Labor needs to ‘walk the talk’ or risk losing

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Labor needs to ‘walk the talk’ or risk losing

The Coalition will, as is its usual fall-back position, attempt to portray itself to the electorate as the preferred manager for our economy and in turn our individual financial wellbeing.

Australia has weathered the storm of COVID-19 better than most nations. We stand a good chance of rising from its dire economic and health consequences better than most. No doubt, despite significant and serious missteps along the way, the Morrison government will attempt to persuade us that it deserves to be re-elected based on credit for the upsides, that in large part resulted from delegation of federal responsibilities to the states and territories, while dismissing or disguising the downsides for which it should have taken responsibility. It is incumbent on Labor, in order to win the next election, to impress on the electorate where the true credit lies for our better than expected financial and health outcomes. At the same time it must demonstrate how it will retake federal responsibility for effective policy formulation and implementation on fiscal management, climate change action and health issues. Simply put, it must walk the talk or again lose its way on the journey to the next election.
Edward Combes, Wheelers Hill

Morrison on the wrong track
While Anthony Albanese is outlining Labor’s sensible policies on education and improving Australian manufacturing, Scott Morrison is at a Bathurst photo opportunity at his “How good is tour” (“It’s the final quarter and it’s Albanese’s time to kick”, The Age, 6/12).

As Albanese is articulating serious policy positions Morrison is spinning and grinning around in an imported Ford racing car complete with matching outfit and helmet. I wonder if any of the car enthusiasts at Bathurst asked Morrison: “How good is the Australian automotive industry?”
Graeme Henchel, Yarra Glen

Campaigning off to a poor start
The strength of any democracy starts with the depth and breadth of accurate information available to voters and the quality of the debates around this knowledge.

The government’s attempt to scare people about Labor having to work with the Greens, based on a plucked prediction on the election result (“Coalition, ALP fire campaign’s first shots”, The Age, 6/12), a precise prediction even academic experts would refuse to make, does not bode well for the level of debate we can look forward to.
Howard Tankey, Box Hill North

Think independent to safeguard integrity
Many people seem to be confused about the role of an independent member of Parliament. They say “independents are a nuisance”. When asked why, they say independents obstruct the work of the government. I have pointed out that in Victoria recently independents and crossbenchers were able to introduce some safeguards into legislation regarding pandemic restrictions on movement.

With the major parties, most members vote with their party and it’s unusual to cross the floor. So when you vote for one of the major parties, you effectively lose your voice unless you agree with every single tenant of their platform. Now is the time for people to think about this as we question the aims and integrity of our parliamentarians.
Jan Marshall, Brighton

Integrity, as well as policies, needs to be examined
The parliamentary year concluded with the most unedifying behaviour from MPs across the political spectrum and this following the release of the Set the Standard report by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins which laid bare the disgraceful behaviour within Parliament House.

As we prepare to vote in the upcoming election we need to examine not only the policies being advocated but also scrutinise the calibre and integrity of the candidates to determine whether they can serve their electorates and the Parliament with the exemplary standard of behaviour required of our politicians.
Anne Lyon, Camberwell


Teaching merry-go-round
After spending another weekend applying for jobs, in between assessing student work and writing reports, I read Anna Prytz’s story (“Teachers hit by pandemic burnout”, The Age, 6/12) with anger and disbelief. I have 17 years’ teaching experience and every year I spend term four assessing student work, writing reports and applying for jobs because, like most teachers, I have a one-year contract. It’s soul-destroying. I have applied for 22 jobs this year and got one interview at my current school.

With my experience I’m at the top salary level so schools can employ 1.5 newer teachers at the same wage. I’ve heard of large secondary schools not renewing contracts for experienced teachers and employing cheaper graduates. Rather than trying to recruit 5000 more teachers, the government would be better off changing the contract circus and keeping current teachers in the profession.

I’m not burnt out by the pandemic, I’m burnt out by an employment model that treats teachers like expendable drudges.
Rohan Wightman, McKenzie

Protect workers
I expect that Premier Andrews will use TGA’s approval for five to 11-year old children to be vaccinated as a reason to end the ban on unvaccinated Victorians’ freedoms. When he realised that law-abiding but lockdown-fatigued citizens were taking liberties during the extended sixth lockdown, he was pragmatic enough to soften his approach and follow the realistic NSW line. Now he needs to protect vulnerable workers from abuse and assaults. More peace and joy for the Christmas season.
Fr Kevin F. Burke, Sandringham

Photo ID needed
Whenever I show my vaccination certificate, I wonder how they know it’s mine they are looking at with a cursory glance? They don’t, and nobody has ever asked for my picture ID alongside. Instead of showing the date of birth which is irrelevant and embarrassing for some, the certificate should show the holder’s passport photo, which is available to Services Victoria via the driver licence or passport data bases, or which I would be happy to provide.
Ralph Böhmer, St Kilda West

Restrictions end date call
With more than 90 per cent of the population six years and older likely to be fully vaccinated by Easter next year, this may be a date when most restrictions can be lifted permanently. Those suffering serious illness will largely be confined to the wilfully unvaccinated in numbers that should not overwhelm hospitals. The miracle of adaptable mRNA vaccines, together with effective pharmaceutical treatments for the vulnerable will provide cover for a return to normal living. The unvaccinated may need to suffer inconvenience until April 17, a suitable day for society’s resurrection, but having a specified end date would make further protesting redundant.
Peter Barry, Marysville

Path to a liveable future
When reading comments about the inadequacy of Labor’s climate target of 43 per cent reduction in emissions, I am reminded of the situation in 2009 when Labor’s carbon price proposal was rejected by Parliament because it did not go far enough. Twelve years later, our climate situation is dire. But targets can always be improved upon over time. It is to be hoped that at the approaching federal election, voters support the 43 per cent target and at least start the country on the path to a liveable future. And simultaneously show a modicum of leadership to other countries similarly backward about emissions reduction.
Jill Dumsday, Ashburton

Singing same hymn
It is probably inevitable, but also strange that the federal religious discrimination bill hasn’t been questioned – discredited – on educational grounds.

If a school dismissed a teacher because of their political views, among other concerns, we’d question whether that institution was providing “education” or some version of Orwellian groupthink. Requiring that every teacher sing from the same hymn sheet looks less like education than proselytising. If that’s the case in a free, secular society what ought receive government funding predicated on educational principles of openness, equity and honesty?

Only presenting one side of the societal case hardly meets those criteria!
David Baxter, Mornington

Transparency crucial
The government should not give more money to the aged care sector without mandating financial transparency. The public has no way of knowing how providers spend the government subsidy. Do they spend the subsidy on providing nursing care, meals and activities for residents or on sports cars for their executive team?

The public should be told exactly how much is spent on looking after the most vulnerable in our community. After all, it’s taxpayers’ money. We need figures showing exactly what per cent of government subsidies account for the profits within the aged care industry.
Dr Sarah Russell, director, Aged Care Matters

Begin aged care reform
The coverage of the Actuaries Institute’s report on the impact on the federal budget of the cost of aged care reform and increased demand for aged care services (“Aged care spending ’will need to double’”, The Age, 6/12) illustrates the core reason for Australia’s aged care difficulties.

Australian aged care is broken and needs complete reform, because of decades of government focus on cost-cutting, rather than on quality of care. The aged care royal commission reports the system to be “a national disgrace”, “pervaded by substandard care” and that those having to use it suffer from all-round “neglect”. If a royal commission branded any other part of the health system so scathingly, the focus would be on bringing it up to standard.

When it comes to budgetary considerations, it would be better for the federal government to stop wasting money on quick-fixes and get on with the reforms the nation has both the ability and the prosperity to implement.
Ruth Farr, Blackburn South

One alliance is certain
The federal Liberals seek to scare us that Labor’s climate policy will somehow be made overly ambitious due to pressure from the Greens party. The reality is that the Labor Party seeks to govern in its own right. The Liberals in government, however, would undoubtedly be in another alliance and under renewed pressure on climate policy from Barnaby Joyce and the National Party.
Graeme Brewer, Port Melbourne

Nothing to see here
Trust me, the date of birth on your vaccination certificate is perfectly safe (Letters, 6/12). Working in tourism, I am checking lots of certificates every shift. Before vaccine certificates, it was driver’s licences (which also display dates of birth). I have just enough time to check a certificate is valid; I definitely don’t have time to memorise names and dates of birth.
James Proctor, Maiden Gully

Warnings needed
A cooler start to summer shouldn’t delude us into thinking that children won’t be left in hot cars again this year. Major shopping centres and supermarkets could play a vital role in the prevention of tragedies by placing multilingual warning signs in their carparks.

The constant offering of music and advertising provided in many stores could be interspersed with similar warnings. Such initiatives are notable by their absence.
Jim Pilmer, Camberwell

Missing information
Two things about the climate change policies Anthony Albanese has announced need raising. One is that the ALP does not have an emissions reduction target. Its climate change policies have been modelled. The modelling shows that the policies, if implemented successfully, would reduce Australia’s emissions by 43 per cent by 2030. The second thing is that the modelling of the labour market impact of those policies shows the gross outcomes and not the net outcomes.
Michael Angwin, Surrey Hills

It’s the pitch
With the coming of summer and the return of the national game, I again look forward to the many hours I’ll spend watching the keen contests delivered by the Ashes and domestic competitions. Alas, I’ll probably, once again, be forced to turn down the commentary to an inaudible level when Ricky Ponting and others persistently refer to “the pitch” (the 20-odd metres of rolled turf on which the bowlers showcase their craft) as “the wicket”. The “wicket” is the three stumps topped by two bails and named after a small gate placed beside or within a larger one. Please, Ricky, give the long-suffering cricket purists, such as me, a break this summer.
Chris Derwin, Rye

Quota fallacy
The unnamed Liberal Party member who made an interesting and false leap in logic in linking the decision by the ALP in 1994 to set a quota of seats for women only being in government for eight of the past 28 years appears to have ignored another key statistic. This is that in Victoria the ALP has been in government for 20 of the past 28 years, a fact that strongly suggests his assertion about the apparent link between a quota for women and time in federal government for the ALP is a causal fallacy.

The consequences for the Liberals of this logic, which has significantly limited the number of women elected for their party to Federal Parliament, can in my opinion clearly be seen playing out in Canberra this year in the government’s appalling responses to the allegations of sexual harassment and assaults and a rather insipid response to the Jenkins’ report.

The end result for the Liberals of ignoring electoral representation for women may well be the risk of losing enough of the female vote to lose government, an outcome that would not be a causal fallacy but rather a case study of political schadenfreude.
John Togno, Mandurang



So it is official. Scott Morrison is not running on his record. Good idea not to look in the rear-vision mirror. It is not a pretty sight.
Bill King, Camberwell

Mr Morrison, you are warning us again about a potential Labor/Greens coalition. Is it because you have no faith in coalition governments?
Nicholas Tolhurst, Kew

The person who is forced into a coalition with the Nationals is complaining that Labor may be forced into a coalition with the Greens.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick

After a week dealing with girls’ problems, the PM chooses to be “one of the boys” on Mount Panorama. Good look.
Jenny Bone, Surrey Hills

Why is it that with Labor it’s a “cash splash” but with the Liberals it’s a “pledge” or an “investment”?
Margaret Ludowyk, Brunswick

After the past three years of total inaction on everything and anything that required leadership, what can possibly scare us – except more of the same?
Gary Sayer, Warrnambool

Bill Hayden might have said a drover’s dog could beat Mr Morrison. Time to get that snarl on, Mr Albanese!
Moray Byrne, Edithvale

Vale Peter Cundall
Well, that’s your bloomin’ lot, and what a lot you gave us!
Myra Fisher, Brighton East

A bloomin’ wonderful and inspirational presenter.
Mary Fenelon, Doncaster East

Chloe McCardel would make a fine subject for a statue. It would simply be titled Tenacity.
Jon O’Neill, Waurn Ponds

I’d be happy to see a statue of Tayla Harris outside the MCG, Marie Nash (Letters, 6/12). I’d be even happier to see her kicking a football inside.
Lindsay Zoch, Mildura

Bathurst, a six-hour event that you can watch in 10 minutes. Five at the start and five at the finish.
John Rawson, Mernda

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