Leeser gives us hope for democracy

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Andrew DysonCredit: .

So refreshing to see a prominent individual act to his own detriment on a point of principle (″⁣Dutton’s folly exposed by an act of integrity″⁣, 12/4). Integrity has long formed the core values of our political and professional institutions and yet, far too often, those values have been undermined by members focused on their immediate self-interest. While some within and outside the Liberal Party will decry Julian Leeser’s action on just those grounds, his decision is to be applauded as a small but significant step to restore the electorate’s hope that our democracy may rise from the self-interested mire into which it has been sinking.
Chris Young, Surrey Hills

Park the Liberal Party in a heritage listing
If Julie Szego is suggesting that the Liberal Party should be heritage-listed (Comment, 12/4), I’m in. If a brutalist 1970s car park is deemed to have cultural value worth preserving for posterity, you can certainly make a convincing case for looking at the Liberals in a similar way. Freeze them in time, put them on the shelf as a historic curiosity, just don’t expect them to actually do anything or add anything useful to society. And don’t even try to think of how they might be repurposed to suit modern political perceptions. After all, that could destroy their heritage value.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale

A party without purpose
Good article, Julie Szego (Comment, 12/4), brutalist car parks are unattractive but do serve a purpose, while the fractured Liberal Party seems to have lost its sense of purpose.
Mary Cole, Richmond

The Liberals allow conscientious objectors
To all those looking on with glee at Julian Leeser resigning from the opposition frontbench over his party’s position on the Voice – can you imagine if he was in the Labor Party and publicly opposed party policy? He would have been expelled from the party.
At least the Liberal Party allows people to vote according to their conscience without ending their political career. The Labor Party affords people no such freedom – it’s either vote with the party line or you’re out.
The Albanese government has been so sneaky and underhanded with the way in which it is trying to bring in the Voice to parliament. They won’t even tell people the wording of the legislation to bring in the Voice until after the referendum. They are asking us to vote for something without even knowing what powers it is going to have.
This is dangerous territory, and something that needs to be opposed until we have all the information at hand.
Matt Eggleston, West Perth, WA

The answer could be blowing in the wind
The Aston byelection result, Ken Wyatt’s resignation and now the shadow attorney-general’s frontbench defection individually reflect poorly on Peter Dutton’s leadership. Taken together, they show him to be out of touch with the political mood. Among former and current members of the parliamentary party, Wyatt and Leeser’s reactions on the Voice are revealing. Liberal MPs who are observant of their electorates are likely starting to think the same way. The question seems to be, can a majority of Mr Dutton’s parliamentary colleagues now smell well enough to sniff the political wind? If the answer to that is yes, expect a leadership challenge and for him to be gone as leader in less than a month.
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills

Coalition’s breathtaking hypocrisy
The Coalition’s objection to the Voice being able to make representation to parliament and the executive is breathtaking in its hypocrisy, considering they have no trouble engaging with the lobby industry.
Lucy Niu, Mount Waverley


Fund the regions
I am a practising nurse of nearly 40 years. Decades ago when I worked in metropolitan hospitals, as Ingrid O’Neill (Letters, 12/4) does, I would lament the technology and resources that the Royal Children’s Hospital had at its disposal, as a consequence of the generosity of many Victorians, that other hospitals were denied.
These days I ponder the irony of the social media commentary from regional people, comparing which town raised what amount of money for the RCH appeal.
Many selfless, hard-working regional people are contributing to the increasing centralisation of resources that then forces them to travel sometimes thousands of kilometres a week to access these resources at the RCH for their sick and suffering children.
With respect to all other people across the lifespan, this inequitable access is further amplified. We cannot live without the RCH and its dedicated, hard-working staff. However, I wonder how long we can sustain this inequitable, centralised model of healthcare.
Monika Samolyk, Wangaratta

Devolve the RCH
It’s all in the name. People donate freely and generously because it’s a Royal, it’s for children, and it’s a hospital.
It would be a betrayal of faith of the people who donate to share the Royal Children’s Hospital funds, but there is a solution that would benefit everyone.
Devolve the RCH into regional hospitals. The RCH would own and operate units as part of the smaller local hospitals. There would be so many benefits of this approach to bring the RCH closer to the children and their families.
David Hassett, Blackburn

Sharing is caring
Your correspondent (Letters, 12/4) writes that all hospitals need funds. Some years ago an article in The Age suggested the annual Good Friday Appeal be shared each year around other hospitals. I doubt this will ever happen, due to the strong marketing and emotion involved in a children’s hospital. It seems that there is a continuous flow of cash to the Royal Children’s Hospital on a regular basis, which is understandable. As is the envy of other hospitals for all the equipment. It would be great to share.
Anne Flanagan, Box Hill North

War crime accountability
With more war crime prosecutions imminent, it is reassuring that Australia has a Defence Force chief general dedicated to ensuring accountability among the nation’s service members (12/4). The Nuremberg principles enunciated following the defeat of the Nazi regime 70 years ago summed up what is at stake: ″⁣Crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law be enforced.″⁣ Spurious ″⁣fog of war″⁣ rationalisations for criminal acts should not be countenanced.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza

What the world needs now

How wonderful that Jerzy Skolimowski’s film EO “is made out of love for nature and for animals” (“Empathy in the eye of a donkey”, 12/4). Our world now needs love more than ever, for one another, animals and plants.
Barbara Fraser, Burwood

Remarks of the time
Former PM Robert Menzies was a politician of his time and clearly a very popular and successful one. Some of his remarks and comments from his era clash sharply with our changed attitudes today. It makes us think about how some of our commentary might be regarded in the future. Cheap shots and derogatory putdowns always were, and always will be, inappropriate and offensive.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris

The icing on the lamington

With the end of the ″⁣lamington″⁣ tax offset and the still likely stage 3 tax cuts we have a most egregious example of a reverse Robin Hood (Comment, 12/4). In effect, money that mostly went to the poor (lamington) will substantially help fund a tax break the goes mostly to the rich (stage 3). Hard to believe that this will happen under the governance of the workers’ party.
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha

Watch those tentacles
Given this week’s biggest US security leak since WikiLeaks in 2010, French President Emmanuel Macron’s warning on the supremacy of sovereignty should serve as a timely reminder to Australia as we embed ourselves ever more deeply into the tentacles of the US national security network.
Kevin Burke, Sandringham

Green space lament
Ah, Isabelle Henry (Letters, 12/4), perhaps you could have a chat to some of our councils that approve the concrete behemoths which are apparently necessary to house a family of four in suburbs such as Glen Waverley. Monstrous places with little to no garden space, no trees, and only the occasional small bush or drought resistant plant to satisfy planning. When councils and VCAT develop a spine and refuse to approve the loss of green space that is important to our wellbeing, maybe we shall have some respect for them.
Wendy Hinson, Wantirna

A special man
Artist John Olsen was very special and will be a great loss to the nation. When he returned from Europe with his family he stayed at “Dunmoochin ” near Hurstbridge. His children attended Arthur’s Creek Primary School and John agreed to be on the school council. I was fortunate enough to be the headmaster at the time. John’s advice was much appreciated and I can still remember him telling me to roll out large pieces of paper down the corridor and allow the preps to paint with large blocks of colour. He also suggested running an art show in the local hall. This went ahead successfully in 1970 with John’s help.
His children Timothy and Louis are a credit to John and Valerie (deceased) and are both highly regarded in the art world. I extend my deepest sympathies to them.
Paul Chivers, Box Hill North

Diplomatic protest needed

Much diplomacy is rightly carried out away from public scrutiny. In the absence of any media reports, one can only hope that Australia’s Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, is making robust representations to the Israeli government about its increasingly assertive assault on Palestinian human rights. The latest provocation (“Defiant settlers march into West Bank”, 12/4) is brazen. To have Israeli cabinet ministers participate in a show of support for ultranationalist Jewish settlers, protected by Israeli security forces, is a deplorable act of collusion. While it has been heartening to see Israeli citizens protest in the hundreds of thousands week after week at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies, it is disappointing that they have not been taking to the streets to protest over the settler movement. At the least Australia should be lodging its own diplomatic protest.
Tom Knowles, Parkville

No EV signs to be seen
Having just returned from driving between Melbourne and Adelaide, I counted 10 Tesla cars travelling towards Melbourne between Horsham and Tailem Bend. I was disappointed to notice that there was not one sign at the entrance to any town to say if, and where, they had EV charging facilities.
I know the phone apps, and some GPS systems, show charge point locations, but at this early stage of the EV transition, it is important that EV infrastructure is obvious, and normalised. Every little town in New Zealand advertises the fact, because they want the owners to stop, and spend money in the town.
Rod Cripps, Parkdale

Show me the money
Geoff Mostyn (Letters, 11/4) is right. It’s one of the mysteries of life that, whereas the internet operates 24/7, apparently the banks’ computers are unable to. In similar circumstances when money sent to friends has been unavailable to me, or to them, for several days, I’ve written to the banks and asked where my money has been in the intervening days. They simply refuse to answer.
Friends have said to me that my money gets lumped together with that of many others and somehow disappears overnight to Switzerland or Singapore to earn income for my bank. But I’m sure that’s not right, is it?
Tony Adami, Caulfield South

Voice to be visible
At our secondary school we are studying a collection of poems by Charmaine Papertalk Green and John Kinsella called False claims of colonial thieves.
It is a rich and provoking commentary on the invasion and settling of Australia.
As our year 12 students grapple with the poems, most of them will be eligible to vote on the referendum to give Indigenous people the Voice to parliament. Most of the students would remember Papertalk Green’s lamentation “Why are we still invisible?” And hopefully they will acknowledge that the Voice gives Indigenous people an emphatic visibility.
Marcellene D’Menzie,
Clifton Hill

Giving graffiti a spray
I recently spent three months in Melbourne, my home town. I was shocked at the extent of graffiti tainting every part of the city. I spent several months in France last year and, as with Canada, there are strict and obviously effective laws about this type of vandalism. Melbourne is such a beautiful city and seeing lovely historical buildings or even new ones fouled with graffiti is heartbreaking.
The city needs to get way tougher on the people doing this, such as more specific surveillance, hefty fines and restricting the age of sale of spray paint.
Sheryl Murie,
Toronto, Canada

Chuck the public holiday
Please can we not have a public holiday for the coronation of King Charles III. He may be our head of state, but he has little relevance to us these days.
Employers carried the cost of a holiday in penalty rates or work closure for the Queen’s death and should not have a second holiday forced on them in the same year.
Jenny Callaghan, Hawthorn


The Voice
Julian Leeser, a Liberal with a conscience. They should bottle him.
Phil Alexander, Eltham

Peter Dutton’s assertion that Australians planning to vote Yes in the referendum are motivated by a ″⁣feel good vibe″⁣ could not be more insulting to those of us on the Yes side.
Reg Murray, Glen Iris

Is the Voice turning the Liberal Party into the Lonely Party?
Don Stewart, Port Fairy

Peter Dutton’s Voice objections are as ridiculous as Barnaby Joyce’s $100 roasts and Scott Morrison’s EV destruction of the weekend.
Ralph Frank, Malvern East

Peter Dutton isn’t on the wrong side of history, he’s on his way to being history.
Henry Herzog, St Kilda East

Easter 2023 and Julian Leeser joins Ken Wyatt to roll back the stone of false Liberal solidarity.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South

As the proverb says, ″⁣There’s none so blind as those who will not see.″⁣ Sadly, Dutton’s new glasses don’t appear to have made any difference.
Ivan Glynn, Vermont

It appears that the Liberal’s Voice campaign is developing laryngitis.
Peter Thomas, Pascoe Vale

Thanks to Ross Gittins and Shane Wright (12/4) for calling out the ″⁣lamington″⁣ in our tax system. Another case of ″⁣do nothing and they will never know″⁣. Well now we do.
Susan Kelly, Highton

The Menzies era was memorably summed up by Paul Keating as the Rip Van Winkle years.
Peter Knight, St Arnaud

Menzies did have a point when he said, ″⁣Queensland is not a state, it’s a state of mind.″⁣
Donald Hirst, Prahran East

Americans continue to utter the phrase God bless America. By all accounts, he is not listening.
David Eames-Mayer, Balwyn

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