Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis
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The world is ignoring the lessons of history
Salvatore Barbones (Opinion, 15/3) says “Ukrainian independence is worth fighting for. It is not worth risking nuclear Armageddon”. This reads very like the argument used by the United Kingdom, France and their allies that let Germany occupy the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia and Austria, and then invade Poland. This caused the death of more than 70million people and misery to many more.
Assuming that Vladimir Putin is sane enough not to want a nuclear war is about as smart as assuming Adolf Hitler was sane when he invaded the rest of Europe and then the USSR. A line has to be drawn. In 1939, it was the Polish border. It may be again.
Adrian Tabor, Point Lonsdale
Fears for a woman with the courage to say ’enough’
I hope Marina Ovsyannikova (World, 16/3) can be given some protection against what I fear will be terrible consequences of her brave action in breaking into the Russian state TV news program with a sign denouncing Russian government propaganda of the Ukrainian war. She had apparently been involved in what she saw as misinformation and could no longer keep her silence. I hope I would be as brave as her. Would you?
Alan Cartwright Heathmont
It is time for all religious leaders to speak out
As much of the world watches in horror at the cruelty inflicted on the civilian population of Mariopul, the Russian Orthodox Church remains strangely silent. It is astonishing that the citizens of a Ukrainian city can be left to die of hunger, thirst, bombing and disease because the Russian shelling prevents the delivery of humanitarian aid. It is time for all religious leaders to speak out, particularly the head of the church in Russia.
Juliet Flesch, Kew
Making Russia pay for its ’monstrous lunacy’
Russia needs to be held to account for the cost of rebuilding and compensation for those who have been killed and injured by its actions. The frozen Russian funds held in the West should be used to pay for this. If those funds are ever unfrozen, Russia should only be entitled to what is left after all the damage and compensation have been paid for. Not only would Ukraine have the funds to rebuild, Russia would also know the real cost of its monstrous lunacy.
Michael Meszaros, Alphington
The risk that other countries will be targeted next
With Ukraine suffering ever-increasing destruction and carnage, one is left to wonder where the West considers to be the line in the sand. How many deaths and how much devastation will get us to that point? Is Ukraine to be sacrificed before there is a realisation that Poland, Estonia and Moldova are next? And China watches and learns that the world will do little.
Erica Grebler, Caulfield North
A higher moral obligation to refuse to fire on civilians
At the Nuremberg Trials it was deemed that “just following orders” was no defence in regards to crimes against humanity. In other words, if a commanding officer orders you to throw children into a furnace, you have a higher moral obligation to refuse to do so, even if it means your own life. Ray Higgs asks, “Why don’t the Russian soldiers just stop fighting and go home?” (Letters, 17/3). Good point.
Robert Scheffer, Bayswater North
For Russian fighters, it’s a lose-lose scenario
There is a little problem with Russian soldiers stopping fighting and going home. If they are not shot as deserters then and there, Vladimir Putin will have them executed on their arrival in Russia.
Jerry Koliha, South Melbourne
Putin must not be allowed to continue his crimes
The unconscionable targeting of schools, civilians and hospitals has become Vladimir Putin’s signature in his decimation previously of Syria and now Ukraine. This monster needs to be brought to heel.
Sharyn Bhalla, Ferntree Gully
When ALP had values
Thank you, Julie Szego, for your critique of the Labor Party’s values or lack thereof (Opinion, 16/3). I am a long-time Labor voter and I remember when the convictions that Kimberley Kitching stood for were those of Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, but Labor has lost its identity.\
I would welcome more female politicians of her convictions if it would return Labor to a party that was true to its core values.
I agree that a huge problem in the “lucky country” is that we are a “depressingly conformist bunch”. This needs to change if we are to keep our governments accountable and looking out for the poorest and the powerless.
Michael Sully, Warrnambool
A woman of integrity
I mourn the passing of Senator Kimberley Kitching, known to me for her faith and her vibrant personality, intellectual acumen, loyalty, and commitment to the struggle for human rights. Why did the media commentariat not call out that she had been allegedly sent to Coventry by some of her Labor colleagues, causing her great stress?
Father Lawrie Moate, Chadstone
Carers genuinely care
I am appalled and ashamed. It is time carers were recognised for their value in the community and paid accordingly. Their contribution to society is immeasurable. Were it not for their patience, understanding and expertise, many people of all ages would not have the opportunity to remain in their own homes. This situation must be rectified.
Maureen Barden, Kew
Students’ true standards
NAPLAN, the national literacy and numeracy test, will be held earlier in the year (The Age, 17/3). It should be held at the very beginning of the school year so teachers have a realistic idea of the abilities of the students, not an artificial result caused by tutoring for the test.
Suzanne Palmer-Holton, Seaford
Everyone’s right to a home
Surprise, surprise. Five Australian capital cities are in the top 20 of least affordable cities in the world to buy a house (The Age, 17/3). An overhaul of negative gearing and capital gains legislation for residential property is long overdue. The commodification of shelter is terrible social policy and, along with cynical manipulation of housing supply, must be reversed.
Rob Warren, Ivanhoe
High price of low taxes
There is little bipartisanship in Australian politics, but cutting taxes is dominant in the platforms of both major parties. It is revealing that the Scandinavian countries, with their high taxes, top almost every international barometer of successful societies.
Politicians promise us better schools, hospitals, infrastructure, social welfare, childcare etc – and lower taxes. Given the choice, I believe most Australians would opt for a fairer, more communal society and be prepared to pay
Bryan Long, Balwyn
Repair our neglected piers
According to its 2020-2021 annual report, Parks Victoria had a surplus of nearly $57 million. I wonder what it is doing with the money? There has been no maintenance at the Flinders Pier since 2016 – that is five years ago.
No wonder it, and many other piers around Victoria need repairs – ‴Aqua therapy’ off limits as 19 piers shut” (The Age, 15/3). The tourism, dive and local businesses, along with recreational fishing communities, need help in ensuring these iconic and historical piers are repaired and maintained.
Why do we have to wait for other authorities to make decisions while government sits on its hands? How is it that we are not being listened to and when will we get answers to our request for some of the $57million to be spent on our Victorian piers?
Mary Iles, Flinders
A win-win for consultants
The state government says it has spent $80million rebuilding and repairing piers and jetties in Port Phillip and Western Port. How much of these taxpayer dollars went to “consultants”? In regard to Flinders Pier, these consultants failed us.
Michael Harris, Flinders
The joy of a good jetty
With jetties in the news, I should like to promote the excellent one we have at San Remo. I walk there regularly and there is always something to see – giant stingrays swimming majestically in the shallows, pelicans idling and awaiting their free midday meal, ferries, and fishing boats and their catch of shark, scallops and squid.
Once I had an encounter with a seal pup. It barked, I spoke, then it dived into the water and swam off. I swear it was grinning at me. Balm for the soul.
Jane Ross, San Remo
Seeking good policy …
Scott Morrison in thongs, cap and board shorts at The Lodge could relaunch the “Slip! Slop! Slap!” campaign. Our beloved, ordinary leader rooting for the Cronulla Sharks might suit “Life. Be in it”.
However, it is not a persona for the serious business of government. In concentrating on promotion, the one element of the marketing mix that Mr Morrison supposedly understands, and neglecting product (good policy and delivery), he has failed Australia. He is out of his depth at home and an embarrassment on the world stage.
Norman Huon, Port Melbourne
… and a capable leader
Scott Morrison says that Anthony Albanese is pretending to be something he is not. Many Australians are wondering when Mr Morrison will start pretending that he is a competent, compassionate and effective leader for our country.
Doug Steley, Heyfield
Balancing art and sport
I am all for a new art gallery in Melbourne (The Age, 16/3). To placate those who think it is a waste of money, perhaps the money to pay for it could come out of the sports budget.
George Houlder, Cambrian Hills
Putting customers last
What have big banks got against the elderly and the disabled? The Commonwealth Bank has closed its branches in my shopping areas, Avondale Heights and Ascot Vale, although both areas are heavily populated by retired people. To add to the problem, there are few post offices left.
In areas with poor public transport, like Avondale Heights, the problem is compounded. It is true that one can pay by card at nearly all shops, but many elderly people do not trust ATMs or card machines, especially if English is not their first language. I also worry about people with intellectual disabilities: some are not happy to get their pensions from an ATM. Remembering their PIN can be hard for many people.
The final insult at Milleara Mall, East Keilor, was the removal of a bank ATM and its replacement by a machine which charges $2.50 for each transaction. Somebody is making a profit.
Margaret Ady, Avondale Heights
Please clarify the charge
My family are paid-up members of the Melbourne Football Club. Anyone who went to the football on Wednesday night had to book a seat and pay an extra charge of $6.08. Outrageous. Someone is making a profit at the expense of football fans.
Christine Hammett, Richmond
Luke’s unjustified anger
Nothing that Fox Sports journalist Tom Morris said caused Luke Beveridge’s post-game outburst on Wednesday night. The Western Bulldogs’ coach brought a grudge to the interview and let Morris have it. He let us all have it and who wanted to hear that?
Ian McKail, Cheltenham
Loss of our native forest
Recently I took a plane ride over mainland Tasmania and was shocked to see the patchwork pattern of logging areas going as far as the eye could see. I then took a drive to witness these areas first hand, and discovered a lot of forest lies behind locked gates.
If logging occurs in our state forests, and Forestry Tasmania claims their logging is both “world’s best practice” and sustainable, why is so much of our state forest locked away? And when will we stop logging native forests – the way most advanced and educated countries have around the world?
Andrew Davies, Cremorne
Maintain the rage, please
What a magnificent effort by teenager Anjali Sharma and her young friends in challenging Environment Minister Sussan Ley’s lack of responsibility for our children’s future in this climate crisis (The Age, 16/3). I hope this setback does not dissuade them from further courageous actions.
Shannon Brand, Carnegie
Vote for young generation
I do not have grandchildren, Bill Burke (Letters, 17/3), but I will also be voting for action on the climate crisis for the sake of any grandchild, anywhere. To disregard the safety of life on this planet would be a shameful abrogation of adult responsibility.
Wendy Knight, Little River
Products made to last
Your correspondent (Letters, 16/3) suggests “we should keep relying on mindless overconsumption and focus on better recycling”.
Instead of building in obsolescence and having a “throw away” society, we should strive to make long-lasting material possessions which, in turn, can be mended when necessary. A new generation of technically skilled workers doing this would add credence to the “Australian Made” logo, and provide an artisan flavour to our sterile streetscapes.
Andrew Smith, Leongatha
Palmer, a man of action
Our government has to wait decades for the new nuclear submarines to be built, but apparently Clive Palmer can acquire them “immediately”.
If I vote for the United Australia Party, can he fast-track the delivery of my new car because the dealers tell me I will have to wait for six to nine months?
David Charles, Newtown
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
Channel Seven commentators, footy has been played all summer. Footy isn’t back, AFLM is back.
Katherine Dretzke, Chewton
If I have to pick up my dog’s poo, why are police horses allowed to block footpaths with steaming piles whenever they want?
Denzill Nicholls, Port Melbourne
Busy Geelong Road with two lanes taken up with heavy-vehicle transport. Driver using two phones – one in each hand.
Rob Wallis, Warrnambool
How many Russian generals will soon be “holidaying” in Siberia?
Ralph Frank, Malvern East
We must all demand action to end the horror taking place in Ukraine.
Irene Morley, Seaford
If Americans were to donate all their guns to Ukrainians, both their counties would be better off.
Randall Bradshaw, Fitzroy
I hope our brand new, billion-dollar gallery includes some underpasses for homeless people. It’s nice to see our priorities.
Peter Ross, Port Melbourne
To invert Paul Keating’s expression, is Morrison trying to “do himself slowly”?
Graeme Henchel, Yarra Glen
So the Environment Minister doesn’t have a duty of care for children. Where does the buck stop then?
Gillian Upton, Balaclava
Who would have thought the appalling way we treated foreign workers during the pandemic would affect their propensity to return (17/3)?
Jeff Moran, Bacchus Marsh
Another brilliant column by Niki Savva (17/3). She explains so clearly the political situation.
Pamela Pilgrim, Highett
Should the UAP be renamed Subs’R’Us?
Paul Miller, Albury
Of course, Clive Palmer can’t just pop down to Bunnings for his submarines (17/3). He’ll get them from Subway.
Mark Summerfield, Northcote
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