Let’s move on from being scripted characters.
Jaroslaw Kotiw, Strathfieldsaye
Switch your focus, please
Why is it politicians from all sides use the lead up to an election to hand out money purely in order «buy» votes. Do they think we don’t know what they are doing? This is money that could and should have been allocated over the term of a government, not «saved up» to win an election.
Can we ever again get a political party that focuses on what is best for us and the country, rather than purely on winning elections?
Graeme Abram, Malvern
How to swing a swinging voter
Two flyers just appeared in our letterbox. One from Labor, one from the Liberals. The ALP had a list of policies the party would be addressing. The Liberal card contained a list of taxes Labor would be imposing – with several of the claims dubious to say the least.
I am a swinging voter, but there is no way I will support a platform that relies on negativity, dubious truths and in some cases downright lies, without giving any information about their own plans. The Morrison strategy looms more like a Trump one everyday. «Whatever it takes.»
Les Littleford, Clifton Springs
Return of the old warhorse a sign of desperation
In a sign of desperation Scott Morrison decides to trot out John Howard. What is it with the Liberal Party that they think it a selling point to campaign with a former prime minister whose hubris cost his party government and him a seat held for 33 years – only the second time this has occurred since federation. I guess when politicians feel vulnerable they will do and say anything.
It’s time for Mr Morrison to look to the future for inspiration.
Brandon Mack, Deepdene
A study in contrasts
We just had a six-year experience with the tearing up of civil society by the internally fractured Coalition government.
The election campaign seems to bring the worst out of the current Prime Minister: bullying, aggressiveness and a total lack of respectful listening to the electorate in the absence of real policies. And it seems to come to him so naturally.
Bill Shorten may not have all the answers to the challenges of our time, but at least he tries to address the problems in a calm way. It takes a lot of character to stay calm and positive under the onslaught of negative nastiness for the sake of it.
Ute Mueller, Lapoinya Tas.
Palmer deal should alarm us
Scott Morrison’s preference deal with Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party has to be seen in its entirety. For what it says about the unpaid workers from Palmer’s nickel refinery in Townsville, as in total disinterest, and more broadly it reveals little sympathy for Australian workers in any part of our country.
Voters should be alarmed at this view of the future.
Hugh McCaig, Blackburn
Protecting what we have
It is alarming and equally worrying to look at hundreds of comments on social media websites defending Fraser Anning and his supporter who attacked a journalist and photographer on Friday. Journalists and other members of the media should not be subject to any threat or physical abuse for doing their jobs.
Gradually we are slipping onto a dangerous path to extreme far-right nationalist, racist politics. Every passing day these far-right leaders and their supporters are getting bolder and more daring.
As a result, a reaction is developing such as racist graffiti in public places, harassment of African and Muslim communities in public places, and increased threats against places of worship.
As a civic society we must come united against all such people who incite violence, hate and division.
Aziz Ahmad, Clyde North
The slippery slope awaits
The success of multicultural Australia, and our involvement in the formation and maintenance of international organisations and agreements has been a wonderful example to the world.
The tribal bastardry that Scott Morrison has aped from mentors like John Howard – or the derision expressed by colleagues like Tony Abbott about the United Nations – cannot be reconciled with Australia’s frequently touted self-image.
Their gall in presuming to pontificate about Australian values is sickening. If most Australians lack the wit and heart to reject the conservative rump of the Coalition, then we are on a slippery slope to a very different Australia and a fundamental rewrite of values.
Norman Huon, Port Melbourne
Why are they forgotten?
John Hewson has touched on why this election campaign is not resonating with voters, but there is an area all parties are not addressing. Both major parties are rushing to field female candidates in an effort to attract the female vote, but nothing is put forward to address the fastest-growing demographic of older women being homeless.
For these women, when they did work it was for less money with no superannuation. If they got married many had to give up work. If they raised children there was very little child support and often they also had to care for elderly relations.
These women were often house proud, busy on school committees, on fundraising drives for better facilities at their children’s schools, and if they were lucky enough to find work it was often menial so as to fit in with school schedules or family commitments. Yet as they get older they are ignored and forgotten because they don’t have the funds to support their retirement, especially if they happen to be divorced.
This is a shabby way to treat older women who through no fault of their own end up in the fastest-growing area of homelessness.
Joy Herring, Tenby Point
Back to the USSR?
While the creaky old Soviet state existed, it played one useful role in reminding Western capitalism of what could happen if wealth was not reasonably shared.
Since its demise, a plethora of billionaires/multimillionaires and their hangers-on have emerged to shape Western economies in their own interests and squeeze the conditions of wage earners.
But now, as Peter Hartcher reports (27/4), many of the new sun kings are losing faith in the system they virtually own and are seeking survivalist boltholes in quasi-socialist New Zealand.
However, if the cataclysmic collapse of capitalism that they fear occurs, it will be the working commoners who will, as usual, suffer most in the ensuing chaos. The balance in liberal democracy has shifted against the majority; a resurgence of progressive, democratic socialism is overdue.
Peter McCarthy, Mentone
It works for us
Many people in Brunswick, Reuben Cooper (Letters, 27/4), will be proud to see a local disused chemical silo graced by the mural of Jacinda Ardern comforting a terrorism survivor.
Such an artwork is in keeping with the City of Moreland’s motto: «One community, proudly diverse». If that is «a political statement», then so be it. That’s how we think in these parts.
Mike Puleston, Brunswick
A litany of failure
Scott Morrison fails in his promises for the nation. The Liberals were forced to confront the banking industry betrayal of its clients for decades. They were dragged into aged care and NDIS inquiries because the people they are supposed to be taking care of are not being helped. Then there is the Murray-Darling mismanagement. Our energy prices are still unaffordable and there is no clear climate change policy. Wages and growth are not as fantastic as Josh Frydenberg would have us believe.
The shock that the Liberals would align themselves with the notorious Clive Palmer should tell us something about their hypocrisy. And now we learn the headspace program is not meeting mental healthcare expectations, another example of how this government underachieves in all areas.
Despite all their rantings about how incompetent the opposition is, their failure to deliver policies and programs that actually work is typical of a party at war with itself, unable to function and serve as an ethically responsible government should.
Debb Schmetzer, W Tree
Open the game to others
Since 1995, Essendon and Collingwood have had the exclusive right to play on Anzac Day at the MCG. Is this fixture so important to the finances of the AFL and the two competing teams that no other team can participate regardless of how good they might be or how many members/supporters they have and regardless of their financial state?
The year’s «draw» is then automatically compromised, firstly by this match and then by the weighting of certain games and venues, again influenced by perceived ability, geography and grounds availability. This effectively disadvantages lower and improving teams and therefore their ability to attract membership support.
Regardless of the «boo-stirring» last week by Essendon fans and most certainly over a much longer period by Collingwood devotees, all teams should be eligible to play the Anzac Day match, perhaps on some form of rotation rather than the same two, year after year.
Bill Longden, Hampton
To boo is human
What’s all this about booing at the footy? Booing has been around since before the gladiators in the Colosseum.
It’s the crowd mind – they boo and cheer and feel as one. Sure, the crowd mind is way less than the sum of its parts and some booing is reprehensible (as is some cheering) but it’s human nature, for better orworse.
The current brouhaha is probably due to inflammation of the outrage nerve from antisocial media addiction. Suggested treatment: get over it, move on.
John Laurie, Newport
See it from our side
The article about climbers in the Grampians («Caught between a rock and a sacred place», The Age, 27/4) had so many inaccuracies, and left me feeling so misrepresented, that I felt compelled to write in.
It upsets me that Parks Victoria has taken this hard stance without any consultation. More so, it offends me that the taxes I pay help fund a government organisation that is not held accountable for the misinformation it is spreading.
There are many other better qualified and eloquent voices that can refute the claims in the article: of the 80,000 climbers a year statistic, of the misleading photos on Parks Victoria’s website, since taken down, of «climber bolts» in Indigenous artwork, and the «portable drills» that climbers supposedly carry.
But I don’t want to do that.
I’d like to invite you to come climbing, to sit in the dirt for a few hours, study and feel the intricacies and the beauty of the incredibly unique rock that makes Gariwerd so special. Switch off and enjoy the slowness of being outside in an amazing location with peers who feel the same.
Let your body be strained, your mind be pushed and see another side to this issue.
Sally Adness, Clifton Hill
Narrow the forecast
The weather bureau is teasing us again. Overly optimistic forecasts of significant rainfall a week ahead only to be followed by daily declining predictions as deluge day approaches.
Why do they bother? Clearly it is more difficult to predict rainfall than temperatures, for which they are mostly quite accurate. Wouldn’t it be better to just indicate the possibility of rain ahead and only issue projected totals, say, one to two days in advance, when they can be more certain of their accuracy?
Maybe that way we would not have to suffer continually having our hopes raised and then cruelly dashed as the expected downpours fail to materialise.
Greg Hardy, Upper Ferntree Gully
Why stop there?
Right on, Cushla McNamara (Letters, 27/4). Along with not identifying citizens by their religion why don’t we also stop identifying citizens as «father of four» etc as if this is adds value to their situation?
Child-free people are also worthy citizens.
Gillian Humphries, Eltham
Plenty of material here
In an article on underpayment of staff by Chatime (The Age, 27/4), a head office internal note to staff is referenced describing the underpayment as a «system error».
That saintly philosopher, Schopenhauer, himself a successful businessman, observed that our financial errors are typically to our own advantage, and it’s interesting that these ubiquitous «system errors» surfacing in underpaying companies never seem to result in overpayment but always its opposite.
Why is that, I wonder?
As the psychiatrist observed in a Fawlty Towers episode, «There’s enough material here for a seminar.»
Barry Webster, Thornbury
A double own-goal
The Clermont publicans may not understand why coal is bad for the planet. But in a double own-goal, they’ve alienated potential tourists and given the Stop Adani convoy some invaluable publicity.
Mary Mack, Box Hill
AND ANOTHER THING
Scott Morrison thinks he can try anything for a quick photo opportunity, but shearing a sheep was a bad choice.
Kaye Jones, Nagambie
Isn’t it about time someone beamed Scotty up?
Dawn Richards, Huntingdale
A vote for Bill Shorten is a vote for Bill Shorten. A vote for Scott Morrison is a vote for Clive Palmer, whoops, Scott Morrison.
Philip West, Jan Juc
I’m absolutely disgusted with the flood of nonsensical political advertising from Clive Palmer; I’ve broken the mute button on my TV remote control.
Geoff Perston, Yarram
The LNP has no philosophical problems with gender-based quotas for our refugee intake but still rejects them to get more women into Parliament. Odd?
Malcolm Fraser, Oakleigh South
Brett Byrne (Letters, 27/4), I’d like the crowd to start booing those annoying announcers that always have too much to say too loudly during the breaks.
Craig Tucker, Williamstown
The booing of Essendon supporters on Anzac Day pales into insignificance when compared to the vile, racist degradation of Nicky Winmar and Gilbert McAdam at Victoria Park in 1993.
David Seal, Balwyn North
Now that the player taking the kick in after a behind is scored can play on without bouncing the ball or kicking the ball to themselves, what is the point of the goal square?
William Peacock, Caulfield North
Why is the government so concerned about a proposed 1500 jobs from the Adani coal mine when they were quite happy to see the end of 50,000 jobs lost through shutting down our car industry?
Graeme Henchel, Yarra Glen
There is not much point watering a farm if you have to kill a river to do it.
Hylton Reid, Glen Waverley