Poll shows country cries out for a leader to inspire


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I am an ordained, but now retired, priest of the Anglican church and am in utter contempt of the tactics the government now employs to seek re-election. My hope is that all morally upright Christians across the nation believe the same and will vote to see this scandalous government defeated when the election comes. But when Labor wins the next election will its coterie be any different? – Brian Roach, Whitebridge

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:

The results in this poll show Labor down 3 per cent, to 51 per cent preferred, from 54 per cent in the previous poll. Looking at 3 per cent in other sections of this poll, 3 per cent more oppose, than support, Labor’s plan to end franking credits. So a lot are now aiming to vote against Labor unless they decide to let franking credits continue – which many long-time Labor supporters hope Labor will. – Brett James, Baulkham Hills

If the poll is correct then we are back where we were before they rolled Malcolm. If the trend continues they may save the furniture but to win they will need a turn back or two. – Denis Goodwin, Dee Why

Unlike the political journalists in yesterday’s Herald I am not sure Australia’s public will see Morrison’s rhetoric as just that. Sadly, I think a mixture of fear and selfishness will see the Coalition over the line. Where we go then I suspect will be to more political turmoil. Non-government parties and politicians need to articulate a positive vision and principled objectives for the country. I am not sure if they can. – Peter Dwyer, Epping

Calling all boats: ‘‘So where the bloody hell are you?’’ It didn’t work last time, Mr Morrison. – Sue Dowe, Croydon

Do we want an ad man running
our country? – Janifer Fraser, Lismore

Medevac bill seeks balance between firm and fair

So ‘‘thuggery and bullying can be found in all sorts of places … the people on Manus and Nauru are an indispensable asset to some self-appointed heroes’’ (‘‘We’ve blinked on asylum seekers – and people smugglers know it’’, February 18). Oh dear, Amanda Vanstone, what a wonderful mirror image of government policy. Those refugees are government hostages, kept as a lesson both for the smuggling industry and for the electorate. – Susan Connelly, Lakemba

‘‘Being tough is not easy,’’ says Vanstone in her jaundiced piece. On the contrary, being tough is a doddle for any well-resourced thug with the power to do so. What’s not easy is striking a workable balance between being firm and being fair and humane, which the medevac bill seeks to do. Any principled, half-competent government would implement this change calmly and in a grown-up way. They would not fire off hysterical and reckless messages inviting the boats to resume, or engage in wanton scaremongering. – Brian Palfrey, Surry Hills

What a contrast between Vanstone’s column packed with innuendo and speculation, and Michael Bachelard’s two days earlier that cuts through the politics and wakes us up to the real horrors of seeking asylum by boat (‘‘I was there the last time Australian politics encouraged people smuggling. Let’s not do it again’’, February 16-17).

If this issue was really about the character of asylum seekers, surely we would hear a lot more about the 64,000 who have arrived by air in recent years, a much smaller proportion of whom were found to be genuine refugees compared to those arriving by boat. – Malcolm France, Haberfield

The scaremongering over the medevac legislation, some of it by people who have been in Parliament and should know better, is regrettable. But supporters of the bill would do well to acknowledge the loophole in the process. Most who have been brought to Australia for medical treatment in the past have found ways to avoid being returned. It is unlikely this fact has been lost on those now seeking medical treatment in Australia. – Col Nicholson, Hawks Nest

So many questions. So few answers in the firehose of political deceit. How many on Manus and Nauru have been charged with serious offences? Were the offences committed after their arrival? How long has it been since they were charged? Was the government happy to leave them living alongside other asylum seekers if they considered them dangerous? – Judith Fleming, Sawtell

Someone please tell Vanstone we’re not at war, not even with people smugglers. – Rodney Crute, Hunters Hill

Voters tire of being taken for fools

Why has Gladys Berejiklian just announced the ‘‘largest workforce boost in the history of Australian healthcare’’ to the tune of $2.8 billion in the marginal seat of Penrith when the LNP have already been in government for eight years (‘‘Premier pledges 5000 nurses’’, February 18)? Oh, yes there’s an election coming up next month. – Judith Pellow, Black Head

Dear Premier, it is wonderful news that you have pledged funding for 5000 new nurses but what about 5000 dentists to go with them … oh, you didn’t mean dental nurses? – Peter Duckmanton, Pennant Hills

All the pre-election frenzied activity of these politicians is an amusing sight. The 21st century dictum of governance is to ignore inputs from the electorate, turn them into a desperate needy bunch and suddenly give them what is due in a bid to win their votes during the last few months in the lead up to elections.

I hope the delivery of this promise is not contingent on election results. Being taken for fools is getting to be tiresome for voters. – Cristina Corleto, Stanmore

Lessons in the country

While I applaud Labor’s plan to attract the best and brightest to teaching as a career (‘‘ALP’s $40,000 bid to promote teaching jobs’’, February 18), I would also like to see something like the old transfer system implemented so that these new, excellent teachers would consider teaching in country areas for a time. Without a guarantee that they could move back to larger urban areas, many young professionals are wary of making that step. – Anne Szczurowski, Lambton

High-rising to the occasion

As a 26-year-old living in a St Leonards apartment I agree with North Sydney mayor Jilly Gibson (‘‘Drawbridge mentality unfair to young flat dwellers’’, February 18). How refreshing to hear an elected official stick up for young residents. – Mariana Oliveira, St Leonards

Congratulations to Gibson on supporting the combination of high-rise and conservation areas that make up her constituency. Having lived happily in a terrace for 47 years, we appreciate that renovating a former slum is hardly possible for a young family. If we were to bring up children now in this area, it would more likely be in a high-rise apartment. I would add some children-friendly apartments without risky balconies and continued government support of public high-rise, like Kirribilli’s Greenway flats. – Elizabeth Jones, Kirribilli

Gibson’s comments disparage the older residents and organisations who are concerned about overdevelopment (exploitation). We now have a position, particularly in the business and adjacent areas of North Sydney, where the area is over-represented by buildings of 40 storeys or more with little attention to aesthetics. North Sydney is one huge construction zone and is likely to continue for years to come. In spite of what Gibson professes, the area’s character is gradually being destroyed by rampant overdevelopment. – Keith McDonald, North Sydney

Paying for his sins

I read with interest the cursus honorum of climbing the slippery pole of the Liberal Party described as the Camino de Santiago (‘‘Honest Jim gives back $4500 in travel costs’’, CBD, February 18). These spiritual journeys all encompass temporal punishments and I look forward to reading about those in due course. – Maria Conidaris, Hurstville

League of their own

Uplifting photo of the year (‘‘There’s a new game in town’’, February 18). Go the Stags! It was so good to have a brief alternative to the political fracas. More please. – Ken Follows, Erina

The two pictures of the Cherrybrook Stags made my day, especially the cute little fellow in the green boots, with the oversized top and head guard. Such determination. Congrats to the photographer and the parents. Nice to look at something positive about rugby league. – Ashley Berry, Toolijooa

Other people’s money

Gary Sullivan (Letters, February 18), is lucky if he was in a public ward of a public hospital and found the treatment satisfactory. My experience in public wards has been abysmal. I am happy to use my fund payment in the hope that somehow it might improve standards for those unfortunate enough to be uninsured and unable to transfer to private facilities. – Kevin Orr, Blakehurst

I had always believed that membership of private health funds was intended as insurance to cover hospital and other medical costs. Now it seems that members voluntarily pay their huge premiums to create a pool of wealth for the funds and to ask the fund to pay those costs is to use ‘‘somebody else’s money’’.

When hospital treatments are funded by Medicare is that not also using someone else’s money? When we contribute to the Medicare levy it is involuntary, despite most of us being willing participants. If people can afford to pay for a private health fund then the altruistic and reasonable thing to do is use it to ease the strain on Medicare and state health budgets. Who is subsiding whom? – Jennifer De Lacey, Greenwell Point

US should ditch Europe

The Germans, the so-called leaders of Europe, who spend less than 1.5 per cent of GDP on defence have a lot of hide to resist US pressure to get out of the Iranian nuclear deal while also complaining about the US leaving Syria and down-grading its presence in Afghanistan (‘‘Merkel leads charge at Trump’’, February 18).

How many German troops are in both places? Europe wanting the US out? Merkel’s shot over Trump’s bows reeks of hypocrisy. Time to call her bluff and let the Europeans alone deal with Russian expansionism and Iranian sponsorship of terrorism in the Middle East. The US continues to carry by far the largest burden of defending Europe, and Europe’s continued resistance to pressure from the Trump administration to fall in line on policy will ultimately be detrimental to European security. – Michael Clarey, Pyrmont

Greens see red

If Jenny Leong believes internal divisions for the Greens are ‘‘exaggerated’’, can she explain why 13 per cent of the party’s membership recently resigned (‘‘Ex-Green MP lashes party on corporate links’’, February 18)? – Peter Mahoney, Oatley

Wordplay hard to beat

In Larissa Dubecki’s household (‘‘Woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown’’, The Guide, February 18), they prefer to say ‘‘the thick plotenned’’. If the show I’m watching takes a twist (often involving an emotional female) I say ‘‘the ploy sickened’’. – Alicia Dawson, Balmain

The letters regarding words and pronunciations were fun until a letter introduced ‘‘the Irish woman with the beautiful accent’’ and made fun of how she pronounced ‘‘third’’. We Irish have been on the receiving end of this joke for a long time. Maybe a letter from the race discrimination commissioner will wipe the smile off his face. – Ciaran Donnelly, Lane Cove West

On a recent British and Irish Lions rugby tour there was an English player named Billy Twelvetrees. The Irish called him ‘‘turty-six’’. – Terry O’Brien, Mollymook Beach

Horrendous events are now described weakly as being ‘‘unacceptable’’. Anything. Kids pushed to drugs, the disadvantaged being hit in nursing homes. Starvation. – Mary Julian, Glebe

We used to take our animals to the saleyards now we have the Livestock Exchange. The local tip has become the Waste Management Facility. – Robyn Lewis, Raglan

To submit a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, email [email protected]

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