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GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN

No wonder Australians want a federal ICAC

The statements from the PM and senior conservatives that “the pending findings of a corruption inquiry into Gladys Berejiklian will have no bearing” on her being considered to run in the federal election says as much about the “normalisation” of allegations of shonky behaviour in Australian political life as it does about the incumbents (“ICAC ‘not a factor’ for Berejiklian”, The Age, 6/12). Statements such as “I don’t think the public cares either”, demonstrate the incredibly low opinion that federal politicians hold about everyday voters. Berejiklian resigned in the full knowledge that the allegations investigated by the NSW ICAC wouldn’t pass the pub test.

Notwithstanding the investigation, the federal government has changed the date for nomination in a federal seat to accommodate her potential nomination. Since when can a person still be considered of sound character for election to Parliament with an ongoing corruption investigation hanging over them? Is it any wonder that the majority of Australians want a federal ICAC, with teeth, to deal with the ongoing and sustained corruption of the political process in Australia?
David M. Kennedy, Balwyn North

New ‘Liberal Way’ starts at the top
The PM’s unbridled support for former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian to run for Federal Parliament tells us everything we need to know about him and his government. That she was called by the NSW ICAC to face questioning over possible conflict of interest and breaches of public trust means absolutely nothing to the Prime Minister. To completely trash the work of the commission in such a vitriolic manner from the despatch box undermines public trust in this and other judicial institutions. This PM is deaf and blind to matters of integrity, accountability and being held to account, like Berejiklian is facing. This seems to be the Liberal Way these days and it comes from the top.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris

Informed vote is the cornerstone of democracy
Why are we being promised a federal integrity commission at the same time as we are warned “look what happened to Gladys”? We don’t yet know what ha“ppened to” Gladys as the NSW ICAC report has not been released. It was also her decision to resign. Why is the Morrison-Joyce government so frightened of a strong federal integrity commission?

The Australian population is held to account by a raft of laws and legal processes. Laws were put in place to stop people speeding and they are coupled with processes whereby we can be caught and punished. We must be able to hold our federal politicians to account for their actions by legal processes that have the power to openly investigate and report to the Australian voters. How else can we have an informed vote, the very cornerstone of a democracy?
Denise Bell, Willoughby

Nothing to lose for PM in pursuing former premier
So Scott Morrison wants a mini referendum on the political validity of the NSW ICAC process by brazenly supporting Gladys Berejiklian standing in the seat of Warringah. The electorate will need to analyse this political brinkmanship carefully for what it is. One interpretation could be to absolve the Morrison government from not being able to put a meaningful integrity commission in place because “they don’t really matter”. Another is, any check of the Morrison government’s desperate pork barrelling activities before the last election could be safely airbrushed from history as just simple politics.

There is a lot at stake by Morrison doubling down on Berejiklian. Whether Berejiklian will be ready for the fight or see her own resignation as an admission of guilt and stay away, her popularity will still be used by Morrison as a shield of righteousness. If she doesn’t stand this can be further used as the demolition of a worthy candidate, unreasonably pursued. What is there to lose?

Certainly the opinion of women voters in Warringah will be very interesting.
Rob Ward, Lake Tyers Beach

THE FORUM

Bridge too far
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s moral compass and integrity has yet again been called into question over his failure to criticise Coalition backbencher George Christensen’s unpatriotic call last week – on the Infowars web series hosted by American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones – for Americans to protest outside the Australian embassy and consular offices against coronavirus restrictions in his own country … Australia (“Christensen calls for embassy protests on US conspiracy show”, The Age, 7/12).

This is another bridge too far from Christensen, who even though he will not be recontesting his seat of Dawson in Queensland at the next federal election, continues to be a frequent and vocal critic of COVID-19 pandemic controls in his homeland.
Eric Palm, Gympie, Qld

Inciting extremism
It’s inappropriate for federal MP George Christensen to appear on the Infowars program. During the program, Jones had likened anti-vaccination protests in Australia as the nation’s “version of Tiananmen Square”, where the People’s Liberation Army of China opened fire and killed unarmed protesters. Christensen also laughed, but did not disagree, when Jones compared Australian COVID-19 quarantine facilities with Auschwitz because they had similarly “big fences”. Christensen recently used Parliament to liken state and territory COVID-19 restrictions to the totalitarian regimes of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Taken together, Australian taxpayers shouldn’t pay for any parliamentarian to either falsely talk Australia down or acquiesce, incite or condone extremism.
Michael Walton, Newcastle

Wasted decade
Reading Jessica Irvine’s article (“It’s not a carbon tax and never was”, The Age, 7/12) it seems that, early this century, once the critical mass of intelligent thinking conceded climate change was an existential threat to Earth mainstream politicians on all sides started taking action to reduce carbon emissions. The Liberals’ Howard and Labor’s Rudd and Gillard had us moving on a similar trajectory to Europe and the US but then Tony Abbott undid it all in 2013. As Irvine states, effective emission reduction schemes are hard to explain to non-economists and are easily demonised as a “carbon tax”, which the Coalition has successfully employed as an election weapon three times.

Hopefully, this time around, the media debate on the issue will reflect Irvine’s cool-headed analytical approach rather than the mindless “economy-wrecking tax” rubbish the Coalition has peddled in the past. We have a wasted decade to remedy for the sake of our next generations.
Bill King, Camberwell

Carbon confusion
As Jessica Irvine says, market-based mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions are not easy to explain. An analogy is to think of the carbon market as a retail store. The store can set the prices of the items it sells with no guarantee of selling anything, or it can sell everything by letting the prices fall. The store can determine prices, or it can determine the amount it sells, but it cannot determine both price and quantity sold. Similarly, a carbon market can set the price of carbon with no certainty that emissions will fall, or it sets the level of carbon emissions but doesn’t know what the price of carbon will be. Get it? Nope? Irvine is right.
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills

Universal paranoia
Peter Hartcher (“US can’t win two wars at once”, The Age, 7/12), refers to the heightened “sphere of influence” sensitivities felt by Russia and China in relation specifically to Ukraine and Taiwan respectively. Without endorsing any territorial aspirations of these two powers, the US’ long-held glaring double standard on this issue must again be addressed: since 1823, consistent with its Monroe Doctrine, it has maintained a controlling sphere of influence excluding other powers from its hemisphere. Not surprisingly, it prizes its effective geographical buffer defence zone. What is surprising, then, about China and Russia feeling equally paranoid about the security of their own borders?
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza

Keep out of it
Peter Hartcher quotes RAND Corporation modelling that indicates the US could win a war against Russia or China but not both at once.

I wonder how RAND Corp measures winning? What would the damage be on both sides in a real war with either Russia or China? Inevitably thousands of civilian deaths and massive infrastructure damage aside from military losses on both sides.

And why? To defend Taiwan from re-integration into China, or Ukraine being reabsorbed into the former Soviet Russia? Surely neither Russia nor China could want significant warfare with the US and its allies – but if either do invade they are both in a much better strategic position to achieve their aims than the US is to repel them.

Think about Cuba and North Korea, and how impotent the US has been in the face of Russian and Chinese backing for those regimes.

Notably, RAND modelling showed the US could defend its own territory but not that of its allies. So where would that leave Australia if we were drawn into, or leapt into, the conflict? Best to stay right out of it please.
Daniel Cole, Essendon

Safety plea
Yet another tragedy on a main highway. What does it take for the government to provide a safe passage for all users of highways and roads, with many of the accidents involving semi-trailers. One only has to travel on the M80 Ring route to know the dangers involved. Heavy laden semi-trailers, some with trailers, travelling at maximum speed, tailing cars if they do not shift to another lane. It is time for the government to take action on enforcing speed limits on trucks as well as imposing a maximum vehicle length. To do nothing will allow this carnage to continue.
Bruce F. MacKenzie, South Kingsville

Hidden meaning
I love the NGV and fronted up last Monday to the Chanel exhibition. The clothes are wonderful and the display easy to navigate. But the curator has provided descriptions of each item in a format that is almost impossible to read. Set at foot level, the colour and font used on the small cards, together with the low lighting which is presumably required to protect the fabrics, means the clothes must speak for themselves. The same problem has occurred at previous designer exhibitions. Next time, I will take opera glasses to read the stories.
Heather Barker, Albert Park

Disaster looming
It is shocking that our teachers are kept on one-year contracts (Letters, 7/12). Full-time staffing, and future pathways for education leaders is paramount in our gaining the knowledge base our population needs to excel.
This is a socio-economic issue, not political. Both parties are shifting responsibility sideways, so they only need to grapple with funding, and leave themselves in the position of not being responsible for anything.
The government will run down education further, to a point of no return and find a way to privatise it, and we’ll pay more, and it will be another disaster.
Joel Matthews, Coburg

Running scared
It is interesting that the Coalition can run a scare campaign based on Labor being forced by the Greens to increase its 43 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030, in the event of a hung Parliament. The Greens policy is a 75 per cent reduction over the same timeframe. A body of Australian scientists state that Australia must reduce its emissions by 75 per cent this decade for the country to play its part in keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees this century.

The curious matter here is that Labor cannot seem to run a scare campaign against the Liberals being held to ransom by the Nationals to maintain lower emissions reductions when that policy is fraught. Why is the public seemingly scared of increased emissions reductions more than that of climate change itself?
Phil Labrum, Flemington

‘Fighters’ miss point
I don’t think our “freedom fighting” protesters are astute enough to realise that it is precisely because we have freedom, that they can indulge in their disruptive protests. If they truly believed in fighting for freedom, they would be protesting against the indefinite detention of asylum seekers. It is those people’s freedom that has really been taken away.
Walter J. Valles, Clayton South

Honest discourse
Scott Morrison tries to scare voters by threatening that a Labor vote will end up with a Greens’ increased target on emissions. What about a vote for the Coalition ending up with an obviously ineffective low emissions target because of the influence of the Nationals, many of whom are climate change deniers. Let’s have some honesty for once on this topic.
Claire Hogan, Northcote

Eureka insult
I was born and grew up in Ballarat and am well versed in Eureka history. I am horrified at the actions of anti-vaxxers and others who hijacked the Eureka flag on the anniversary of the Eureka rebellion. It bears out the profound ignorance of many of these protesters who live in a democracy where they can vote at the ballot box, as fought for by the Eureka heroes.
Angela Woolard, Mordialloc

Saluting a legend
In trying times Gardening Australia’s Peter Cundall showed leadership by explaining the crucial pollination and seed dispersal role of native flying foxes declaring “they are flying gardeners of the night performing a priceless environmental service” (“Celebrity gardener Peter Cundall, dies at the age of 94”, The Age, 5/12). I’m sure the bats have dipped a silent wing in salute to you as do we.
Lawrence Pope, Friends of Bats & Bushcare Inc.

AND ANOTHER THING …

Credit:

Politics
Last election we had “Shorten the bill you can’t afford” so may I suggest this one for the upcoming election: ScoMo, he’s got to go.
Phil Alexander, Eltham

Once again, he didn’t hold the wheel! Still just pretending.
Patricia Rivett, Ferntree Gully

Surely ScoMo realises that he needs to look in the rear view mirror, and learn from his mistakes, instead of pretending they don’t exist.
Eric Kopp, Flinders

In days of yore he would have been known as Morrison the Shameless.
Bryan Fraser, St Kilda

Enough is enough! Do we have to endure another six months of scare campaigns and untruths.
Randall Bradshaw, Fitzroy

Scott Morrison’s lap at Bathurst is a perfect metaphor for his government. He hangs on grimly, praying that he won’t crash and burn, while someone else has the responsibility for driving.
Kerryn Taylor, Wangaratta

George Christensen needs to go outside and get some fresh air.
Shannon Brand, Carnegie

If Anthony Albanese were to promise that his first move as PM would be the establishment of a federal integrity commission, he would win at a canter …
Tina O’Neill, Healesville

Gladys Berejiklian
Both Morrison and Abbott support Berejiklian for Warringah … surely the kiss of death.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick

Apparently, being the subject of a corruption inquiry is no bar to being preselected as a Liberal candidate at the forthcoming federal election.
Len Early, Fraser, ACT

Furthermore
To Brian Kidd, and Wilma Pimm (Letters, 4/12) cicadas aside, where are the Christmas beetles?
Anne Kruger, Rye

If you don’t have anything nice to say about the Australian cricket team, go sit next to Warney.
Paul Custance, Highett


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