Stop the political donations

Matt GoldingCredit:.

Stop the donations
Issues concerning the financing of political parties are arguably the greatest threat to the proper functioning of a democracy (″⁣Caught in donation web″⁣, 4/2). Only fools or the naive would believe that political donations don’t buy access or influence. Banning donations outright and the public funding of elections would be a small price to pay to regain democracy and the trust of the electorate. Costs would be minimal and would bring some perspective to election funding.
When politicians are allowed to cynically exploit the democratic system, then voters too become cynical, democracy is undermined and society is degraded.

Bryan Long, Balwyn

People had the power
Political editor Peter Hartcher writes that Clive Palmer’s main achievement was helping Scott Morrison defeat Bill Shorten in 2019 (Comment, 4/2). Morrison, however, put his win down to a miracle. The final verdict of history will give greatest credit to the people for seeing clearly through it all in the end.

Ruth Farr, Blackburn South

No more lollipops
The ″⁣good ship lollipop″⁣ (The Sunday Age, 29/1) could be replaced with good cameras and heavy fines. This could free up a labour source to serve areas of greater need. Surely we have some progressive thinkers managing this stuff.

Lindsay Donahoo, Wattle Glen

A council view
Why is it relevant that 70 per cent of school crossings are on council-controlled roads? Our local councils are not involved in the education of our children. That is constitutionally a responsibility of the state government, in which case our school crossing supervision should be fully funded by the state. This is just another example of the state government cost-shifting what should be its responsibility to severely strained and underfunded local councils.

Cr David Zyngier, Glen Eira City Council

Turn off the whining
Once, Melburnians could go to the beach and listen to the lapping of waves and the laughter of children. Sadly, this is no longer the case. All that can be heard at many beaches now is the whining of jet skis. Surely it can’t be right that the selfish pleasure of a few can be allowed to impact so significantly on the right of most to enjoy this most basic of Australian activities.

Bill Murphy, Highett

Abbott’s backhander
So according to Tony Abbott, George Pell ″⁣is the greatest Catholic Australia has ever produced″⁣. Bit of a backhander to St Mary MacKillop, Bob Maguire and Brigid Arthur and the thousands of priests, nuns and lay people who worked to establish the Catholic Church in our country.

Anthony Clifford, Wendouree

For whom Pell tolls
We must not neglect the malign influences of the late cardinal beyond responses to paedophilia. Despite his Oxford PhD, George Pell vociferously denigrated the scientific consensus on climate change, providing support for the laggard responses of Tony Abbott and the Coalition. As archbishop, he repeatedly refused Communion to LGBTQ activists and their families, though the Gospels show Jesus welcoming everyone to his table. Pell was also a prime mover of the 2010 English translation for the Mass, a clunky, literalist version foisted upon local bishops by the Vatican. These are emblematic of the rigid arrogance that emptied so many churches, even as Pope Francis makes Herculean efforts to promote the ethos of the founder of Christianity.

Martha Morrow, Oakleigh South

Taxes for health
How refreshing to hear positive comments from our politicians, healthcare practitioners and experts in the field on the need to restore confidence in our national health scheme, Medicare, and their desire and will to upgrade the scheme to provide good quality healthcare for all Australians. Times, health practices and expectations of medical care have changed dramatically since the introduction of the national health scheme 40 years ago and it is to our present detriment that significant changes have not occurred progressively over the years. A catch-up is urgently needed.
The inevitable need for additional funding will create budget pressures, and the community will need to understand that taxes will need to rise in order to ensure that we continue to have a universal health system.

Ray Cleary, Camberwell

Keep the system
While I appreciate the arguments in favour of more funding for government schools, I am strongly opposed to Jenna Price’s demand (Comment, 1/2) to defund private schools. The parents who send their children to these schools aren’t all rich. And even if they are, they are taxpayers. Therefore, the schools they are sending their kids to are entitled to a fair share of government funding.
Fundamentally, there is an understanding in our democracy that parents have the right to choose the school they send their kids to – whether it be based on a perception about results or a regard for the values the school represents. Whatever ideologues such as Ms Price say, this is not going to change, and nor should it.

Ivan Glynn, Vermont

Hiding the greed
When Midnight Oil sang, ″⁣And nothing’s as precious as a hole in the ground″⁣ (Blue Sky Mining) they almost got it right – a landfill site is far more precious than a mine. Mining puts greed and self-interest on display; landfill lets us hide it.

Lance Wilson, Brighton East

The reverse wedge
Well done Anthony Albanese for a satisfying reverse wedge on Peter Dutton by getting him to agree to being briefed by First Nations leaders on the Voice. He will have great difficulty sitting on the fence hereafter.

Richard Caven, Melbourne

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