Refreshing change gives hope for the future

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INDEPENDENT THINKING

Refreshing change gives hope for the future

Zoe Daniel’s article (“I’m running to tackle a dysfunctional system”, The Age, 21/12) demonstrates, explicitly and tacitly, why the independents’ movement is offering such a refreshing alternative to the tired party system. The independent candidates are all strong, capable individuals who have established successful careers outside politics, not political party apparatchiks. They are all looking to encourage and support strong, important, community-backed policies which are proving inconvenient to the major parties whose agendas are driven by their power factions and the vested interests of themselves and their backers.

As such the independents bring both the hope that the future government could better provide the policies the community actually wants and needs, and a strong drive for integrity in government. A refreshing change indeed.
Chris Young, Surrey Hills

Splinter party concerns
Felicity Laing (Letters, 21/12) is concerned that if too many independents are elected then we will have a resultant term of government unable to devise policies or choose a prime minister. My fear is that if this should occur we could see the emergence of “The Australian Independent Party” and be back to square one. We already have evidence of a bloc of independents supporting the government on the Pandemic Bill. Surely the logical extension of like activity is the formation of another splinter party.
Brian Gunn, Point Lonsdale

Australia needs a true coalition government
I wish writers and political pundits would stop using the term “hung parliament”, as no such thing exists and is unheard of in the EU. All democratically elected parliaments are a coalition of parties and individuals as are the coalition cabinets formed into governments by them. I agree with everything Goldstein candidate Zoe Daniel (pictured, top) states in her piece. Indeed she would make an excellent cabinet minister in a centre-left coalition government Australia so desperately needs.
Henk van Leeuwen, Elwood

Collective of strong independents a first step
Luke Nayna (“Much unknown about independents”, The Age, 20/12) talks in negative terms of a hung parliament but there is more democratic health in such a parliament than one which is beholden to a minority party having an unrepresentative number of seats. The current situation has resulted in a planned response to climate change and the energy transition being off the agenda for more than 10 years. A hung parliament would have a chance of bringing robust informed debate on behalf of the electorate such as we saw during the Gillard era.

The two-party system does not serve us well, is now seen to not be delivering an appropriate democratic process and is destined for the history books. Further down the road this country would be far better served by a proportional voting system such as that of New Zealand, Germany or Norway where a multi-party agreement is the basis for forming government based on negotiated agreement on key policy areas. A collective of strong independents could be a stepping stone towards such an ideal.
Robert Brown, Camberwell

Main parties need to lift game to secure votes
Luke Nayna ignores the obvious question, why are voters moving to the independents? The answer is simple: the major parties no longer represent their constituents and are seen as in it for themselves. Nayna claims that the independents won’t say who they’ll support to form a minority government yet we are not permitted to know the deal between the Liberals and Nationals. Nayna claims it is a problem that independents are backed by millionaires, but he appears to have no problem with Palmer’s $80 million splurge that supported the Liberals. If the major parties want people to vote for them and not independents then they seriously need to lift their games.
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha

THE FORUM

News is all ‘positive’
Tim Shirley (Letters, 21/12) demands “more positive” views from Australia’s medical experts on COVID-19 in Australia because he has been vaccinated. The problem is that what we are seeing every day is indeed more positive. More people testing positive to infection, some unfortunately, infecting others before they are diagnosed. Why this means we should stop asking the advice of Australian experts in epidemiology I cannot fathom.

If Mr Shirley doesn’t want to hear from them, he could try the mute button. I am grateful for their advice. It was because of them that I became aware my booster shot will not take effect for weeks rather than days.
Juliet Flesch, Kew

Reality check
Your correspondent Tim Shirley doesn’t like pessimistic health experts in the media and now wants to change them for some more positive ones. Whilst that is clearly how social media works (where we enjoy the luxury of choosing an “expert” that better reflects how we would like our personal reality to be) unfortunately experts are experts because they know a lot about the issue and are able to look beyond personal bias and wishful thinking to give a considered view of the matter at hand. I would suggest that we need to listen to those views, whether we like them or not.
Julian Guy, Mount Eliza

Stop relying on migrants
That the government remains focused on population growth despite the lessons provided by the pandemic on transmission is dismaying. Monday’s announcement of a slump in population numbers is a rare piece of good news for the hundreds of species of birds and animals being crowded towards extinction by our own biologically useless species. When and if COVID-19 departs the scene I would hope that governments of former sources of migrants might find some means of thwarting our shameless poaching of their young and well-trained while we get on with training our own expertise.
Barry Clarris, Ringwood East

Our COVID story
My wife caught COVID-19 after dining at the Portsea Hotel and despite my best efforts to isolate, I followed up a week later and am now on my 15th day of isolation. My wife and I are both double vaxxed but my wife felt as if she had a heavy cold and I had a headache, some chest pain and a cough. We’re both over the symptoms and are looking forward to Christmas.

The worst part about getting COVID is having to isolate at home. It’s for 10 days if you’ve been double vaxxed and if your partner catches it you’ve got to isolate for seven days.

The Alfred hospital’s support team has been great and they continue to monitor us. Life would have been very different if we hadn’t been vaccinated. So don’t panic if you get COVID, it’s not a disaster as long as you’ve had the jabs.
Allen Perry, McKinnon

Broken promises
Promises, promises (“Anger as cash for the city’s south-east is shelved”, The Age, 21/12). The billions promised by the then minister for cities, Alan Tudge, seem to have been but a mirage. These promises helped the Liberals win the seats of Flinders, Aston, La Trobe, Casey, Chisholm and Deakin. Just as the commuter car parks promises evaporated once the election was done and dusted, the rivers of gold dried up.

The real question is whether the citizens of these Liberal seats will fall for the fairy dust again.
Ken Rivett, Ferntree Gully

Poor timing
The Bayside Council chooses the beginning of summer and the school holidays to close off a beach car park and start demolishing and rebuilding the surf life saving club on one of Melbourne’s most popular beaches. What madness is this?
Peter Mitchell, Hampton

Economic myth
A trillion dollars of government debt and 3.8 per cent inflation for 2020-21, two figures only out of myriad economic data that should give the federal government pause about lowering taxes. But not this government. The myth is (again) being perpetuated that Coalition governments are superior economic managers, and unfortunately the Labor opposition would appear to agree.
Jack Morris, Kennington

One bright note for 2021
As we approach the end of the second year of this truly awful pandemic, it is worth reflecting that some good things happened in 2021. For me, it was the global acceptance, even including recalcitrant Australia, that global warming is real, important, and caused by the burning of fossil fuels. COP26 in Glasgow was the most successful climate conference yet. Climate scientists have segued from being accused of fomenting conspiracy to winning Nobel prizes. And global warming is no longer a problem of scientific or political argument but what it should always have been: How do we get to net zero emissions quickly, efficiently, and cheaply? Sure there is still much work to be done, and there remain a handful who deny the science. But their days are over, and we can look forward to a better and more sustainable future. For this I am truly grateful.
Neville Nicholls, Viewbank

A reasoned voice
Thanks Reverend Jim Pilmer (Letters, 21/12). Having compassionate and reasoned voices such as yours might bring to light the idea that you can indeed be both LBGTQI and religious. Accepting that dissolves some of the angst surrounding the debates to do with pastoral conversations in schools as well as the Religious Discrimination Bill. We all know that the ethos of various religions evolves over time – it just seems to be harder for some to let go of the LBGTQI issue as compared to other so-called contradictory religious behaviour.
Ange Mackie, Coburg

Time to think of others
My daughter has an intellectual disability, and was vaccinated early, as was I. We have had our booster shots. However, her safety also relies on others maintaining public health by being vaccinated, wearing masks etc. Consequently, Craig Kelly’s dangerous and loud views on vaccines and public health measures have long worried me. Now I learn he has an intellectually disabled son and has moved house to better provide for him. That’s laudable, but surely, Mr Kelly would also want to provide the safest community for his son to interact in? Public health works – but the key is public. Time to think of others, folks. After all, it’s Christmas.
Jennie Irving, Camberwell

Who’s being excluded?
I read recently that many unvaccinated people who have been excluded from family Christmas celebrations are forming their own parties. Taking away the obvious problem of super spreading, I also wonder who is actually being excluded. I have an autoimmune disease and the medication I take makes me highly vulnerable to COVID-19. And so, any party that includes unvaccinated people is effectively excluding me from attending. Unlike unvaccinated people who can get together and party, many people with compromised immune systems are forced to stay home, often without company. So who’s actually being excluded?
Donna Wyatt, Wyndham Vale

Christmas miracle needed
Dr Colleen Lewis sensibly requests integrity in politics for Christmas (“Dear Santa, here is what I really want for Christmas”, The Age, 20/12). She concludes with the hope the North Pole is not “melting away” and promises that “we will try to do all we can to ensure your home stays safe and secure”.

This is a noble promise to the jolly person in red but we need to ensure such intentions are given more than lip service. Given last week’s dire news about the disappearing Arctic and the rallying cry of climate scientists in the August IPCC report we must accept that our changing climate is a global emergency. My Christmas wish is that humanity collectively accepts, prioritises and tackles this immense challenge. As a New Year’s resolution, we could all promise to appreciate the resources our planet provides and live more simply, valuing relationships and the natural environment over possessions. Santa and his Arctic home deserve our best efforts.
Amy Hiller, Kew

The real issue here
I’m writing in response to the article by George Megalogenis (“Blokeage prevents nation’s progress”, The Age, 18/12). I enjoyed his perspectives on “gender replacing location and identity as the dominant faultline in our politics”.

Near the end of the article Megalogenis quotes Kate Jenkins’ report into the toxic workplace culture in Parliament where she states that one of the drivers of verbal and physical abuse in the building is “women’s under-representation in senior roles, particularly among parliamentarians”. Megalogenis adds, this may be corrected by female independents holding the balance of power at the next election.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if analysts were able to say that “this appalling behaviour will be corrected by men changing their behaviour”. This would leave newly elected female independents free to get on with focusing on policy and initiatives that would benefit their electorate, rather than be distracted by having to step in and solve a problem they didn’t cause?
Angelina Manera, Brighton, SA

Rewriting history
Another full-page ad promoting Craig Kelly as “The next Prime Minister of Australia Leader of UAP from 2021″. Comparing him with Joseph Lyons, William Hughes and Sir Robert Menzies who were prime ministers of Australia and past UAP leaders.

They fail to mention that the UAP ceased to exist as a parliamentary party in 1945 when its members joined the new Liberal Party of Australia and the contemporary United Australia Party of Clive Palmer and Craig Kelly formed in 2013 has no connection or relationship with the former party. Do they think we are all idiots and not aware of Australian history?
Rita Lord, Rye

AND ANOTHER THING …

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Coronavirus
Dominic Perrottet’s virus advice is to “stand tall”. Not sure how this will work as a practical strategy in emergency departments.
Julie Conquest, Brighton

The medical advice may be hard to swallow but swallow it we must, Tim Shirley (Letters, 21/12). COVID-19 is nowhere near done and dusted.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South

As more aged care homes prepare for lockdowns what will it take for national cabinet to ban unvaccinated visitors?
Sally Davis, Malvern East

Once again, ScoMo is in slow mo (“Premiers urge PM to speed up boosters”, The Age, 21/12).
Phil Alexander, Eltham

Politics
The Craig Kelly ad brings back memories of Alfred E. Neuman on the cover of Mad magazine.
John Rawson, Mernda

Another day and another conservative columnist attacking the independents. Stay strong Zoe, Monique, Allegra et al you have them running scared.
Libby Cooper, Bentleigh East

Dudded in GST distributions, dudded in City Deal distributions, constantly criticised by the usual suspects, will anyone in federal politics stand up for Victoria?
Tim Douglas, Blairgowrie

Furthermore
Mid-year I had two AstraZeneca shots. Yesterday a Pfizer booster. I’ve had the flu and whooping cough jabs. I reckon I’m “holier” than the Pope.
Myra Fisher, Brighton East

The next stop for the over blown Santas proliferating in our streets – an eternity in landfill.
Jenny “Grinch” Smithers, Ashburton

Today I heard people wanting more paramedics. Surely they realise that tax cuts for mostly the well off are far more important.
Loch Wilson, Northcote

Finally
Not even Omicron can save the Ashes for the Poms.
Andy Wain, Rosebud


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