Now we know One Nation’s core values: It’s fine to sell your party’s Senate votes, but don’t misbehave in a strip joint.
Colin Mockett, Geelong
Young man, take a look at your life
Interesting to read that One Nation’s Steve Dickson, at 57 years of age, regards himself as a «young man». I’ve always thought of myself as old, at 75 – maybe I should rethink this and say I’m just entering middle-age.
Alan Whitcombe, Stony Creek
A Trojan horse enters the campaign
I have been bewildered at Clive Palmer’s million-dollar advertising blitz spruiking the United Australia Party when common sense tells me he would only attract a minority of voters. Likewise his decision to stand candidates in all lower house seats nationally seemed like an extraordinary waste of money and resources.
Now, in light of the preference deal with the Liberals, which may get the government over the line in some marginal seats, it now seems this was the plan all along. The United Australian Party would appear to be a Trojan horse of sorts to deliver the re-election of the Coalition. It may further explain how Palmer has been able to get away with not paying his laid-off Queensland nickel workers their entitlements – despite recently boasting he is worth $4billion and has $500million cash in the bank.
Joining the dots here and it’s a fairly cynical exercise and pumping millions into advertising an irrelevant minor political party is cheaper than doing the right thing and paying your workers their entitlements. It’s shameful.
Craig Dickason, Heatherton
Where are the candidates of principle?
In light of Steve Dickson’s resignation from One Nation, it raises the question, just where have all of the good people gone? Where are the principled heroes with an unwavering self-less vision that rejects governing only for the quid pro quo of its exclusive partisan parts and commits to trying to win over and govern for the inclusive whole?
Politics has always had its dubious characters over the centuries, but in recent decades they just seem to be part of a surging exclusive club within political parties where the preselection criteria is seemingly to be impervious to shame and accountability.
Paul Miller, Box Hill South
Damn the workers, get me elected
Prime Minister Scott Morrison keeps telling us he is all about creating jobs, but what he has shown us, by entering into a preference deal with Clive Palmer, the billionaire businessman who is overwhelming Australians with tens of millions of dollars in advertising in order to be elected to Australia’s next Parliament, when he owes tens of millions of dollars to his retrenched workers at Queensland Nickel, is that he doesn’t give a damn whether workers are treated fairly or not.
Jessie Mackenzie, Brunswick
Don’t look back
You may well be right Bill Shorten, Australia probably can’t afford to continue honouring franking credit refunds, but why does it need to be retrospective? How about treating franking credit refunds the same as negative gearing?
Kay Douglas, Hawthorn
The friendly square
In the more leisurely days of the past, on going into the city by tram or train, we could say «Meet you under the clocks at Flinders Street», but now one might get trampled. So it would be great to say «Meet you in Fed Square». However, it would be a more friendly and welcoming square, not that barren open space. It would be kinder on the feet, with some grass and park bench seating under a spreading tree, with views to the Yarra. There would also be some other rain and wind shelter to protect from our variable Melbourne weather. Oh, and it would be complete with a good coffee.
Elizabeth Meredith, Surrey Hills
This election seems all about splashing money left, right and centre, mostly aimed at middle Australia. Surely this group is not in need of welfare, aka Labor’s proposed increases to subsidised childcare. Those who most need welfare, in every shape and form, are the working poor. They remain forgotten.
Sadly this election campaign is lacking guts. It’s bland, switch-off stuff, lacking zeal and fervour. Not one party leader has engendered excitement for the future with a positive plan that is electrifying in its audacity, that makes one sit up and pay attention. Politicians have the ideal opportunity to sell great changes for this country to take us to a sustainable future. Instead, we’re being enticed with empty promises on the never never. Let’s hope the politicians wake up before this opportunity passes them by.
Sue Bennett, Sunbury
Clive Palmer’s recent performance in the polls demonstrates clearly that in politics, money talks – sometimes very quickly.
Andrew Remington, Travancore
Transports of delight
Interesting to read recent comments about the magnitude of fare avoidance. The solution is free public transport for everyone. Less cars on the road. Climate change and congestion tackled in one go. How to pay for this? Redirect the billions spent on freeway pork-barrelling. Now there’s an election promise.
Ralph Frank, Malvern East
No boos here
We should not all be painted with the same brush (Letters, 30/4). While I was disappointed with the umpiring on Anzac Day, I and many of the Essendon supporters near me did not resort to booing.
Joel Feren, East St Kilda
Great to see the Yarra City Council recycling glass («Yarra trials glass bin to cut waste», 29/4). How about refunds for bottles as they do in South Australia? This is not only a sustainable way to recycle glass, but it offers people an opportunity to make money.
Sarah Tartakover, Yarraville
While we might feel we have an inherent «right» to explore our national parks wherever we choose, that really can’t be the case any more. As access to remote areas becomes easier, and population grows, the management of these prime natural areas becomes a priority.
Neil Monteith’s claim that rock climbing is now banned in Grampians National Park is neither true, nor helpful («Don’t ban rock climbing, manage it», 30/4). Parks Victoria has simply closed access to some of the park’s rock faces to protect native plants and animals, and priceless Aboriginal art sites. More than 60per cent of the park is still open to climbing.
Access to our parks is good for our health and wellbeing, and a boost to regional economies. But rapid growth activities like rock climbing and mountain bike riding have to join bushwalking and camping as activities where impacts are managed. Nature is resilient, but it’s far from indestructible.
Phil Ingamells, Victorian National Parks Association, Carlton
It’s the policies
Everything the Liberals have done for the past few years has been magnificent, according to Amanda Vanstone (Comment, 29/4). Poor old Labor is pilloried for, among other things, the «Khemlani affair». All political parties have been guilty of serious missteps and so shall they continue. The fact is, the economy has been chugging along pretty successfully under several changes of government for many years despite its ups and downs. Remember the «budget emergency»? After the election it seemed to disappear.
Let’s not forget that we are electing a party and its policies, not a single individual. This situation we seem to accept as day after day we hear only comparisons of the leaders. In the policy area there are vast differences between the major parties, so this election will be a real test of what voters really want from the leaders.
John Paine, Kew East
As a woman of Chinese ethnicity, I cannot begin to express how appalled I am at the behaviour of Steve Dickson. «I’ve had a lot of Asian.» Is he talking about shopping centre Asian food? How frightening is it that we know so little about those who stand for elected office and shame on Pauline Hanson for making any part of this about al-Jazeera’s conduct in having the recording. If she were truly sincere in her condemnation of Dickson’s behaviour, she would be thankful that he was exposed before he continued as a One Nation candidate.
Belinda Lim, Canterbury
The wrong place
I’m an enthusiast for the great improvements to community facilities associated with Skyrail, in the right places. I note that even some living beside recently constructed ones agree.
However, removal of the level crossing on Toorak Road does not seem to be a right place. The current rail track is in a «hollow», so a simple regrading and bridge over the rail could be made, leaving the need for only a shallow trench for the track. This trench could be extended to solve the vexed Glenferrie Road crossing and, perhaps, the Tooronga Road one as well.
Michael Hipkins, Richmond
Hard to understand
Thank you Danny Katz (Comment, 27/4). Your lovely description of your fond family visit to Sri Lanka matches those of my many visits there in recent years. In my case it was to visit my three young grandsons who reside there with their widowed mother and her family.
My son’s business in the island’s south region took him, and often myself as well, to Colombo for weekend stays at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel. My son died there in 2016, found by his wife and children in a family suite. At least he died of natural causes.
This hotel was bombed on Easter Sunday.
My grandchildren have Muslim friends in their school. The seven-year-old asked his mother, «Is my friend a terrorist?» As she wrote to me (all social media being down at present), «how to make children understand these atrocities?» I’m an adult of many years and I, too, don’t understand.
Gloria Meltzer, Chewton
Anthony Mackay’s article (29/4) on the need for effective music education in our schools brought back my own experience as a classroom teacher over 30 years in England and here. There used to be support for teachers like me without formal music qualifications through visiting specialists, excellent support publications and weekly programs on the BBC and the ABC, and there were qualified and dedicated specialists on most school staffs. All these are non-existent now.
The ukulele has been an important part of music education in Canada. As a latecomer – I am in my 70s – I have found the ukulele to be a profoundly cheerful instrument, relatively easy to learn, to carry around, and to allow the player to sing along, unlike the recorder. It is also cheap relative to most other musical instruments.
There are ukulele groups all over town, many of them meeting weekly. The sheer joy of playing and singing with 20 or 30 others shouldn’t be something reserved for retirees. Let’s look again at our educational targets and ask why we don’t consider joy in learning and expressing our musical selves as vital as learning the tables and spelling.
Sally Baker, Parkdale
Having just «flipped» my electricity supplier from one well-known company to a cheaper one, Ihave been contacted by the original one to offer me a 44 per cent discount if I stayed with them.
If they can offer me nearly half off to stay, how much profit are they making? Given the soaring cost of power is a major factor in people’s budgets, this is a disgrace.
Rob Morrison, Somerville
Rules of engagement
Greg Baum writes (30/4), «There are rules, but who among us has read and studied them minutely? We should at least do the umpires the honour of recognising they have.»
Who among us has read them at all? It would help if radio and TV commentators would just describe the game and not try to umpire it as well.
Phil Allender, Nirranda
PM, talk of Rapture
Amanda Vanstone (Comment, 29/4) may not be interested in Scott Morrison’s religious beliefs, but I am. I want Morrison to publicly describe the Rapture. I want him to say that he believes that he and his ilk are privileged by God and the rest of us are nothing. I want him to tell us that the environment doesn’t matter because Jesus is coming to rescue him and the rest of us can, well, rot. I want him to be honest about this. Vanstone says he is honest.
Michael Fleming, Prahran
AND ANOTHER THING
Has the Coalition gone mad? First, Scott Morrison and Clive Palmer trading votes, and now Michael McCormack backing a One Nation deal.
Peter Johns, Sorrento
Why does Clive Palmer want to be in Parliament when he can pay to be king of the world?
Paul Drakeford, Kew
An agreement on preferences made before an agreement on policies is like getting dressed before having a shower. The processes are not commutative.
Ian Collings, Highton
Tax the economy too high and you slow it down, says Scott Morrison. Take the economy too low and there go the services.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick
I thought the National Party was meant to represent the farmers. Surely climate change is an important issue for them. So why no policies to address it ASAP.
Robin Jensen, Castlemaine
Imagine what the bar girls would say about having to deal with old blokes like Steve Dickson. Laughing all the way to the bank.
Julie Conquest, Brighton
So the footage shown does not reflect the person I am, says Steve Dickson. Who was it then?
Lesley Black, Frankston
One Nation is certainly having a hangover.
Malcolm McDonald, Burwood
Vale Les Murray. Your song lines shall be missed by those of us who love the heart of this nation.
Alex Njoo, St. Kilda
Les Murray, truly a leviathan of Australian literature.
David Seal, Balwyn North
As a returned serviceman I think the AFL does a total overkill of Anzac Day going for five days.
Ronald Hall, Middle Park
The damage to rock art in the Grampians is an example of JASOTMP (Just another symptom of too many people).
Andrew Johnston, Kallista