A word not in minister’s vocabulary
Well, Peter Dutton has really trolled the depths of mediocrity by including the death of the young South Sudanese girl Laa Chol in his latest politically motivated racist attack on the Sudanese community (“Sudanese leader claims he was attacked”, The Age, 23/7). Minister, allow the family the solitude of grieving for their loved one. I don’t believe, however, compassion is in the minister’s vocabulary.
John Cain, McCrae
Turnbull was echoing how many feel
Many people have had their lives turned upside down by home invasions carried out by African gangs. Others have been made unemployable by the horror of gangs invading their place of employment. Malcolm Turnbull’s comment was simply an effort to indicate that many Melbourne people are living in fear. Just because it hasn’t happened to you, doesn’t mean it’s non-existent.
Trish Young, Hampton
Roosevelt’s phrase still rings true
Franklin Roosevelt told the American people that the “only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, and given the opportunistic babbling of the Prime Minister and Peter Dutton against the levels of safety on Melbourne streets because of Sudanese gangs, how apt those words remain. Fomenting fear for personal safety in the shadow of coming byelections shows that in our case Roosevelt was short of the mark. What is more appropriate here at present is that we should also fear those that proffer bigotry as they potentially undermine the notions of decency that have made this country great.
Graeme Foley, Werribee
Thank you, young man
Sunday lunchtime, outside Glenhuntly Station, a smiling teenager of African appearance guided this elderly shopper up into a crowded tram and pulled her filled shopping trolley inside. He found an empty seat, settled me into it and walked off with a wave as I tried to thank him. I thought the dog whistlers might like to know.
Hinda Rosen, Elwood
They’re both right, in their way
Congratulations to Matthew Guy and Daniel Andrews for their measured response to the so-called Sudanese problem. Andrews is correct when he states that the federal lack of funding for TAFE is the main problem when dealing with new uneducated immigrants who have to be trained quickly. Individual programs must be rapidly initiated to deal with new arrivals, and the individuals who are repeat offenders. Guy is correct when he states, “It doesn’t matter what someone’s background is, everyone needs to be at equal weight to the law and we need to deal with problems as they come to us”. Dutton and Turnbull, and the entire federal Liberal Party should be condemned for their simplistic condemnation of Melbourne as some sort of Australian crime capital.
Jeff McCormack, Hangelsberg, Germany
Apples and oranges
The supporters of the Apple store proposed for Fed Square can redesign the building until the proverbial cows come home. The fundamental issue at stake is not the design, but the takeover of a much-loved public space by a corporate entity whose principal interest is always going to be its own profitability. No matter how the proposal is dressed up as having some vague public benefit the concept remains rotten to the core.
April Baragwanath, Geelong
Exactly what are these Australian values on which people will be tested? What football team you barrack for? What is Collingwood’s nickname? How do we treat our migrants? What is the second verse of the national anthem? What is the first verse? The list could go on and on. How many of us fair dinkum “Aussies” would pass anyway?
Marie Nash, Balwyn
It’s just a jump to the right
I would argue that Peter Dutton as a Queenslander has a problem with Victoria, and it seems that he is still living in 1965.
In 1965, my father relocated his family from Victoria to Queensland. I remember that one of the first things that he had to do was to change the number plates on the family car to stop abuse from Queensland drivers. They hated Victorian drivers with a vengeance. As children attending school we also learnt not to mention where we came from because mentioning that we were from Victoria would usually end up in a schoolyard fight.
Also the newspapers at the time were full of stories reporting and exaggerating crime in Victoria, which left us bewildered because from our perspective and experience at the time Queensland was a far more dangerous place.
Eventually, we left Queensland, driven out by the parochial attitudes and the vitriol shown towards Victorians. That was 53 years ago. I am sure that attitudes have changed in that state.
However, it seems to me that Peter Dutton is stuck in some type of time warp and determined to return the state and country to the past where he obviously feels more comfortable with his xenophobic attitudes.
Phillip Spencer, Ferntree Gully
It was a 1940s ritual when my parents took me on the train to visit my grandmother outside Bendigo. Stop at Castlemaine, tea for the oldies and a tin of Castlemaine Rock for me. Seventy years on, no grandma, no Castlemaine Rock and no teeth.
Peter Dodds, Montmorency
There for the taking
If hackers breach the My Health record system like they did in Singapore, they presumably won’t just have our medical history, they’ll also have our name, address, date of birth, and Medicare card number. This digital health record is an identity thief’s smorgasbord.
Colin Douglas, St Kilda
With Malcolm Turnbull offering advice to the Pope on church matters, it would seem to be fair for the Pope to give him advice on the management of our internment camps on Manus and Nauru.
Patricia Norden, Middle Park
Game of farce
The AFL has too many rules. Two of the dumbest are forced behinds and deliberate out of bounds. Why is there a free kick when you have conceded a behind to the opposition? It has become a farce.
James Hodges, Ocean Grove
Only first step
It appears that after many years of hopeful words, action may actually take place to build a rail line to Melbourne Airport.
However, that really is only a small step towards the ultimate goal of a quick, frequent and efficient service.
Heathrow is connected to Paddington station by two services, Express and Connect. Connect, operated by Transport for London, is most like an ordinary suburban train, stopping at six stations. It takes 30 minutes.
Express is exactly that and takes 15 minutes. That’s why it is popular even though it costs more than Connect. If our airport train is not allowed to follow the lead of the Heathrow service, it will not be successful. A dedicated line both ways is needed and if it is to stop, it should be at Sunshine only.
I fear the number of stops may become a political battlefield. If so, it will then it will be an expensive white elephant.
Ian Rosel, Wantirna
It was wonderful to see Joseph Deng break the 50-year-old Australian men’s 800m record in Monaco last week. He is one of hundreds of young refugees from Sudanese-Kenyan descent achieving great things in their new home and deserving of more media attention.
Peter Dickinson, Blackburn South
Pain and suffering
I understand all too well chronic pain and its far-reaching effects.
I have lived, and nearly died, with pain since 2012 when I undertook mesh repair surgery in Melbourne. I was denied any form of fixative surgery and had to travel to the US several times to have it removed. Unfortunately the damage was done.
I wasn’t promised any miracles and although the mesh is gone, the nerve pain persists.
On a good day , I can achieve about one tenth of what I used to do. On a bad day , it’s many opioid pills and tears.
A recommended pain specialist inadvertently caused a severe reaction to a drug that resulted in large weight loss (I am a small person) and admission to a mental health unit where I spent most of 2017 with six long admissions.
I am a shadow of my former self as pain has robbed me of enjoyment in life. Pain causes intense fear and wondering as to “why am I the one to have this happen”.
Chronic pain is also a stigma, as one is often seen as crazy because it’s an unseen disease, often leading to a black, deep depression.
I do not feel sorry for myself as I’m better off than some who have a similar story.
Name and address supplied
Be alert to double speak
Whenever I hear the words motherland, fatherland, border security, and recently homeland security I feel a surge of Hunter S. Thompson’s “fear and loathing”, because these are emotive and misleading terms. They are the beloved double-speak language of Donald Trump and politicians from all parties whose aims are towards their own benefit and power.
Currently, we need to recognise the double-speak of “homeland security” as an “us and them” issue in disguise. The old saying, “The price of peace is eternal vigilance” applies here. We should be on guard against such divide-and-conquer, “us and them” words.
Rosemary Taylor, Castlemaine
Things need to change John Laurie (Letters, 21/7), but not for the worse. Donald Trump has demonstrated that he has the emotional intelligence of a three-year-old. The fact that he is in charge of the world’s largest weapons arsenal is frightening because he is just the man to use it. No one should be fooled by Trump’s “achievements”. He has done nothing but make the world a more distrustful, dangerous and divided place, and the sooner he is gone the better.
Colin Smith, Mount Waverley
It’s not so fine
It was something of a vexation to read the extensive list of lucrative speed cameras within the state (“Melbourne’s top flash points”, The Age, 23/7).
While I believe in both the need for civil compliance and the mandate to obey the governing authorities, the enduring problem regarding speed cameras is that they do not adequately demarcate between the reprobate hoon and the otherwise law-abiding motorist, who has been momentarily careless or distracted.
Looming and attention-seeking illuminated billboards, varying road works speed limits, crying children in the back seats, a misdirecting GPS, or a vibrating smartphone, all work towards providing minor mental diversions to motorists, which can easily account for the occasional averting of their eyes and travelling at several kilometres above the speed limit.
Being swiftly punished for innocuously doing so is not an ample solution for the matter of reckless driving on our roads.
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn
The article on speeding fines gives some fascinating data from the Justice Department but I would propose a somewhat different interpretation. The speed camera technology designed for data acquisition has been used for fines for state government coffers yet I read nothing of any changes to roadways or intersections based on this data to limit excessive speed and therefore one could rightly assume the cameras are positioned as traps for maximum revenue, not primarily for road safety.
David Rubinstein, Toorak
Et tu, Cameron
Not since the critics crucified Peter O’Toole’s Macbeth in London in 1980 have I read such a scathing review of a Shakespeare play. Given his total annihilation of the acting, design, direction and costumes, I’m not sure how Cameron Woodhead could justify awarding Bell Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar even one star (Review, 23/7).
He advises us to “give this one a miss”. Are you serious Cameron? As with O’Toole’s Macbeth, I’ll be first in the queue for what I predict to be the hottest tickets in town.
Robert Power, Malvern East
Scared in Geelong
Will Peter Dutton now say, “People are now too scared to eat in restaurants in Geelong”?
Peter Gavin, Sunbury
AND ANOTHER THING
It took the electorate quite a while to wake up to John Howard’s race-card politics. Is it being conned by a similar trick now by Malcolm Turnbull?
Phil Alexander, Eltham
When Peter Dutton boycotted Parliament in 2008 when the apology was delivered to the stolen generation, was he polishing his dog whistle?
Thos Puckett, Ashgrove
Considering this government’s attitudes towards asylum seekers, whistleblowers and climate change protesters, maybe the LNP prefers citizens who blindly follow rules.
Wendy Knight, Little River
Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to Tennant Creek was really just another selfie opportunity.
Annie Wilson, Inverloch
A US official said US intelligence chief Dan Coats would never try to undercut or embarrass the President. Perhaps he should have said “wouldn’t”.
Alan Inchley, Frankston
When did good old “customer service” from organisations like Telstra and the banks morph into “the customer experience”?
Reg Murray, Glen Iris
Airport rail is welcome but why wait four years before starting work? Presumably no service for eight years.
Bruce Love, East Melbourne
To those Demons supporters who are gutted after Saturday’s loss, spare a thought for those of us who were at the 1987 Preliminary Final at Waverley. (Hawthorn 80, Melbourne 78, Ed.)
Bob Speed, Trafalgar
The Ipsos poll showing a margin of error at 2.9 per cent sounds like Essendon’s goal-kicking record.