Opposition’s fruitless attempt to win voters

Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis

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THE PROTESTS

Opposition’s fruitless attempt to win voters

The behaviour of “protesters” at State Parliament this week sent shivers down my spine. Seeing an effigy of the Premier hanging in the mock gallows is beyond the pale. So much for a “peaceful protest”. If that is not bad enough, to have opposition MPs mingling among them is sickening. Do they really believe that this kind of desperate attempt to curry favours is going to secure the votes of Victorians? A little shout out to those sycophants, “it will not work”.
Paula McIntosh, Oakleigh South

Unfair labelling of those who voice their concerns

I am so confused. How is it that if one questions vaccine mandates and the medical discrimination that is happening, they are called an “ugly extremist”? If one chooses to protest a bill that allows rule by decree and a total lack of oversight, they are called right-wing fascists? The world has gone upside-down and inside-out. The mainstream media, including this paper, have failed to investigate these hypocrisies, instead preferring to be a conduit for the government’s divisive narrative. Shame on you.
Melissa Ort, Fitzroy North

A horrible return to the ugly ‘Ditch the Witch’ days

Seeing state opposition politicians standing alongside the nasty activists in the protests was an unedifying spectacle. It was reminiscent of the events of March 2011 where prominent Coalition politicians, including Tony Abbott (later to become prime minister) and others who form part of the current government, stood on the same platform as people holding placards bearing unbelievably awful slogans about Julia Gillard. It seems like nothing much has changed.
John McCallum, Strathdale

We well remember who the Premier stands with

Dan Andrews’ new mantra: “It’s what you stand for and who you stand with.” Well, the second part of this will come back to haunt him. Voters will remember him standing proudly with the “red shirt” brigade and with the United Firefighters Union state secretary, Peter Marshall. What arrogance.
David Heywood, Bendigo

Guy must stand up and condemn Bernie Finn

Matthew Guy, a member of your party, Bernie Finn, stated he was pleased to be protesting alongside a couple of thousand of his best friends. Some of these friends appear to have a predilection for violence and making despicable death threats against the Premier and other members of Parliament. While you made the correct call for Tim Smith’s resignation, why is it that you are not prepared to call for Finn’s resignation and expulsion from Parliament?
Barry Megennis, Fairfield

Consult Amnesty about ’arbitrary conduct’

Daniel Andrews, when asked about laws that allow people to be detained indefinitely without any right to appeal: “Like, in order for a criticism to have some greater strength, I think you’d need to point to some examples where people abused such power, where something has moved from being conceptual, or a potential, a possibility however faint, into actual practice, and I’m pleased to say people cannot point to that kind of arbitrary conduct.“

Apart from the gobbledegook even the Yes Minister scriptwriters would have been hard-pressed to dream up, perhaps the Premier should educate himself about the misuse of executive powers, starting with Amnesty International, which would readily give him a long list of “that kind of arbitrary conduct”.
Aila Copland, Mornington

Logical thinking: a step too far for these protesters

It is so easy to make threats. Why not wait for your opportunity to change those politicians at the next election or will that need clear thinking?
Bruce Dudon, Woodend

THE FORUM

Protest without violence

Your editorial (The Age, 18/11) condemning the violent behaviour and threats from people opposing the pandemic legislation is to be commended. But it seems as though there are broader issues, such as violence and threats against GPs and healthcare staff, verbal violence against teachers and principals, and abuse in sport.

We need to have the skills to express our opinions without threatening others and to protest in a non-violent way. Is it time for a broad education campaign, condemning violence and verbal bullying, and also providing people with the skills to do it differently? Violence and threats need to be seen as anti-democratic behaviours – an assault on our freedoms and not ever acceptable.
Linda Bradburn, Preston

Just following the plan

Congratulations to the Victorian government for sticking to, and rolling out, the national COVID-19 plan. This was agreed to by federal and state governments. Scott Morrison and others who are endlessly repeating that people are sick of governments “telling them what to do” would do well to remember that.
David Jay, Fitzroy

Trump, a poor role model

David Davis may, in time, regret his Trump-like support for the rag tag bunch of demonstrators on the steps of the Victorian Parliament. Leadership material? I think not.
Barry James, Lilydale

Unnecessary publicity

Front-page publicity of two “protesters”, one proudly holding a large firearm and both with their names (and the charges laid against them) also featuring in this leading article. Why?
Elenor McKenna, Balnarring

Strength of our democracy

I have to disagree with your correspondent (Letters, 17/11) who says something is wrong with our democratic processes when three independents can decide a most significant issue for the state.
If the government held a majority in the upper house, it would simply pass this significant legislation without amendment. Alternatively, if the opposition held the balance of power, it would likely block it without giving it fair consideration.

Instead we have a situation where the government needs to negotiate and compromise with the independents, who will likely insist on amendments before they agree to pass the legislation. If the government can do this, the legislation will be passed by the majority of elected MPs in both houses of Parliament – the most democratic outcome of all.
Tim Wood, Doreen

Our broken promises

Since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, Australia has not yet granted one humanitarian visa despite thousands of Afghans lodging applications to come here (The Age, 18/11). C’mon Australia, this is shameful, but I suppose we are getting used to feeling shameful. Where is our leadership on the world stage? Non-existent.
Michael Clarebrough, Buffalo

The tyranny of the ’norm’

Re “Fashion week’s ill-fitting collection” (Opinion, 17/11). I am 1.5metres tall and weigh 37kilograms. On frequent occasions, strangers have commented on my body in such terms as “slight”, “tiny”, “unwell” and “abnormal”. Would they have felt free to make comments such as “fat”, “overweight” or “unwell” if I weighed 60kilograms?

We still have some way to go about labelling people on the basis of their appearance and feeling free to judge what should be the “norm”. Pregnant women experience the same thing from those who do not know them patting their bellies. Unacceptable familiarity? Desire to be supportive? Body image police?

Are we surprised that “oversize” models are relegated to the sidelines at fashion shows and condemned to shop at a minority of brands, and “undersize” women cannot buy clothes that fit other than in the children’s departments and which are not suitable for their proportions?
Rosalind McIntosh, Camberwell

Who do we really trust?

So let me get this right. According to various opinion polls, one of the least trusted (politicians) is going to inquire into the integrity and balance of one of the most trusted (the ABC). What could possibly go wrong?
Brian Burgess, Middle Park

Wilson, one small part …

Voices of Goldstein (The Age, 18/11) is much bigger than being against Liberal MP Tim Wilson. We want an independent candidate who will listen to our aims, to enable more action on climate change and to hold politicians accountable and have transparency in politics.

It is pointless getting caught up in a back and forth between individuals and organisations. We should be focusing on the bigger picture of protecting our nation from the ravages of climate change and helping our Pacific neighbours deal with the fact their nations are being inundated by the sea. We do not have much time to turn around the catastrophe that is climate change.
Jan Marshall, Brighton

… but unfairly targeted

The targeting of Tim Wilson, a political moderate, by an environmental flash mob and by self-styled “independent” voices is a disturbing development.

Wilson has views, values and a political record that place him squarely in the political centre. By their actions, the flash mob and independents reveal a low tolerance for even marginal departure from their doctrinaire positions. I wish him well. His re-election, which I now sincerely hope for, will be a rebuke deserved by the forces of illiberalism and intolerance.
Michael Angwin, Surrey Hills

Very supportive schools

Jan Coleman says “teachers who are known to be LGBTIA+ are not given a chance in the Catholic education system and any on the staff who are discovered to be so can be dismissed” (Letters, 18/11).

I have worked in Catholic schools for more than 35 years at primary and secondary levels, in co-ed and single sex schools, alongside LGBTIQ colleagues all my career. Some were in positions of leadership. Catholic schools have a well-earned reputation as a particularly supportive environment to work in as a teacher no matter who you are.
Brendan Douglas, Alphington

Funding on conditions

A pre-condition of the Catholic school system’s ability to discriminate in employment should be the withdrawal of government funding.
Peter Baddeley, Portland

High cost of capitalism

Fossil fuel corporations, among the most financially profitable entities on our planet, are the most damaging of the Earth’s climate. A prime example of “does-do-harm” capitalism.
Jennifer Gerrand, Carlton North

Transition to carbon levy

Fresh from the climate summit in Glasgow where it was agreed there is no future for coal, our Prime Minister says “yes, there is”.

Yes, there needs to be a transition away from coal. Yes, we have got lots of it. Yes, it can only be dug up once. If it is so valuable, why doesn’t our government assign it a carbon levy and put the funds into a future fund to help pay for education, health, housing and so on in the longer-term? Instead of virtually giving it away.
Anne Austin, Flinders

Our nation’s shame

Two issues have always embarrassed me as an Australian: Indigenous health and the monarchy. I am now adding climate change policy to that list.
Mark Cherny, Caulfield North

Preparing for bigger fires

Re suggestions that a significant increase in fuel reduction burning will save us and our natural heritage (The Age, 18/11). Recent studies show a strong increase in fuel and flammability levels just a few years after fire in many Victorian forests, making many fire abatement programs effectively fuel production burns. Other studies show that our extensive forestry operations have had a similar effect.

We have to look at fresh solutions like increasing our capacity for point of ignition control, establishing well-understood community evacuation strategies, encouraging the use of well-designed, private fire shelters, stronger planning regulations for buildings in fire-prone areas and fuel reduction closer to assets. Our fire managers should systematically monitor what happens to fuel levels after burns, so we learn. That, surely, is what makes traditional Indigenous burning so different from our current fuel management. We will not help ourselves or our rainforests by doing more of what we have always done, even though it does not work particularly well.
Phil Ingamells, Victorian National Parks Association

Make it value for money

Labor’s announcement to spend an additional $2.4billion on the expansion of NBN fibre connection services (The Age, 17/11) might be welcome. That is a lot of money and let us hope no executive bonuses are paid out of that.

As it is, broadband and combined telephone connection services in Australia lack the competitive pricing policies of most of their European, urban counterparts. Let us hope an investment by a Labor government represents value for money.
Henk van Leeuwen, Elwood

Windsor’s wise words

If only the Coalition had listened to former independent MP Tony Windsor in 2016 when he said: “Do it once. Do it right. Do it with fibre.” Now, instead of high-speed internet in most of the country, more money is being spent upgrading the second-rate, multi-technology mix that was never going to deliver the speeds needed.
Gretel Lamont, Aireys Inlet

The other ’net zero’

Electricity prices have started to fall despite, not because of, government policies. The other mob has not released its policies, but Scott Morrison knows that it will increase prices. I can only think he is working towards net zero credibility, preferably before 2050.
Geoff Witten, Lower Plenty

AND ANOTHER THING

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Victoria

So Adem (I stack branches) Somyurek has decided, since the IBAC hearings went so well, to selflessly save us from overreach. Oh please.
Damian Meade, Leopold

What worries me is by the time a committee decides to proclaim a pandemic, the virus will be raging among us.
Patricia Ray, Seville

David Davis, you are judged by the company you keep.
Andrew O’Brien, South Yarra

When will we see the headline, “More than 5 million Melburnians don’t protest at Parliament”?
Bruce Evans, Fairfield

Victoria, once the garden state, now the police state.
Jenny Collins, Hawthorn

Bernie Finn: serial pest.
Jack Morris, Kennington

The sections of the Victorian bureaucracy responsible for privatisation (18/11) should be disbanded.
Bill O’Connor, Beechworth

Somyurek clearly views political decency as an oxymoron.
Paul Murchison, Kingsbury

Federal

Alchemy differs from carbon capture and storage in that with alchemy there is greater hope.
Benedict Clark, Ryanston

We criticised Turnbull for not acting on his real beliefs. We can’t do that to ScoMo.
Trevor Rogers, New Gisborne

Morrison wasn’t lying when he confided he wasn’t ready to take on the leadership. Is he yet?
Ron Slamowicz, Caulfield North

Petrol selling at $1.94 per litre this week. No doubt this is Labor’s fault.
Andrew Trembath, Blackburn

Furthermore

Forget religious freedom. What we need is freedom from unreason.
Bernd Rieve, Brighton

A fine example for the elderly: 98-year-old Kissinger giving wise counsel to Biden on US/China relations (18/11).
Tris Raouf, Hadfield

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