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Credit: Illustration: Vintage Andrew Dyson
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Trusting and hoping that fairness will prevail
Re “What have you done for us lately?” (Comment, 27/7). It is difficult to argue against Bob Carr’s assessment of the status of Julian Assange’s crucial release from Britain’s Belmarsh Prison and his repatriation home to Australia. It is clearly up to the American president to make that call, especially as Barack Obama released Chelsea Manning, the person responsible for dumping the savage data onto WikiLeaks.
What we don’t know is how forceful Anthony Albanese has been with the US administration (I suspect very forceful) and what timeframe Biden has put on the imminent release.
I suspect the fair-minded Australian community would be incandescent should extradition to the US, and a subsequent trial, occur. I suspect Biden has assured Albanese that Assange’s release and repatriation will occur once the internal politics in the US can accept the decision. One can only hope and trust that fairness will prevail and he will be set free … or am I being naive?
Maurie Johns, Mount Eliza
Ignoring a request from ’obsequious client state’
Bob Carr is ignoring the realpolitik at play when he contrasts Barack Obama’s pardoning of Chelsea Manning with Joe Biden’s refusal to intervene in the case of Julian Assange. Manning was tried, convicted and jailed for seven years before being pardoned by Obama towards the end of his final term in office.
Assange is yet to be tried, and any initiative to procure his release would require Biden to pressure his administration to withdraw charges which have been laid under national security laws. This would outrage Republicans and potentially be political suicide for Biden as an election year approaches. Biden would be aware that there are no adverse consequences for him in ignoring a request from an obsequious client state of the US.
John Lambrick, Malvern
Why isn’t Albanese using our bargaining chips?
I agree with Bob Carr. Where is the vision we hoped Labor would show on housing, jobs, health, education? This prime minister is without a vestige of brave or forward thinking, so vanilla. Prime minister, you have so many bargaining chips to use with the United States – the AUKUS deal, the nuclear target of Pine Gap, visiting nuclear submarines and don’t start me on the ongoing incarceration of Julian Assange. Unless Labor shows some spine, it will go the same way as the Coalition. And worse, the Coalition will be back in power to take Australia even further to the right.
Vaughan Greenberg, Chewton
The deal where Australia is the loser and US wins
Bob Carr’s article crystallised my understanding of Australia’s status as a US ally of zero consequence, and filled me with red-hot fury. Billions spent on facilitating US regional dominance “materially weakening our own security” and rendering us a key target of the Chinese military. Yet our boy (Julian Assange) rots in jail long after the “Yank” (Chelsea Manning) has gone free. What kind of deal is that?
Patrice McCarthy, West Bendigo
Just a few bad apples
With 645 councillors and 79 councils in Victoria, why is the corrupt action of two councillors seen as tainting all councils and councillors (The Age, 28/7)?
Over nearly 20 years in local government working with councils across the state, I found most in the sector to be hardworking and dedicated to outcomes in the public interest. By contrast, corrupt conduct by an individual minister, MP, business executive or even premier is not seen as tainting the entire sector bringing retribution against all.
Bad eggs in every sector need to be exposed. But there is no expectation that centralising planning controls in the state will lead to better community outcomes in the public interest.
Jackie Fristacky, Carlton North
The special ’gifts’
It is a fact that developers offer bribes/incentives/gifts to local government planning officers and councillors. I was once a councillor and reported such “instances” to my respective CEOs. The removal of planning powers from local government would remove a great threat to democracy.
Ange Kenos, Niddrie
Easing the rental crisis
With so many people working from home on a permanent basis, there is a glut of vacant office space in the city. Instead of stripping away council powers and building high-rise towers which nobody wants in the suburbs, surely refitting these vacant city offices is a quicker and easier solution to the rental accommodation crisis.
Michele Finey, Altona Meadows
Our right to choose
The state government has banned all new developments from connecting to gas from next year (The Age, 28/7). Victorians who live there will not be able to choose whether to have electricity and/or gas; their homes will be fitted with electric or induction stove tops, and solar or electric hot water systems will be used instead of gas heating. The last time I voted, I thought we lived in a democracy with free choice. Why not implement that new homes, and especially government public housing, install solar panels, batteries and electric car charging to benefit the residents and reduce the reliance on fossil fuels?
Karina Davison, Heidelberg Heights
Our development mania
Back in the ’70s I had a business in central Melbourne and thus a vote for the city council. As part of a majority of voters, we got rid of a proposal to “redevelop” the Queen Victoria Market. Current voters need to do the same.
Watching the Tour de France on television, I saw a bustling market going on in an old, wooden building built in 1440. In my travels, I have admired other very old markets which are still in vibrant use. How have these cities squashed the mania for “development”?
Loch Wilson, Northcote
Why drivers need to look
It is all well and good to tell cyclists to wear bright clothing and have bright lights on their bicycles (Letters, 27/7). I wear High Vis and have bright lights on my bicycle, yet I have still have near misses with drivers who just are not looking. This problem does not only affect cyclists. I am a bicycle and motorcycle rider, and car and tram driver. I can assure you that many drivers fail to see an 18tonne tram.
James Proctor, Maiden Gully
Speaking truth to power
Dr Chris Jones (The Age, 27/7) is to be applauded for having the courage to speak out about the appalling situation for distressed asylum seekers being detained on Nauru who had serious medical needs, and the corruption of politics and businesses running the offshore detention facilities. He should not have had to wrangle to get a very sick boy to Brisbane for further medical treatment, nor should he have been treated with hostility by a manager and Australian Border Force officials. This is despicable. I am ashamed to be Australian.
Joy Hayman, Surrey Hills
The battle to get help
Your editorial rightly states that Victoria’s health system requires more work than building more hospitals (The Age, 26/7). In particular, the state of mental health treatment has declined from its already substandard levels. My mental health issues have required the intervention of CATT (Crisis Assessment and Treatment Teams) in the past. Now I hear stories of non-intervention.
No response to crisis, assessment de facto delegated to the community, and treatment having to be organised by friends, family or concerned strangers. The teams are overwhelmed and under-resourced. This does not merely affect the patient; this affects their entire community.
Economic conditions put huge strain on mental health. Those with illness are more likely to suffer episodes under stress, and that is growing. The homeless population is most vulnerable and I wonder how much the housing shortage is contributing to the problem. Mental health deserves urgent attention.
Michael Puck, Maffra
Long wait for our mum
Maybe the Aged Care Minister should look at a revamp of the home care package system as well as better care within aged care homes. Our mum waited 18 months before her level 2 package came through. In the last six months, we have been trying to apply for level 4 funding for her. Conflicting advice was given about who should apply for this added funding. Was it our GP, our aged care provider or us? No one knew. It was all hit and miss.
Finding out when ACAS (Aged Care Assessment Service) would come and assess her needs was worse. Our mum died in early July. No further information about when level 4 funding would come through materialised. If you are going to develop a program such as this, the assessment process needs to be timely and the funding readily available. Oh and we are still waiting to hear from ACAS.|
Catherine Gerardson, Watsonia North
The righteous approach
“Got a Minute” (Life, 27/7) referenced a question regarding a compulsory Acknowledgement of Country address preceding every meeting in the correspondent’s workplace. Rather than addressing the coercion associated with such a dictum, the author admonished the writer to accept it on the basis of an implicit, and self-evident, righteousness. Would she have replied in the same manner if a company had mandated the Lord’s Prayer before every meeting or the saluting of the Australian flag at the start of the day?
Mike Pantzopoulos, Ashburton
How low can you go?
Kerri Sackville – “A 71-year-old Bachelor? Expect brutal competition” – (Comment, 27/7) failed to mention The Simpsons’ favourite reality show: Promiscuous Idiots Island.
Chris Adams, Newstead
Finding another $1100
Shane Wright’s article should be titled “The RBA’s pathetic bludgeoning of the lower and middle classes yields even more pain” (Comment, 27/7). The bank has one tool to manage inflation – interest rates – and it has shown that this is ineffective. The problems of inflation should have a multifaceted approach. And controlling it should not require foreclosures, unemployment and poverty.
The RBA’s current structure and job description is outdated. If it really was brilliant at its job, and if raising interest rates was the “best” way to handle inflation, it shouldn’t have taken over a year to do it. I am not worried about an extra 50 cents on my loaf of bread. Instead I am freaking out about my mortgage having gone up $1100 per month. Now that’s a lot of bread.
Aaron Lenzing, Carrum Downs
The guys will be OK
Re “I’m going solo, and my boyfriend will cope” (Comment, 27/7). In 2019 I spent eight weeks travelling through Europe and the United Kingdom by myself and I had an amazing time. I left my husband at home to fend for himself and he survived.
Christine Hammett, Richmond
Surely the best won
An interesting quote from a commentator after the Matilda’s lost to Nigeria: “The best team doesn’t always win.“
Ron Mather, Melbourne
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit: Illustration: Matt Golding
Money can’t buy you love .., but, by golly, it can buy you a whole lot of local councillors.
Myra Fisher, Brighton East
Re IBAC (28/7). Another “educational” report for the premier.
Geoff Feren, St Kilda East
Not only is our offshore detention of refugees cold, calculated cruelty, it is corrupt to boot. Shameful.
Anne Sgro, Coburg North
Bridget McKenzie wants Daniel Andrews to face a Senate inquiry over the Games cancellation (26/7). This from the woman who was embroiled in the sports rorts scandal.
John Cain, McCrae
I’m with Bob Carr (27/7). If not now, then when is it time for our government to push for the release of Julian Assange?
Yvonne Hunter, Armstrong Creek
Dear prime minister, when will Julian Assange be released?
Barry Revill, Moorabbin
Good news for a change (28/7). New Victorian homes will be banned from connecting to gas from January 1.
Mary Fenelon, Doncaster East
The last thing we need is another double dissolution (28/7). The last one under the short reign of Turnbull left us all totally disillusioned.
John Bye, Elwood
It’s a shame we won the toss in this Test. Now we can’t whinge about losing the toss any more.
Greg Hardy, Upper Ferntree Gully
Collingwood Football Club: never give up, never surrender.
Darren Grindrod, Glenroy
If you’re worried about AI taking over the world, you can always switch it off at the power point.
Henry Herzog, St Kilda East
Vale “Sinead the brave” O’Connor. More guts in her little finger than zillions of others put together. RIP.
Tris Raouf, Hadfield
Recently I visited the new VicRoads customer hub in Ringwood. Its only access had a few stairs and there was no customer car park. Go figure.
Irene Zalstein, East Doncaster
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