Credit:Illustration: Megan Herbert

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State election
In her review of the state election (“How the election result reset Victoria’s political landscape”, The Sunday Age, 27/11), Annika Smethurst suggests the Liberals might return to government by becoming the party representing the needs of people in suburbs such as Broadmeadows, St Albans, Clarinda and Sydenham.

Aren’t the significant needs there mostly in the form of tangible and intangible public infrastructure? Public not private schools, health services, recreation facilities and transport? While they might not oppose such things, don’t the underlying values and principles of the Liberals emphasise the primacy of the individual?

If the Liberals truly changed they would be like a Chevrolet with a Holden badge, no longer what it was but with the same name. If they simply say they care in order to win seats but don’t disown their historic positions, then surely they’re hypocrites? As the United Australia Party did when Menzies established the Liberals, perhaps they should just shut up shop?
Richard Jamonts, Williamstown

Coming to their senses
“We just have to be there when people come to their senses.” This, from ex-MP Jan Kronberg (“Faithful hit hard by second knockout”, 27/11) encapsulates all that’s wrong with the Liberal Party. It’s not their fault they lost, it’s ours.

According to many Liberals, voters are “idiots” or they’ve got Stockholm syndrome and Victorians just have to wait till they realise the Liberal Party is born to rule.

If you keep that up, you’ll be the minor party in the Coalition next election.
John Laurie, Riddells Creek

Fix your candidates
Victoria has shown again that we are a socially progressive state. The Liberal and National parties need to take this into account when selecting candidates. Views like those expressed by Liberal candidate Timothy Dragan on First Nations people and abortion are completely out of touch with mainstream views.

If they want to form the next government they need a much better process of selecting candidates. While there’s even a vague whiff of right-wing religious conservatives standing for a political party, they’ve automatically lost my vote.
Eileen Ray, Ascot Vale

Appealing to the minority
As a Victorian currently in South Australia, I have a message for the Liberal Party in general. So long as you keep cosying up to right-wing extremists and religious fanatics you will never win another election anywhere in Australia and traditional Liberal voters, like us, will simply not vote for you.
Robert McCormick, Bridgewater, SA

A matter of values
The Liberals can do all the soul-searching they like, but they will continue to languish in opposition until they understand that it’s not their campaigns, or even their leaders, who let them down. They simply do not reflect the values of the Victorian electorate.
Jill Rosenberg, Caulfield South

Attacks made no sense to Victorians
Fed by Murdoch media print and television outlets and tabloid organs such as Daily Mail Australia, Victorian Liberal politicians came to grief through continuing to absorb the Trump-like disinformation spread by anti-scientific and irrational conspiracy theorists intent on demonising so-called “Dictator Dan” Andrews.

They fought a campaign based on a false construct of their home state, Victoria: one which, as the recent federal election also attested, never made sense to a state population aware that, had their premier not challenged the COVID outbreak head on, many thousands of more lives would have been lost.

Victorian voters have traditionally shown that they are an analytical and responsible lot not susceptible to the simplistic “shock jock” culture of NSW, for example. Put bluntly, the Liberal Party is on the wrong side of history.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza

THE FORUM

Not enemies, but different
“We live in a state of idiots,” said a Liberal volunteer, Chris on Saturday night (“Faithful hit hard by second knockout”, 27/11). This sums up the bizarre reality that has developed where people feel that this world should be one of absolutes.

If you disagree with me you are an idiot. If you voted for Dan you are an idiot, he locks us down. If you voted for Guy, you are an idiot, he has dinner with gangsters.

Public discourse demands so much more of us than simply metaphorically dying on the philosophical hill of our choosing, rather than listening to arguments and perhaps changing our position or agreeing to disagree. There is nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree.
Julian Guy, Mount Eliza

Turn away from division
I am a Labor supporter, member and occasional candidate in unwinnable seats. This election I was supporting Chris Brayne in Nepean. I have never in my 40 years of being involved in handing out how-to-vote cards experienced the vitriol, intimidation and hatred I experienced on the pre-poll booths and on polling day. It came from some Liberals, and a cabal of right-wing parties.

I love election day, I love handing out how-to-votes, I love experiencing our democracy in action. I have experienced camaraderie among people with extremely divergent views. While the vote down here went back to the Liberals I am delighted that Victorian people turned their back on conflict and division once again and went for hope and kindness.

Let’s hope the Liberals listen to that, become a credible opposition and give us a real debate – that’s what strengthens our democracy.
Marg D’Arcy, Rye

Faith in public health
If the Victorian election was about Daniel Andrews’ management of COVID then those people who shouted their freedom was more important than public health have been shown to be selfish, ignorant and intolerant. The Victorian people have shown faith in the role of science and sticking together through hard times. Well done.
John Rome, Mount Lawley, WA

Saying nothing
The media, and others, asked whether Daniel Andrews had been ungracious by not acknowledging Matthew Guy in his victory speech. I had given out how-to-vote cards for the Greens during the voting period and was concerned by comments from voters and many people giving out the cards made about the need to “get rid of Andrews”. I have never seen a major political party use the picture of the leader of their main opposition on their how-to-vote cards. The attack on Andrews was destructive and ugly.

In his victory speech Daniel Andrews had the choice: do I make the normal polite response to the losers, or alternatively do I maintain integrity around my values of speaking the truth by saying what I really feel or say nothing. Fortunately, Andrews chose the last option.
Howard Tankey, Box Hill North

Wave overstated
The Greens, having declared a third successive “Greenslide” in Victoria after adding, at this stage, one seat and 0.19 per cent to their primary vote, perhaps need to reassess their strategy in attempting to convince Victorians that they invented progressive policy.
James Alexander, Melbourne

Tide has turned
Though there were some twists and turns in the state election results and some teals obviously disappointed they failed to unseat Liberal incumbents, the trend is clear. More people are turning to minor parties or independents who have strong policies on climate change and the need for swift and drastic action to reduce carbon emissions.

Victor Hugo once wrote: ″⁣No army can stop an idea whose time has come.″⁣ Major parties ignore this tide at their peril.
Graeme Lechte, Brunswick West

Better use of money
What a lucky dilemma for non-government schools: “They must now decide whether to use that cash” (built up during the pandemic) “for big builds”. (“Private schools raking in the cash”, 27/11). ANZ analysis found that expenditure on the “arms race” is over. Could this be in part because they have run out of space for more sports complexes, swimming pools, wellbeing centres, science and arts complexes, rowing pavilions and leafy leisure environments?

Meanwhile, government schools languish with leaking portables, often with broken airconditioning or heating. No rowing. Many have limited grassed and green areas for outdoor activity. In many cases, lack of funding results in hard decisions being made about curriculum; inevitably it is the specialist programs of music, drama and visual arts that falter and die.
Fiona Colin, Malvern East

Put fee rises to work
Private schools will always find ways of justifying fee rises. Maybe it is time for the federal government to claim back the many millions paid to these schools during the pandemic by cutting grants and using the savings to pay off our country’s huge deficit. Private schools could then add “a lack of government funding” as another justification for fee hikes.
Paul Chivers, Box Hill North

Plastic problem
What is it about the urgency of tackling climate change and the need to work towards sustainability that we fail to understand? (“Plastic bags for recycling in storage since 2018”, 27/11.)

Despite much rhetoric about banning plastic bags, they remain ubiquitous. There is no need for single-use plastic bags for fruit and vegetables. I have used reusable mesh bags for years.
Instead of ineffective programs that do nothing to discourage the use of plastic, we need genuine legislation to reduce/eliminate products that are produced from fossil fuels.
Rita Thorpe, Coburg

Prison the answer
The federal government has delayed plans to fine financial executives who preside over “systemic misconduct” in their firms, such as the corporate frauds on customers exposed by the banking royal commission. Enabling legislation is, though, expected to return to the parliament, sooner or later (“New bid for banker fines next year”, 26/11).

Many people will be outraged by the government’s unnecessary delay, but perhaps it could use the time to reconsider the nature of the proposed penalties. Senior bank executives and their colleagues in superannuation and insurance might see monetary penalties as merely an additional cost of doing business. What’s to stop fines levied on them personally being offset by higher bonuses and the like, inside their multimillion-dollar remuneration packages? On the other hand, the prospect of jail-time is a fearsome disincentive to misbehaviour by anyone.
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills

Prison not the answer
Jon Faine’s piece (“The prisoner paradox”, Sunday Age, 27/11) should be compulsory reading for all Australian politicians. His point that “If a juvenile offender is put into custody, they are very likely to reoffend and return as an adult”, is a fact that should be widely acknowledged. It’s also well-documented that early intervention, rather than incarceration, is the answer in juvenile cases, while education and post-release family support ultimately save money.

That Victoria has a new, unoccupied prison is both encouraging and disheartening that it was ever built at huge cost. Further, we continue to lock up people with mental and addiction problems, while tolerating middle-class substance abuse. It’s more than time to bring justice reform to the fore.
Lynn Heath, Doncaster

Assistance pays off
Excellent article by Jon Faine on our ineffective prison system and the apathy towards reform. Intervention is needed to provide easier access to vocational institutions for young people as well. Increase the use of diversions from jail such as community correction orders. Provide more rehab facilities for people with drug and alcohol issues.

On release, prisoners do not have much support and it’s too easy to revert to previous colleagues and practices. More funding needs to be provided to the Victorian Association for the Care and Rehabilitation of Offenders.

Equally important is a revision of procedures inside prisons, including at the notorious Banksia Youth Detention Centre and the Don Dale prison. Until we all regard this as a violation of human rights and protest, nothing will change.
Jan Marshall, Brighton

City blockades must end
If the Melbourne City Council is serious about wanting people to support city traders, it should put an end to the weekly Saturday protests that paralyse public transport. Last Saturday Swanston Street was blocked by a small group of protesters while hundreds of shoppers were forced to abandon trams.

Why should this main arterial road be commandeered by groups asserting their rights at the expense of most citizens enjoying their Saturday outing? Other streets can be made available that do not cause such disruption. Or is disruption the intention of the protest groups? Sally Capp, it’s time to take a stand.
Susan Glover, South Melbourne

Presidential power
The Bell report (“Cabinet to decide on Morrison censure”, 26/11) highlights that any future president of an Australian republic must not be purely ceremonial but have the power to reject advice from and, if needed, to dismiss a prime minister who is violating the Constitution.
Bruce Hocking, Camberwell

Pit pull technology
Operating passenger airliners with a single pilot is not a new concept at all, particularly given the rapid advances in airline autopilot technology (Letters, 24/11). Indeed I’m fairly sure I have read of trials where the cockpit need only be occupied by a single pilot and one pit bull terrier – each highly trained for one specific task only. The dog’s job is to ensure the pilot goes nowhere near the control panel. The pilot’s job is to feed the dog.
Tony Gerard, Warragul

And another thing

Leadership
Now that the Victorian election is over, has a date been set for the release of Peter Dutton from witness protection?
Viviane King, Milawa

If ever there was a referendum on a leader’s approval it was Saturday’s election and Daniel Andrews won it in spades.
Reg Murray, Glen Iris

The anti-Andrews outcry hit the wall of voter approval for Dan’s “big build”.
Glenda Johnston, Queenscliff

Matthew Guy you did it again! Few leaders have the opportunity to lose two elections.
Phil Lipshut, Elsternwick

Perhaps the Liberals can roll out Guy for the next election. You never know, third time lucky.
Barbara Greenaway, Mount Eliza

From old Guy to new Guy to fall Guy.
Kevan Porter, Alphington

Campaign advice
Memo to the LNP. Promises are not policy. You have four years to come up with a coherent vision and a plan to achieve it.
Stephen Dinham, Metung

Restoring the SEC v privatising sewerage. And anyone is surprised at the outcome?
Claire Merry, Wantirna

Obviously there aren’t as many anti-vaxxers, anti-lockdown, anti-this and anti-that as we all thought.
Arthur Pritchard, Ascot Vale

Funny that all the Green electorates are actually the least “green” in the state.
Mick Webster, Chiltern

Predictions
When can we expect the late swing?
Martin Brennan, Carlton

Two things that do not decide elections: a couple of thousand people being led down the street by some wacko on a megaphone; and the News Corp press and Sky News after dark. Thank goodness.
Doug Shaw, Sunbury

Neck and neck we read, but Labor must have lapped the Liberals.
John Mathew, Melbourne

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