Being clear about what we need to talk about
Who is Bill for?
Why is counselor Rohan Leppert outraged by fellow ecologists simply for suggesting that an alternative to the extraordinary “affirmation-only” approach to treating gender dysphoria is within the realm of clinicians? Never before had doctors and therapists been forced to let the patient make the diagnosis and order the treatment. It turns therapy and medicine into a paradigm of customer service rather than a thoughtful exploration of a multi-factor problem and does a disservice to the patients themselves. Exploring alternative explanations and responses is now a crime, thanks to the conversion therapy bill. Who is it for?
Jenny Kyng, Registered Nurse and
psychotherapist, Tolmans Hill, Tas
Look at Denmark
Sean Kelly (Commentary, 4/4), points out that Anthony Albanese has recently been more assured of forging an alternative narrative based on financing “care” to that adopted by Scott Morrison. Rightly, however, Kelly cautions that the latter is already alleging a failure by the Leader of the Opposition to rule out new taxes. Therein lies the depressing fact that Coalition politicians continue to cling to the neoliberal notion that the state must be reduced to help free markets.
In a civilized Australia, Albanians would push back, confidently citing prominent and prosperous taxing nations such as Denmark and Sweden who subsidize their populations from “womb to grave”. He would cite Denmark, which guarantees parents up to 52 weeks of paid leave, universal childcare and a cash grant for each child. Ideally, ″taxation″ would no longer be used as a reflexive derogatory term, used cynically by self-serving Coalition spokespersons.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza
poverty of ideas
In a climate where none of the major political parties has the courage to undertake substantial, long-term reform, I commend the Australian National University for its research showing that adjustments to pensions and income tax income support could fund increased income support payments and housing assistance, lifting 1 million Australians out of poverty. The article ″Tax cheaters could lift 1 million out of poverty″ (4/4) demonstrates that this is a measured, common sense strategy and I hope Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese can be inspired to integrate it into their timid policies.
Kevin Burke, Sandringham
Following the revelations of Cyril Rioli’s departure from Hawthorn, we are hearing calls for mandatory Indigenous cultural awareness training at all levels of society. It is too late for such training when conscious and unconscious biases have seeped into the attitudes and behavior of many from an early age. This training should be compulsory at the school level. Racism must be eliminated before it takes root.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris
Stick to the game
It’s a shame that Richmond coach Damien Hardwick appears to ignore the fact that it was the Australian Health Protection Senior Committee (AHPPC) that made the isolation decision and not just one premier. The AHPPC is the primary decision-making committee for health emergencies. It is made up of all state and territory health officials and is chaired by Australia’s Chief Medical Officer. The CMO, Professor Paul Kelly, was appointed by the federal government. I would be surprised if Professor Kelly, or any of the state CHOs, would start advising AFL coaches on how to coach.
The Shame of Elder Care
Professor Joseph Ibrahim (Commentary, 2/4) has identified the major problem of increasing funding for residential care for the elderly without fundamentally changing the whole system.
Eleven years ago, my husband received care in three residential facilities. I stayed with him every day and observed the treatment given to people with dementia. In each case, untrained staff yelled at them in insulting and demeaning ways that scared everyone who heard them.
Managers were invisible, locked in their offices, while bullies ran the show, keeping the best hours to themselves. They left the more arduous tasks to the ethnic staff while they huddled, chatted and smoked.
Residents were left alone, sitting against the wall all day in front of a television, often slipping from their chairs. The bells rang continuously as people called for help.
Recently a young friend of mine entered an institution as an intern. She recounted the same negligence I described. She decided to quit. More money poured into this system will only enrich the suppliers, and nothing will change. Name and address provided
Royal review, please
Perhaps it is time for a royal commission to investigate the success or otherwise of royal commissions.
As your correspondent notes (Letters, 4/4), there will be an explosion of baby boomers requiring elder care in the near future. He asks who will pay, and I suggest that baby boomers themselves (I am one) should bear some of the cost. Some of my generation are well off enough to qualify for franking credit refunds and have benefited from negative leverage investment properties. Others ask for advice on how they can give money to their children while maintaining old-age pensions. We baby boomers should demand tax reforms regarding negative gearing and franking credits, so that the wealthy of all generations pay their fair share of taxes. Australians in need can access the services they need if there is sufficient tax revenue. The measure of a civilized society is how well it cares for its vulnerable citizens, but Australia is currently failing this measure.
Louise Kloot, Doncaster
A move to a republic, in addition to allowing Australia to stand on its own feet, will also help heal a large part of society and allow us to collectively reimagine ourselves. Indigenous Australians suffered the most at the hands of the British losing their homeland, language, culture, identity, spirituality, children and, in many cases, their lives. It would also be a positive step for the many descendants of Irish and English convicts who never saw their family or country again. As long as we continue to bow down to family and nation almost as far apart geographically as possible, Australia, as a multicultural nation in which many have no connection to England, will never be whole.
Alan Joyce’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050 and a 25% reduction by 2030 (The Age, 2/4) will only work if there is one airline left to operate. Currently, phone support waits of around three hours are common even for platinum status customers and flight credits accrued during the pandemic are expensive and impossible to redeem. Customers will rightly leave in droves. Wake up and give flyers the respect they deserve and win back our loyalty.
Joanne O’Sullivan, Caulfield
hoping for peace
I remember crying at 18 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. My tears were for the possibility that I would never have children. I now have adult children and grandchildren. My tears are now for them and whatever losses they may suffer.
Will world leaders (mostly male) ever learn that pride, angst/fear and wealth will never make the world a better place. I believe that the women of the world want and need peace and security. Will it happen?
Carol Oliver, Carlton
Areas without morals
″Free Trade Agreement with India″ (4/4) in many ways tells a different story. It is often said that countries have no friends, only interests. Today, many political leaders pursue trade deals with countries where human rights abuses occur. This calls into question the morality on which such agreements are made between governments.
Judith Morrison, Nunawading
My sympathies to Jo Firth (Letters 4/4). It’s simple, change clubs. Join the Saints – a club with a proud Aboriginal history – from Robbie Muir to Nicky Winmar to Paddy Ryder among many others. Don’t expect to win a flag.
Joke what I think too
Vivienne Player, you speak on behalf of a multitude of people who are fed up with the profane behavior of many comedians (Letters, 4/4). I hope some of these comedians take your words to heart and give us some real comedy.
Glenn Murphy, Hampton Park
AND SOMETHING ELSE
Good leadership is about integrity, respect for others, listening well, synthesizing the best ideas, and then being able to deliver by bringing people with you. I don’t see any of those characteristics in Scott Morrison.
Claire Merry, Wantirna
As for Scott Morrison, ″I think he protests too much″ (apologies to Shakespeare).
Brian Morley, Donvale
Scott Morrison says “people will throw all kinds of mud” near an election “and make up all kinds of things.” Pot, kettle, black?
Denis Liubinas, Blairgowrie
Scott Morrison seems to think that his solemn declaration regarding his shortlisting for the seat of Cook would somehow have more credibility than those of his accusers.
Brandon Mack, Deepdene
Scott Morrison lost the shortlist for Cook in 2007, 82 votes to eight, so rushed another vote and won. No wonder so many people have a Trumpian view of democracy.
Kevan Porter, Alphington
If it wasn’t racist allegations and innuendo that turned Morrison’s eight into Michael Towke’s 82, what was?
Margaret Callinan, Hawthorn
Scott Morrison may not be a racist. He undoubtedly courted the multicultural communities of his electorate. This does not refute the allegations of facilitating racism during his screening.
Vivienne Kane, Hawthorn
Exceptional letter from Vivienne Player (4/4). The incessant swearing, body part jokes and shock horror C-words make for a very boring and unfunny comedy festival night.
Alan Williams, Port Melbourne
″Australia’s greatest women’s cricket team of all time″. You have made us proud.
Meg Biggs, East Kew
Forget Box Hill (Letters, 4/4) and Bays Water!
Thelma Di Donna, Bayswater