Australia

Border security a weak excuse for family’s detention

Former Prime Minister John Howard said: “We will choose who comes to this country.” Karen Andrews needs to pay attention to the groundswell of support for the permanent settlement in Australia of the Murugappan family. The electorate is making clear the this family should be chosen. Barbara d’Arbon, Chittaway Bay

Why hasn’t the cost to taxpayers of millions of dollars to maintain this abuse appalled the PM in the way that Australia Post’s $20,000 Cartier watches gifts did? Didn’t he boast to a Christian conference recently that he had been called “to do God’s work”? Let’s start seeing it in practice. Graeme Hudson, Avalon Beach

The PM needs a stern reminder of the quote: “Religion is in the heart, not in the knees.” Edward Loong, Milsons Point

What is the difference between human rights abuse in China, Myanmar, Hong Kong and more and Christmas Island? None. While our politicians condemn other countries for violations of human rights, Australia locks up children on a remote tropical island. Next election, vote them out. Chris Bell, Osborne Park (WA)

No other democratically elected government in the world would put a family with native-born children through such an inhumane ordeal for the sake of political gain. If the Morrison government does win the upcoming federal election, it would constitute the most morally reprehensible victory in the history of Australian politics. Vincent Zankin, Rivett (ACT)

Hotel folly

Hotel quarantine – perfect example of an oxymoron (Letters, June 11). Michael Britt, MacMasters Beach

Spider effect

It seems another dangerous side effect of COVID-19 is tarantism (“Swamped Moree test site turns away locals”, June 11). Once associated with the dance of the tarantella, people who had been bitten by a tarantula were advised to go into a frantic dance to rid themselves of the poison. The modern equivalent of this has seen the host victims going into frenzied sprees, visiting shopping centres, cafes, cinemas, motels, service stations, in a bid to rid themselves of the poison. Dangerous for all. Jennifer Carter, Oyster Bay

Code war

For those smug people who believe NSW manages QR code compliance better than Victoria, I can’t recall the number of times I’ve paused at a shop doorway to check in while many others walk straight past the QR code (Letters, June 11). We’ve avoided major lockdowns in NSW more by luck than management. Margaret Grove, Abbotsford

New entry

As an ancient hoarder, your letter inspired me to find my old, yellow International Certificate of Vaccination. The last entry was 1977 and hopefully it will have another COVID vaccination entry soon (Letters, June 10). Lorna Denham, New Lambton Heights

A study in how to enter the country

I agree that it is time we started bringing back international students (“Education airlift: NSW to fly in foreign students”, June 11). They are indeed important for our economy. Let us not forget though that the purpose of education is the learning experience for the individual, for the overall benefit of society. So we must ensure that students get back to face to face on-campus learning when they return to our shores. Having just spent time this week face to face with NSW school students under the COVID tutoring program, the value of this interaction was great to see in their eyes. Michael Blissenden, Dural

The NSW Treasurer can set up a way to bring in foreign fee paying students but state and federal governments can’t find a way to expand the capacity for Australian citizens to return to their homes. Money tugs at politician’s heartstrings more than separated families. Here is a tip for Australian residents stuck overseas: enrol in a university course. René Vogelzang, Haberfield

Down the electric avenue

Sydney trains are going green by 2025 (“Green line: Sydney’s trains go renewable”, June 11). While this is commendable, the question remains why four more years, when the Netherlands with its much larger network went completely renewable in 2017? Kevin Bolton, Burwood

Electrification of all private cars, trucks and all public transport sounds like a good idea until the thought of the millions of overnight recharges taking place. Where will the required huge amount of night-time base load capacity come from? Certainly not from solar or batteries. Nuclear power is the only practical 24/7 baseload solution if all fossil fuels are rejected. Greg Turek, Killara

No ANZUS to key questions

When Scott Morrison meets US President Joe Biden in September this year, he may recall with a shudder a meeting with another President two years previously that found him trapped at a campaign rally, in thrall to Donald Trump (“PM plans to visit Biden to mark ANZUS”, June 11). Ah, those were the days. Joan Brown, Orange

Just picture it at the G7 conference: Biden: “Well, Mr Morrison, it is taking longer than I thought to return those 2000 children that Trump separated from their parents at the Mexican border. You have it easy with returning just one family to Queensland. I guess they are all settled back now?” Morrison: “Um, well, I’ve still got them in detention.” Marjie Williamson, Blaxland

Compassion fatigue

Another reason for the drop in donations to charities may be compassion fatigue (“Donations to charities fall to 40-year low” , June 11). Especially as we near the end of the 2020/21 tax deductibility period, letterboxes are filling up with emotive missives from the CEOs of charitable organisations, each trying to outdo the other in tugging on the heartstrings, swamping potential donors with tales of distress and heartbreak. Gone are the days of simply becoming aware of a need and giving a donation to a worthy cause. One is left wondering how much of the donation pie is left for the cause in question after the marketing department takes its slice. Doug Walker, Baulkham Hills

Officials take note

When there is a request from government to classify expenditure as a payment for services, rather than a grant, it’s time for suspicion (“Government funding to farming group delayed as ‘favouritism’ concerns unearthed” , June 11). When a senior public servant expresses ethical concerns about that request it’s time for alarm. When there is a connection between the recipient organisation and a person in a position of political influence, it’s time for a formal investigation. Tony Judge, Woolgoolga

Live for TV

What an interesting life Fred Kenyon had (“TV pioneer’s skills helped create digital revolution”, June 11). A great pioneer of television but marrying Miss Dawn from Romper Room was the highlight. I wonder what windows they looked through in their life? John Dinan, Cheltenham

A dam shame

Yesterday I stood at the Warragamba dam wall marvelling at the pristine wilderness that would be inundated and destroyed by future storms if the dam wall were to be raised (Letters, June 11). I’d encourage your correspondent to do the same. Katriona Herborn, Blackheath

Privacy first

AustralianSuper is a member first organisation and at no time has it put member data in danger or ignored member concerns (“AustralianSuper dismisses privacy concerns”, June 7). In the campaign highlighted in the article, AustralianSuper is partnering with The New Daily as part of a range of activities to improve members’ financial literacy. This is being done openly and with full consideration of all privacy and regulatory obligations. Members have been emailed directly about the campaign prior to it commencing and have the option to opt out at any time.

AustralianSuper works tirelessly to provide the best possible retirement outcome for over 2.4 million Australians, and that includes the proper management of all member data consistent with relevant legislation, regulation and global best practice.

No member data has been breached or compromised. Members’ data is protected by AustralianSuper at all times. Sarah Adams, AustralianSuper Group Executive Strategy, Brand and Reputation

Royal fantasy

What a storm in a royal teacup (“Palace won’t back Sussexes in Lilibet row”, June 10). The Sussexes may simply have their own comic-book-fairytale agenda in mind. So far, Meghan and Harry have Archie and Lilibet (Betty). All they need now are twins named Reggie and Veronica to complete their comic book offspring. With Meghan thinking she’s Ariel the Little Mermaid, and Harry thinking he’s Prince Charming, their cartoon fairytale is complete. They can live happily ever after (and anonymously) in Fantasyland, the happiest kingdom of all. Pam Timms, Suffolk Park

Bad habits

Making whoopie or just getting into bad habits (“Nun stole $1m from school”, June 11)? Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook

Brass monkey

Thursday was the coldest day for 37 years (“The big chill: Sydney shivers through its coldest day since 1984”, June 11). At 9 am it was 9 degrees here. We rugged up with coats, beanies, gloves and scarves to go walking. We passed a young man wearing swimmers only strolling down for a swim. We wondered, did he lose a bet, is he in love, is he crazy or just a young nature lover? Stay warm.
Bea Hodgson , Gerringong

Postscript

“Are other Australians ashamed, as I am?” began Friday’s letter by Gerard Brennan of Bronte condemning the government’s lack of compassion towards the Biloela family. The sentiments expressed by the former High Court chief justice resonated with writers (many wrote to say they were ashamed) and reflected the views of hundreds of correspondents who flooded our inbox this week.

As Christina Pender of Naremburn pointed out, all the letters published in the Herald have supported the Tamil family and condemned their treatment yet the “government is apparently afraid of losing votes if it deviates from its hard line on boat arrivals”. “Where are all these voters the government is so afraid of?” she asked. They’re certainly not writing to the Herald: we have received only one letter supporting the government’s stance.

Many, like Cristina Corleto of Stanmore, also wanted to know if the government honestly “expected illegal immigrants to come by the boatloads should the family now be allowed to stay. What sort of logic is this government using apart from its insistence on dogmatic ideology?”

As Howard Charles of Annandale wrote, the story has “highlighted an ugly truth – all families are not equal and white lives matter more”. Many questioned the Prime Minister’s Christian values and suggested some ministers had missed out on empathy training. All agreed this “show of heartlessness” must come to an end and the family should be able to return to Biloela where they had built a life. It has been one of those weeks when many correspondents hoped the PM would read their letters and respond to their united call for compassion. Pat Stringa, Letters editor

  • To submit a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, email [email protected]. Click here for tips on how to submit letters.

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