Honourable countries will accept responsibility
Trashing international consensus condemns us
The Prime Minister effectively declared Australia was going rogue with a veiled criticism of the United Nations and its global conventions and an assertion that Australia would essentially do what it liked in pursuit of our government’s view of “the national interest”. The UN was formed in the shadow of World War II when the powers arrayed against us were notably pursuing their separate national interests. It was an attempt to transcend nationalism to secure security, social progress and human rights for all the world’s citizens.
The reason for the Prime Minister’s attack is the international condemnation of Australia’s continuing contribution to global warming and its appalling record on human rights, most flagrantly the incarceration of child asylum seekers. Forgetting the lessons of history and trashing hard-won international consensus condemns us all.
Juliette Borenstein, North Fitzroy
But of course we are right and the world is wrong
The omniscience of our government is daily more amazing. International environmental experts are united in their view that Australia is failing to meet its obligations: but they are wrong. Financial experts across the land are exhorting the government to forget its obsession with a surplus and invest in infrastructure: but they are wrong. International refugee panels point out we are in serious contradiction of well-respected legal obligations: but they too are wrong. Expect “four legs good, two legs better” any day soon.
Les Littleford, Clifton Springs
Forgetting the wars that gripped the world
Scott Morrison’s grand oration was a marketing man’s spiel. Take away the fine words and spin, and you get the grim truth. Australia will thumb its nose at the UN on issues of its choosing. For the Coalition, that means action on climate change, support for struggling nations and refugees. Scorn for co-operative ventures such as the European Union and UN suggests little understanding of the lessons of history and the wars that gripped the world last century.
Mary Mack, Box Hill
Independence too with free trade agreements?
Scott Morrison insists that our government should not have to accept decisions by unaccountable international bodies at odds with the will of the Australian people. I trust this principle will ensure removal of any and all ISDS (Investor State Dispute Resolution) clauses in free trade agreements?
Rob Sutherland, Blackburn South
Many trapped in limbo
Our owners corporation was informed in March, via a form letter from the Victorian Building Authority, that our apartment block had flammable cladding. We would be told in “the next few weeks” whether it needed to be replaced. Your report suggests this may apply to 40,000 properties and who knows how many actual dwellings – “Rate rise despite value drop” (The Age, 4/10). How can potential sellers or buyers make a move with this hanging over their heads?
Warwick Ruse, Brunswick
Principles of insurance
My husband and I own a unit in a block of 20. We are required by law to have an owners corporation and to insure both our unit and the communal property. Recently we found out for the common property that the owners corporation’s manager was taking a 20per cent commission each year, quietly added on to the amount of the premiums and not declared as a fee.
We deduced that in a general way, we were being forced to pay for the insurance losses of the nation, increased by such matters as the cladding fiasco. Why was the cladding cost not billed to the incompetents who specified and approved it? Why should we be forced to accept communistic principles when our preference was to insure against only those losses that we specified, in a capitalist way?
The insurance business is almost a closed shop, where the reward for asking questions can be abuse. The way the insurers have structured the business is convenient and profitable for them. It does not follow that it is in the best interests of people like you and us.
Colleen Sherrington, Donvale
Why should we pay?
The Andrews government is spending $600million on buildings that need full or partial replacement of their flammable cladding. Why should taxpayers who have no commercial interest in these buildings have to pay to fix the problem? Is this socialism gone too far?
Ray Levingston, Mentone
Passing on our prejudice
The only way to tackle the current trend of dehumanising people through bullying, anti-Semitism (The Age, 4/10), sexism or racism is to call it what it is – misguided righteousness and power brokering. We need more parents like the mother of the young teenager who was photographed kissing the feet of a student in an anti-Semitic display of power and intimidation. Seek out the parents, detail the actions and effects, and tackle this as society. As a teacher and parent, I would be ashamed of my children for such behaviour. It is time parents called out this behaviour and recognised the voices uttered at home are what your child speaks to the world.
Paula Brown, Altona
And what part of “dirty Jew” or “Jewish cockroach” don’t these public school principals consider as not anti-Semitic? Or do they think that taunting Jews is normal and par for the course?
Henry Herzog, St Kilda East
Feel free to lean back
Referring to flying, Ben Groundwater says, “I’d rather eat my meals without the tray table [from the passenger in front] jabbing me in the chest” (Comment, 3/10). The tray is attached to the base of that seat frame. It does not move when the seat is reclined. There is no way it could push into your chest. The reclining seat moves the video screen a bit closer to you, but only by a few centimetres. At 185 centimetres, I have no trouble sitting behind a reclined seat.
Greg Walsh, Black Rock
How secure is my data?
With the latest hacks into various hospital systems (The Age, 3/10), and considering that these systems are integrated with the government’s My Health Record system, you really have to consider how safe is your private medical data.
Laurens Meyer, Richmond
Act for the survivors
Why has Health Minister Greg Hunt delayed for 12months the implementation of the recommendations of the Senate inquiry into government support for thalidomide survivors (The Age, 2/10)? Surely not the illusory surplus as there have already been unfunded, significant expenditures since May. There are only an estimated 100 thalidomide survivors in Australia today, few of whom expect to be alive in 15 years. The government’s failure to act now is unconscionable.
Elizabeth Douglas, Melbourne
Profits before workers
The cries of injustice by restaurateurs are nothing more than industry mantra and pathetic excuses for an illegal, immoral and entrenched business model practised by some to maximise profit at the expense of worker health, safety and income. The spotlight must keep shining on this industry.
Susan Russell, Queenscliff
RBA’s unnecessary cuts
Our economy is being trashed by the Reserve Bank’s constant rate cuts, urged on by the government. This serves only to exacerbate the housing bubble. Young first-home buyers are left in despair; with unaffordability already horrendous, officialdom aims to worsen it even further. The market is not allowed to level out.
Savers who keep their “rainy-day” money in term deposits, probably most of us, are the other big losers, to the detriment of the nation. Billions of dollars annually have been ripped from consumers’ hands as interest income plummets.
There is no light at the end of the tunnel because the Reserve Bank threatens harder times still. We are trapped in a perverse loop: rates are slashed supposedly to stimulate spending, the cuts rob consumers of spending power, consumption drops and rates are cut again.
Peter Freckleton, Hampton
Our lost assets
Shop around indeed for the best rates and services? If we had not privatised the assets that we used to own, we would not be in this mess. One only needs to think about health care, education, energy sources (the Gas & Fuel Corporation), council services, including waste management, banking (State Savings Bank, Commonwealth Bank), port authorities and employment services. Now it is only shareholders who receive the benefits. So think carefully how you vote.
Denise Stevens, Healesville
Force banks to comply
The Reserve Bank makes interest rate changes to improve the economy and indicates areas that most need attention. The banks then make their own decisions, based on their opinions which include furthering their own interests. The banks must be made to follow the original expert directions, and be penalised if they do not do this.
Maurice Morgan, Balwyn
The pollies we need
Jenna Price (Comment, 4/10), all a representative needs is a will to listen, learn and walk in someone else’s shoes. All politicians can do this, whatever their previous experience. The problem is that many of them do not. The comment from the Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston, that an increase in Newstart would end up in the hands of drug dealers and pub owners, stemmed from willful ignorance and a sense of entitlement. That is a choice that a politician of whatever experience makes or resists.
Marguerite Heppell, East Hawthorn
How lucky is ScoMo?
How good is Albo? It’s nearly five months since the federal election and no policy or vision has been laid out. The Prime Minister should buy a ticket in Tatts.
David Carlyon, Sandringham
The answer to the question, “What does the acronym ACCC stand for?” (Superquiz, 4/10) was incorrect. Sadly it stands for very little other than weak-kneed wrist slapping of some companies while others continue to do as they please. The government is full of self-praise that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission exists. However, as it continually under-resources ASIC or reduces its funding, it remains inconsequential.
Michael Nolan, Capel Sound
AND ANOTHER THING
Surely the witch-hunted Trump isn’t organising a witch-hunt of Biden in China?
Glenn Sutherland, Campbell’s Creek
Mr Morrison, it’s time to dump the Trump.
Ian Baker, Castlemaine
Downer would be advised to avoid travel to the US as he might be arrested and charged with “treason”.
Garry Meller, Bentleigh
Scott, beware your bromance with Donald. You may well end up making love and war.
Jon Smith, Leongatha
Is anyone actually governing the US?
Mark Morrison, Kew
Reg Murray, Glen Iris
Morrison singing nationalism while Australia gets ready to burn.
Jenny Lobato, Coburg
Australia was a proud part of “negative globalism” directed against apartheid when we were a decent country.
Kishor Dabke, Mount Waverley
The brain-shrinking fungus has been on the menu of parliamentary dining rooms for many years.
Ian Powell, Glen Waverley
I listen to our PM and I hear an advertising man. I can’t even hear the Opposition Leader.
John Bye, Elwood
Cut taxpayer subsidies for politicians who make ludicrous suggestions.
Campbell Aitken, Brunswick
I live in hope MPs will force telcos to stop scammers and prosecute those calling from Australia.
John Meaney, Frankston South
What makes children anti-Semites (4/10)? Perhaps we should look at our political leaders whose rhetoric enables fear and divisiveness.
Gary Bryfman, Brighton
It might be simpler to publish a list of restaurants that pay staff properly.
Susan Scalise, Ascot Vale
It’s a sure bet the merger of two gambling giants (4/10) won’t reduce the number of gambling addicts or increase the number of “winners”.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill
*Sign up to editor Alex Lavelle’s exclusive weekly newsletter at: www.theage.com.aueditornote.