Behaviour encapsulates Coalition’s ’50s attitudes

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MINISTERIAL STANDARDS:

Behaviour encapsulates Coalition’s ’50s attitudes

So, the Coalition’s political minders went into overdrive to pressure the ABC not to air Monday night’s Four Corners report into what is basically some members’ lack of respect for and towards women. What does stand out from this program, is that the Coalition is still living in the 1950s. This is supported by its attitude towards women, its treatment of women, the number of women in Parliament, and the support for women in the recent budget.

It is also supported by its attitudes towards climate change and ongoing ‘‘dependence’’ on fossil fuels to stimulate the economy and its attitude towards reconciliation with the traditional owners of this land.

Well done to the ABC for standing up to the Coalition and allowing the ‘‘employers’’ of the Coalition members to see the true characteristics of some of their elected representatives. What the report also confirms is that the incestuous Canberra ‘‘bubble’’ is the problem.
Roger East, Balwyn North

Exposing the toxic workplace culture
ABC managing director David Anderson is to be commended for holding his resolve under ‘‘extraordinary’’ pressure from Coalition staff questioning whether the toxic workplace culture in Parliament merits disclosure in the public interest (‘‘Coalition staff asked ABC if Four Corners episode was in public interest’’, 10/11). In short, the answer is ‘‘yes’’.

Louise Milligan’s reportage – based on the lived testimonies of female staffers and other observers – has shone a spotlight into the hitherto condoned behaviour of self-entitled male politicians.

The tenuous relationships formed between parliamentarians and staffers is not embedded in an equal (consensual) power dynamic, but rather the opposite. Namely, an abuse of power by a dominant male politician, exercising his power and authority over organisationally subordinate female staffers. The salient point missed by the exposed Coalition ministers.

Bravo to Milligan for fearless reporting in the public interest.
Jelena Rosic, Mornington

Double standards exhibited by those in high office
On Monday night I witnessed the ABC doing its finest. The Four Corners episode about the ‘‘toxic bubble’’ of male chauvinism in Canberra both enlightening and appalling, revealing the double standards of our most trusted men in highest office in the country.

Thank you ABC for your bravery in airing it. Also to the female whistleblowers.
Annie Mullarvey, North Fitzroy

Parties must carefully screen candidates
Political parties need to screen members seeking endorsement better: we need more Peter Costellos and John Faulkners, and fewer of the narcissistic hypocrites whose sleazy exploits keep popping up in the news. This is not a partisan issue, it is cultural: just get rid of them.
James Ogilvie, Kew

Now witness the attack upon the ABC
Four Corners took a great risk in airing its expose of how our male ‘‘leaders’’/ministers treat their junior female staffers. Now for the attack on our ABC – the inevitable response to fearless journalism and the deflection of the serious implications of this expose.

Power imbalance and feeling ‘‘captive’’ described by these young women, highlight not only an abuse of power but hypocrisy of conservative, ‘‘family values’’ men who hold ministerial positions in our government.

These men lead voters like me to complete disillusionment. How dare they throw stones at others and live by such double standards.

The absence of ministerial standards seems to be the benchmark. No public service or public good, just self serving, promotion of their own careers and status while destroying people in their path. Enough. This is not what I want from my government.
Dr Liz Curran, Elwood

THE FORUM

Speaking for the dead
Richard Baker’s report (‘‘‘Toxic’ court culture link to suicide’’, 7/11) on the inquest of a staff member of the Coroners Court of Victoria again raises the need for further coronial reform. The inquest found ‘‘… The workplace and its culture at the time, was deeply flawed … the lack of support from the Court was stark … on any view (the staff member) was entitled to and deserved far better.’’ Evidence was ‘‘the operation and culture of the Court was, at the time, dysfunctional … It is to be observed that from 2017 to 2018 there have been no less than four reports or reviews commissioned into the workings of the Court …’’

The Coronial Council Appeals Review (2017) made a recommendation to ‘‘establish a Client Advocacy Office within the Coroners Court to manage cases suitable for a restorative justice process’’, and provided a role description. The government has failed to enact this recommendation. We deserve far better.

We urge the Attorney-General to implement all CCV-related recommendations so the court can offer the highest services to alleviate further distress and facilitate justice in their role of ‘‘speaking for the dead and protecting the living’’.
Phil O’Donnell, Sunbury

Religious intolerance
The article ‘‘French police quiz child apologists of teacher’s beheading’’ (9/11) highlights the dangers inherent in religious indoctrination. The vast majority of religions are incapable of accepting the possibility that theirs is not the ‘‘one true religion’’.

I respect those who practise their religion without seeking to force their religious beliefs, such as opposition to abortion and voluntary euthanasia, on others. A civilised society respects difference and practices tolerance and a degree of humility; civilised individuals accept that they are not always right.
Brian Kilday, Jeeralang Junction

Value of silence
Remembrance Day today marks 80 years since the BBC first aired the chiming and striking of Big Ben (on Armistice Sunday of 1940) ahead of the 9pm news – as part of the Silent Minute prayer movement.

As the war continued, millions of people set aside the 60 seconds elapsed by that chiming and striking each evening, to spend time for ‘‘thought, prayer and personal renewal of courage, resolution and faith’’ – as noted by the movement’s founder Wellesley Tudor Pole.

However, Big Ben Silent Minute broadcasts became Sunday night-only features in 1947 and they ended in 1960. Such a pity we forget the value of prayer during times of peace.
David d’Lima, Sturt, SA

Let Us Remember
This Remembrance Day, let’s take a moment to consider all those on both sides who died in Australia’s Frontier Wars. I live on Brayakaulung Country in the Gunnai Nation, in a town that saw at least two recorded massacres. Cairns dedicated to a perpetrator still dot the landscape. The true history has not yet been told, though it is documented.

In the absence of a national day of mourning, Remembrance Day is the appropriate day to recognise the brave warriors who resisted, and the innocent women and children who succumbed, to ruthless colonial expansion. The wounds of intergenerational genocide trauma are still fresh. To ‘‘Lest We Forget’’ let’s add: Let Us Remember.
Michael Puck, Maffra

Pad up for NSW
Congratulations to Will Pucovski on his achievement of consecutive double centuries in the Sheffield Shield. Now all he has to do is move to NSW to ensure a Test spot.
Jack Morris, Kennington

Eradicate feral animals
It seems that if we work together, focus and care enough we very nearly eradicated COVID-19. With our new-found confidence, why not celebrate NAIDOC week by committing to getting stuck into foxes and feral cats? It would be so lovely to share our state again with the native birds and animals that once flourished when our First Nations people last ran the place.
Paul Johnson, Clifton Hill

A question of immunity
The potential lawsuits confronting Donald Trump would seem to highlight the real reason for his reluctance to leave office. His term in office has been marked by a number of proposed legal actions. The level of legal protection afforded an incumbent president would appear to be beyond any standard of reasonableness. It raises the question of why a politician at any level should have any immunity from the law not afforded to citizens generally.
Brian Kidd, Mount Waverley

Turn your mind to vote
We say we have compulsory voting in Australia (Letters, 10/11) but we don’t. We have the requirement that you turn up and have your name marked off on the roll. Whether you actually mark off your choices or not is entirely up to you.

You are not forced to indicate your preferences or who you support. But you are required to take some time out of your day and turn your mind to whether you want to have a say in who runs your government – if you can’t even do that, then why have a democracy?
Keith Wilson, Rye

Dangerous denialism
Michael Lallo’s and Broede Carmody’s article (‘‘Trump ‘lies’ pose media dilemma’’, 10/11), raise the perplexing issue as to whether a US president should be censored by mainstream news outlets. In the case of Donald Trump’s presidency, his record of devastating multiple lies in relation to COVID-19 for example suggests strongly that there has always been a clear-cut ethical imperative for him to be publicly scrutinised.

His incoherent and dangerous denialism around the presidential election outcome only reinforces the need for rigorous fact-checking at a time when the caretaker transition to a Biden presidency has become fraught. Trump’s lies must be held to account for the US’ sake.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza

A stable democracy
David Charles’ letter against compulsory voting (10/11) ignores the intention of the framers of the constitution to ensure that all opinions are reflected in the vote, not just political extremes.

Compulsory voting is not just a right, it is also a responsibility. It’s not much to ask of every citizen to exercise a minimum commitment now and then to live in a stable democracy.
Dick Davies, North Warrandyte

Renewable energy
It is about time Joel Fitzgibbon considered becoming an independent. His views on coalmining have always been about his personal ability to be elected. If he was truly worried about coalminers in his electorate he would try and establish jobs for them in the renewable energy sector. Coal may be around for some years, but supporting new coal mines is just bloody minded.
Alan Inchley, Frankston

Responsibility to vote
It is true that we live in a democratic society with many rights and freedoms, but compulsory voting is not at odds with these values. Why? Because rights and freedoms are not open-ended, they come with both individual and collective responsibilities to uphold a democracy.

Non-compulsory voting invites complacency and opens a vulnerability for charlatan politicians to be elected and game the democratic system. Whereas compulsory voting is relatively difficult to game. Complacency and disinterest are not an excuse for opting out of the responsibility to vote as a means to protect a democracy from undemocratic charlatans.
Paul Miller, Box Hill South

Engage Hillary Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, lawyer, politician, diplomat, writer and public speaker who served as the 67th US secretary of state, as a US senator from New York, and as first lady, is the lawyer they need to engage to do Donald Trump’s White House eviction paperwork if he fails to timely pack his smalls drawer and leave. Hillary’s signature on Donald’s eviction notice is the symmetry we need to complete this three-ring circus.
Nina Wellington Iser, Hawthorn

No, we will decide
I am weary of watching the Prime Minister shrugging his shoulders, dodging about and smirking as he channels John Howard’s sanctimonious battle cry ‘‘We will decide … etc.’’ When it comes to policy on climate change there is no doubt about who will decide, the only issue is what will we decide? ‘‘To do nothing. You can’t make us!’’ is the puerile, self-centred national call to arms. Are we supposed to believe that in order to preserve our national sovereignty we must not listen to the rest of the world? Sounds vaguely like science denial all over again.
Dr Trevor Hay, Montmorency

Belated passion
The Q&A program on the ABC featured former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull showing great passion about climate change, the reporting of it and the right-wing deniers’ bias attached to it. If he had exhibited the same passion when prime minister he would have gone down as one of the greats of our era.
Peter Roche, Carlton

Time to act
Well said Phil Alexander (Letters, 9/11). Trump’s policies are indeed eerily similar to the federal government’s. Australia is governed by dinosaurs who need to evolve to bring their fossilised policies into the 21st century. Now is the time to transition employment away from fossil fuels into the renewable energy sector. A transition cannot be left to the future when coal and gas are no longer exportable commodities. If Australia is to hold its place in the world, the government must accept scientific counsel and join other countries to tackle climate change.
Sue Bennett, Sunbury

AND ANOTHER THING …

Credit:

Trump
What a delicious irony it would be if Trump became the one who was ultimately locked up.
Peter McCarthy, Mentone

The only real poll is the actual poll.
Rob Evans, Glen Iris

Watching the unfolding US election on television was as exciting as watching Barack Obama’s win, and even more exciting than watching the moon landing.
Greg White, Balwyn North

It is not electoral fraud but schadenfreude that will be off the scale when Trump admits defeat or is evicted from the Oval Office.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South

It looks like Biden held the trump card, after all.
Chris Durie, Hawthorn East

The world breathes a little easier despite COVID-19.
John Walsh, Watsonia

Politics
Time was when common folk could get their jollies by attending public executions. Now the ABC brings them to our living room.
Brian Burleigh, Cowwarr

Last night we learnt a lesson in hypocrisy. How could we ever trust people such as the Attorney-General to lead us in ethical standards?
David Lamb, Kew East

An encouraging sign of a ‘‘new normal’’? Yesterday’s Age has more pages on Harvey Norman than on Donald Trump.
Robert Niall, Fitzroy North

Coronavirus
It was nice of Gladys Berejiklian to say that border restrictions would end with Victoria. However, given the case numbers, will Victoria let them in?
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha

Don’t let us get too smug about NSW now being a greater COVID-19 risk than Victoria. We should never forget that we have experienced 90 per cent of Australia’s total deaths.
Neville Wilson, Rosanna

Finally
It’s been a great year for roses, just in case nobody’s noticed.
Jim Pilmer, Camberwell


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