingal

In support of Pesutto

I am not a Liberal voter, but I believe the opposition in parliament needs a strong, effective leader for democracy to work. I am glad that John Pesutto has won the seat of Hawthorn and hope the Victorian Liberals elect him as their leader. He will have an uphill battle to recover honour and relevance for his party, especially in the outer suburbs and among the younger cohort of voters, but I believe he will be able to do it.
Elizabeth Sprigg, Glen Iris

Why west went anti-ALP

No wonder there was a swing away from the ALP in the Footscray electorate. Footscray was once Victoria’s heartland of industry. The only thing made in Footscray now is high-rise buildings.
Peter O’Brien, Newport

I’m still waiting, Premier

Now that the state election is over, would it be possible for one of the 90 people employed in Daniel Andrews’ office to reply to the letter I sent him in February and then re-sent in September? What do they all do all day if they do not have time to reply to voters?
Lorraine Bates, Balwyn

DA, you’ve gone too far

Re: Wordwit (Puzzles, 30/12), which asked readers to link various car parts to their Dutch version. DA, we managed to work it out thanks to our knowledge of Afrikaans. What next, a test in Swahili? In isuZulu? Maybe in Icelandic?
Bert and Barb Cassidy, Blackburn South

The early school hospital

Re: “Hospital school ‘changes students’ lives” (The Age, 1/12). As a historical note, my father started the first school in hospital in Hobart, in 1940. He was headmaster of the Dover State School when two of his sisters-in-law had daughters who were hospitalised with polio. He began by driving to Hobart a couple of times a week (an 84-kilometre drive over the mountains, on largely gravel roads, in wartime, with only rationed petrol coupons).

Through his membership of the teacher’s federation and the Masonic lodge, he enlisted the aid of local Hobart teachers. He also used every influence available as a member of the ruling Labor Party to get the Education Department to take it on as their responsibility. One of his sisters-in-law was heavily involved in the Liberal Party and she applied her efforts with them, so there was no opposition. State schooling was then extended to the Launceston General Hospital.
Rod Cripps, Parkdale

High cost of ’unhooking’

We have an outside, gas, storage water heater. This is like having a mini power station in our backyard. If it were an efficient electric, heat-pump water heater, we would be doing our pollution elsewhere with a combination of fossil and renewable fuels.

Our gas cook-top is doing its pollution inside the house. Our old gas room heater lies idle (it is too expensive to run and requires annual safety checks), so a reverse-cycle air-conditioner provides heating and cooling.

My gripe is that there are only incentives to switch from older electric appliances to newer efficient ones, not from gas to electric. There is a cost to “unhook” from the gas network. Some help would be appreciated. Dan Andrews?
Tom Upton, Bendigo

Demonising the helpless

Judy Kevill – “Helping those who need it” (Letters, 29/11) – encapsulated my thoughts exactly. The Liberal Party has often shown a lack of compassion for those who are “doing it tough”, often through circumstances beyond their control. On my part, I did not mock Scott Morrison for his religion but I was just so angry for his demonisation of welfare recipients and refugees.
Lynette Payne, Richmond

Memories of being ’Jeffed’

Shaun Carney forgot one sentence in his article (Comment, 30/11). As premier, Jeff Kennett was responsible for the closure of many government schools. Some of us will never forget what he achieved and how government education was almost destroyed.
Elaine Hurst, Ocean Grove

Lowe, so out of touch

Philip Lowe, the governor of the Reserve Bank, is sorry that people acted on his words. Not sorry for his pathetic, ill-conceived, disastrous comment. Then he tells workers that they should not get pay rises after his is guaranteed. It is time for him to go.
Roger Byrne, Elsternwick

The wages conundrum

Your correspondent says, “If the economy is slack you don’t get the business, which means you don’t get the income and you can’t pay higher wages” (Letters, 30/11). Workers are customers too and if they do not have disposable income, they can’t buy goods and pay for services. Therefore businesses will lose customers and may cease operating.
Robert Bradshaw, Ashwood

Loyal – but to who?

I have spent a sleepless night trying to work out the answer: Who did Princess Mary support in the Denmark-Australia match?
Loy Lichtman, Carnegie


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Censure motion

ScoMo said he could be “a bit off a bulldozer”. Make that a bullduster.
Hans Pieterse, Narre Warren North

Bridget Archer, my heroine. Doing what’s right is true leadership.
Robyn Stonehouse, Camberwell

Archer is the only member of the opposition with any moral compass. Shame, Liberals, shame.
Grace Brisbane-Webb, Skye

Is there an Evangelical order whose monks take a vow of silence?
Ron Burnstein, Heidelberg

Suggested title for the next book on Morrison: Australia? I Lost It My Way.
Venise Alstergren, Toorak

Labor has never forgiven Morrison for defeating Shorten. It’s got its revenge – but achieved nothing.
John Taylor, Brighton

Scott Morrison’s advice to Coalition colleagues – be sincere even if you don’t mean it.
Kevan Richards, Mount Helen

The dishonourable member for Cook clearly doesn’t understand the concept of contrition.
Anne Lyon, Camberwell

Maybe Scott Morrison has already secretly resigned.
Ron Slamowicz, Caulfield North


Indigenous Australians already have a voice to Parliament: the vote.
John Christiansen, St Kilda

Re Abbott’s new portrait (1/12). Nice shirtfront, Tony.
Ann Banham, Williamstown

Looking forward to the release of the full business case for the Suburban Rail Loop to demonstrate it’s a “you beaut” project.
Andrew McLean, Glen Iris

Two wonderful wins: the Socceroos against Denmark and the Liberals in Hawthorn. I’m proud to be Australian.
Diana Goetz, Mornington

I wonder if Princess Mary did a quiet little ″⁣yes″⁣ fist pump after the match.
Pete Sands, Monbulk

Victoria, the pothole state. Drive carefully.
John Whelen, Box Hill South

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