Palmer’s preference for Liberals is surfacing

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Federal election
Michael Koziol’s article (“Liberals to benefit from UAP preferences in many key seats”, The Age, 10/5) demonstrates the true purpose of Clive Palmer’s massive election expenditure. Although not as blatant as in 2019, Palmer is throwing money at keeping Labor out of office.
For months Palmer and sidekick Craig Kelly have been insisting that the Liberals, Labor and the Greens should be “put last”. In so doing they have attracted support from a small band of disaffected and disillusioned people angry at the established parties. Lockdowns, mandatory vaccination, failing businesses, fear of losing jobs and misinformation (some would say lies) have all contributed to support for the UAP.
In my local electorate of Dunkley, the UAP preferences the Liberal candidate higher than the incumbent Labor member Peta Murphy. Every UAP voter who follows the ticket will be voting Liberal on a two-party-preferred basis. This cynical exercise, which is designed to mislead, is being replicated in key seats across the country and it will certainly help the Morrison government in its bid for re-election.
James Young, Mt Eliza

Palmer’s heartland
The idea of Palmer’s United Australia Party gathering votes in Victoria will probably trigger eye rolling of gargantuan proportion (“Palmer’s people: UAP cuts through in Labor heartland”, The Age, 10/5). Give me the freedom from their incessant slogans, garish corflutes and narrow-minded ideas please. The only beneficiaries from the UAP will be Palmer and his cronies I suspect. C’mon Victoria, think bigger and better.
Wendy Hinson, Wantirna

Hardly moderate
Josh Frydenberg claims to be a “moderate” liberal. I just received his how to vote card and he preferences in both houses the Liberal Democrats, Hinch’s Justice Party and United Australia Party, hardly moderates. Voting for him is voting for the extreme right, of Clive Palmer and co.
Livia Iacovino, Hawthorn

All forgiven?
Just received voting information from my local Liberal candidate and their sample gives second preferences to Clive Palmer’s UAP in the Senate. After all of his party’s “dissing” of Morrison how can this be so?
Vicki Jordan, Lower Plenty

Going to extremes
“Unhappy is the land that needs heroes,” said Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo in 17th-century Italy. If Galileo had lived in 21st-century United States, France or Australia, would he have said, “Unhappy is the land that needs a conservative centrist to stave off a dangerous right-winger”?
Mirna Cicioni, Brunswick East

Never-ending elections
In years gone by federal governments implemented policies in their first year of office that they considered to be good government, even if doing so temporarily lost them some popularity. In the second year they consolidated the changes and in the third turned their minds towards winning the next election. State and territory governments, elected to four-year terms, followed a similar pattern.
Recently that’s all gone out the window. It’s not about good government any more, it’s about holding onto or gaining power. Poll-driven government leaders start their campaigns for the next election while delivering their acceptance speech at the last. No wonder we’re all fed up with the current six weeks of political posturing, leading up to May 21, knowing the cycle then starts again.
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills

Where do they stand?
Have we heard what Clive Palmer and Pauline Hanson’s attitude to a federal anti-corruption commission is? Need to know before voting.
Michael McKenna, Warragul


Rail mistake
The offer by federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese to provide $2 billion in federal funds for the Andrews government’s Suburban Rail Loop project (The Age, 10/5) is a case of throwing good money after bad. Daniel Andrews’ government failed to consider any other solutions, much less countenance public dialogue, prior to announcing the project in the lead-up to the last state election. Such solutions may logically have included improvements in existing services and alternative (and potentially superior but less costly) capital projects.
In the absence of any hiccups, the project won’t be completed until 2035 and with a budget of up to $34.5 billion. The big sleeper is the part that is to be played by value capture from increased land valuations, coupled with the Victorian government’s ill-disguised ambition to control land use planning on the entire corridor between Cheltenham and Box Hill. In the meantime, outer suburban residents continue to endure mediocre public transport services, a phenomenon that the Suburban Rail Loop will not remedy.
Ian Hundley, Balwyn North

On track for 9 million
I support the announced investment in more public transport and for filling the infrastructure gap in Melbourne. But the huge cost – up to $34.5 billion for just this one rail loop – should make us reflect on where Melbourne is headed. The prediction that the city’s population will grow to 9 million by mid-century is truly scary. Consider not just the increased competition for housing, hospital beds, places in schools, parkland – the list goes on – but also the escalating drain on the public purse for “catch-up” infrastructure. Shouldn’t we be challenging the growth forecast?
Ian Penrose, Kew

Proof in the policy
Every election we hear this tired old refrain from commentators about how disappointed they are about the policies offered. Do they ever actually read what is being offered? The ALP is offering policies in child care, aged care, wages growth, climate action, a corruption commission and acceptance of the Uluru statement. Scott Morrison is offering, well, more of the same.
David Fry, Moonee Ponds

Ally abandoned
Anthony Albanese should reference Peter Hartcher’s article about China’s existential and long-term strategy to gradually assume control of key territories in the Pacific region. (“Leaders fumble lines on Beijing”, 10/5). It is now clearer than ever that the Morrison government’s jettisoning of the French submarine project has exposed our nation’s vulnerability to China in relation to defence supply lines. Where was the logic in alienating a European power with 2 million French nationals and over 7000 troops stationed in its overseas departments and territories adjacent to us within the region? Where was the respect for President Macron, who has now assumed the de facto leadership of Europe and prioritised European Union involvement in the Indo-Pacific, especially with regard to security of trade routes and economic partnerships? Shameful negligence by our Prime Minister and his government has led us to this point.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza

Naval gazing
I hope that the Chinese and Russian militaries aren’t too devastated about missing out on an invite to the naval conference and trade show at Darling Harbour (“Australia snubs China, Russia in top naval gathering”, 10/5). They must be wondering how they’ll survive without our knowledge and advice on submarine acquisitions.
Peter Martina, Warrnambool

Democracy mystery
It is not difficult to suspect that the “new democracies” such as the Philippines cannot be very democratic. How else can the election of “Bongbong” Marcos be explained? As James Loxton says, (“Marcos rides again? Sad fate of new democracies”, 9/5), Marcos’ election means that the “human rights nightmare” in the Philippines is set to continue and who would vote for that? However, Loxton does not suggest the election result was rigged or the election was not free and fair. In the age of mass disinformation peddled by social media, it is increasingly possible for voters to willingly elect leaders not much different from the dictators their parents struggled to rid themselves of.
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills

Redirect aid
There is a persuasive argument for reducing the level of our foreign aid and redirecting the funds to mental health, aged care and the welfare of the homeless in this country. But, despite their rhetoric, these areas of social concern have a low priority with the major political parties. Charity begins at home.
Michael J Gamble, Belmont

Make it OK, Boomers
As a university student in 1972, my introduction to politics was the Vietnam War and conscription, which balloted young men for army service. Even though we were under the then voting age of 21, my friends and I campaigned for Labor. Gough Whitlam had an exciting vision for Australia that included progressive reforms such as free tertiary education and Medibank (now Medicare) and ended our military involvement in Vietnam. The election result showed us the power of voting and inspired us to keep advocating for social change. Many of us chose to work in the community sector and became involved in activist groups, unions and local government.
Fifty years later, most of us are far wealthier than our parents ever were, yet the current Coalition and Labor parties are falling over each other to further increase the wealth of those Baby Boomers who, like me, are very well off. How is this fair?
Today’s young adults are dealing with HECS debt, insecure employment, high rents and climate change. Neither of the major parties has a credible vision for the future. Their election promises look like bribes, funded by the younger generation. I urge my fellow Baby Boomers to vote for candidates that care about young people. They deserve to feel hope for the future and that they too, can make a difference.
Jenny Backholer, Clifton Hill

Homes locked up
In our unpretentious street in central Victoria I can count at least five houses that I would describe as uninhabited. Some others are supposedly “weekenders”, but several of these are seldom visited and effectively empty for 99 per cent of the year. This is duplicated across the shire. More than half-a-million Australians own holiday homes. A report published in 2020 found 69,000 underused or empty homes in Melbourne. At the same time, there are more than 2.2 million property investors in Australia, of which around 30 per cent own two or more properties, accounting for more than 3 million homes. The rental crisis in the regions is driven by demand, but the practice of buying country properties up and shutting them down has escalated dramatically during the lockdowns. It’s a free country and folk can choose how they invest as it suits them but investing in people’s homes comes with consequences.
Patrick Hockey, Clunes

Independent movement
The “teal” independents’ are successful, so far, but are only a half-way house to Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche! government in France. After the 2022 election, there is a need for the independents to link together into a progressive political party selecting the best candidates in every electorate for the 2025 (or more likely earlier) election to win government in their own right. That is real reform.
Malcolm Cameron, Camberwell

Multiverse not science
As a scientist I was bemused by the report (“The movie multiverse – could it be real?” 9/5) on the idea of a multiverse (i.e. the existence of many, perhaps an infinite number, of alternative universes to the one we inhabit). The report citing Professor Tamara Davis, from the University of Queensland asserted the idea that “there is more than one universe is ‘pretty widely accepted’ among scientists these days”. But should most scientists be accepting as science an idea that Davis concedes is not amenable to scientific testing? Sounds like a statement of belief, not science? I was similarly bemused by Professor Lewis of the University of Sydney’s claim that the multiverse idea “helps explain why our universe has the characteristics that it does”. Really? Somehow the untestable idea of a multiverse supposedly explains away the genuine conundrum posed by the vanishingly small probability of a universe with the particular characteristics suitable for life (i.e. our known universe) simply by multiplying that tiny number by an infinitely large number (of unknown universes). Inventive, but given the urgent challenges in this particular universe, let’s stick with testable hypotheses to solve real world problems, e.g. the extinction crisis.
Mike Clarke, Emeritus Professor of Zoology, La Trobe University

Phonics hysteria
Here we go again on phonics hysteria. If phonics is the only way to learn how to read deaf people would always be illiterate. Possibly because I may have had a hearing problem all my life I have never been able to use phonics. This hasn’t stopped me doing an arts degree and getting a post-grad diploma in an area demanding reading skills, (libraries). Yes, for most kids phonics work well but, for others, alternate methods are required.
Mick O’Mara, Winchelsea

Cheap shot
Scott Morrison has got it wrong again with his comments on gender affirmation surgery, stating that this procedure changes young adolescents lives forever. This surgical procedure is performed on a person over 18, not a young adolescent. Morrison presents as a concerned politician for “these young people and their parents” but offers no recognition or concern for the individual who struggles to live true to themselves while taking their place in society.
Julie Ottobre, Forest Hill

And another thing

Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

First reaction to the revelation (“Liberals to benefit from UAP preferences in many key seats,” 10/5) would have to be that anyone ready to take Clive Palmer’s advice on anything should probably be disenfranchised on grounds of gullibility.
Tony Haydon, Springvale

It’s good to see postal votes have started early for the election. It’s going to take a couple of weeks before they are delivered.
Craig Tucker, Newport

Has Minister Alan Tudge taken home-schooling and remote learning to heart and created home and remote electioneering?
George Reed, Wheelers Hill

The great debate? From my sofa it was more the great debacle. It added nothing to my knowledge of the values of either party but was fun to watch. Great entertainment.
Noel J. Denton, Mt Waverley

That “debate” sure was a bonanza for the “teal” candidates, wasn’t it?
Terry Kelly, Coburg

The mandatory attributes of a good leader: a warm heart, cool head, and clean hand. Who fits the bill among the current crop? A sad indictment of our leaders.
James Sarros, Black Rock

Yes, it would be nice if politicians gave yes or no answers when asked (Letters, 10/5). Unfortunately, the majority identify as non-binary responders.
Peter Thomas, Pascoe Vale

Your correspondent refers to the “crippling workload” imposed upon teachers in terms of “the amount of assessment”; yet the learning process for young people needs continual assessment. The solution is for teachers to be allocated smaller classes.
Peter Drum, Coburg

Will the crunched curriculum give a new phocus on fonics?
Ken McIndoe, Blackburn

I doff my hat to Michael Albert (10/5) – a touch of much-needed kindness amid the negativity of today’s world.
Margaret Skeen, Pt Lonsdale

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