Dutton’s reckless speech shows his lack of diplomacy


In elementary school, we were taught alliteration in poetry. I was all ears when our alliterative leader jumped in with the august and appropriate “autocracy arc” recently. This linguistic leadership can only be lost or eliminated on election day but, alas and sadly, what a lamentable loss to lose our own arc of alliteration. In the meantime, where are our seven submarines to solve our shortage of ships or consolidate our slippage of the Solomons? Ivan Head, Burradoo

Scott Morrison repeated his flippant mantra that “an arc of autocracy challenges the rules-based order our grandparents guaranteed and democratic freedoms”. I argue that the main threat to Australia’s rules-based order and democratic freedoms comes not from China or Russia, but much closer to home in the form of its government, which does not failed to introduce a federal corruption commission with teeth. John PayneKelso

On Anzac Day, we heard our Prime Minister extol the “rules-based” international order, but in 2019 he said it does not serve our national interests when international institutions demand compliance rather than independent cooperation on global issues. It may surprise him that the rules are supposed to be followed, even if it is sometimes uncomfortable. Of course, our leader is adept at taking a variety of positions when appropriate and it is clear that any rules-based approach to climate and emissions is always an exception. Tony Sullivan, Adamstown Heights

One of the major Pacific relations that Scott Morrison has mishandled is his friendship with France. The country’s strategic influence in the Pacific, with its territories of French Polynesia and Noumea, should have meant that France would be a strong ally in deterring the infiltration of a totalitarian regime into the region. Glen op den Brouw, Liverpool

All the talk about pork is now boar

Does Pork Barrel Even Work (“Time to Rule Out Pork Barrel,” April 26)? I would like to hear from undecided voters in the marginal seats. Do local spending policy commitments really change your voting intentions? Otherwise, it’s a lot of money, time and hot air wasted for no reason. Bronwyn Bryceson, Mangerton

We could simply turn this federal election campaign into an Oprah-style or Ellen-style TV talk show. No real issues, prepared soundtracks, light-hearted questions, two-minute interviews/sound recordings, prepared audiences… and the winner is the one with the biggest advertising budget. On the other hand, everyone wins a car, or at least pork from the magic barrel that keeps giving. Barry Ffrench, Cronulla

Jessica Irvine is, as always, perfect. If we “exclude the barrel”, we may have “the blues on the run”, but the reds are under and in the same bed. Neither is likely to make the changes she details or a federal ICAC with real teeth unless forced by independents.
Graeme Stewart, Palm Beach

Simply put, the age-old hog-barrel practice is a misuse of public money. Taxpayers or public money should be used for the public good, assessed on merit, not for the benefit of the incumbent. Indeed, it’s time to put aside the pork barrel. The ongoing rorts and scandals surrounding the focus on winning elections inevitably diminish public confidence in government.
Steve Ngeow, Chatswood

Maybe someone could let politicians and councilors know that voters now see all of these outlandish promises more like letters to Santa Claus. Most of us don’t expect those many scintillating announcements resulting in sports fields and medical facilities to arrive gift-wrapped after May 21st. So maybe they could stop him. Tracey Meredith-Marx, Wentworth Falls

In order for members of non-marginal electorates to get the same benefits as those of marginal electors, there is a simple solution: vote against your current member. Paul Keys, Cloud Stream

An affront to a hero

The heroism of Martin Clemens, as described so eloquently by Peter Hartcher (“As we watched Taiwan…”, April 26) should be required reading for our politicians and diplomats. If they had the commitment to our neighbors that Clemens had, there would be no possibility of a hostile nation gaining a foothold in the South Pacific. If he were alive today, Clemens would have been baffled by the way Australia has treated another neighbor of his oil revenue rights. The people of Timor-Leste did so much for our country during World War II, but it was forgotten when they needed our help to ensure their financial security. Tony Re, Georges Hall

Giving more to teachers

For too long, teachers have been restricted to platitudes of community-only gratitude and respect (“The teachers are experts worthy of our trust», April 26). Classroom teachers deserve all of these accolades, and more recently we have seen how the economy can come to a halt without their important tasks and skills. Yet most are parents (even grandparents) with families that have their aspirations and needs. Teachers deserve guaranteed real salary increases; they cannot live on gratitude and trust alone. Janice Creenaune, Austinmer

For students to successfully perform “all the academic backflips” of which they are capable, they need parents and teachers who put students’ needs above all their selfish priorities, and who ignore bureaucratic demands and calculations at political purposes. Since the world is already full of backflips, now is the time to focus on forward rolls. Joy Cooksey, Harrington

It’s time for fairness

We have all felt the impact of the rising cost of living (“Supply chain woes to shift globalization”, April 26) or, to put it more meaningfully, a drop in our standard of living. Re-engineering our supply chains and keeping them closer to home, or (amazing thought) home, will cause major breakdowns in economic systems, which will likely cause our standard of living to fall further.
As the Industrial Revolution morphed into globalization, living standards in the Western world soared, but only at the direct expense of the world’s poorest people. It was never morally right, and in our hearts we know it. We must tackle inequality and over-competition generously and creatively. Can we preserve our economic security in a way that does not aggravate our moral laxity? I believe the Australians are ready. Where are the courageous leaders to show us the way? Judith Wheeldon, Roseville Chase

Toll worry rings the loudest

The editorial (“City Pays a Fortune in Tolls: System Needs Improvement,” April 26) mentions the option of broad-based road charges for greater fairness and efficiency. A road user charge that could include congestion pricing could be combined with appropriate compensation of toll road operators not only to spread road costs more evenly, but also to ensure that electric vehicle drivers pay for the use of the road. Vehicle registration fees could be adjusted so that the changes are cost-free for most motorists. Allowing us to use our roads more efficiently. A fair road user charge coupled with congestion pricing is a major economic reform waiting to be achieved. Ross Mewton, North Bondi

In Sydney, don’t ask who the highway tolls for – it tolls for you, and you, and you, and for all mankind. And it rings repeatedly. Doug Walker, Baulkham Hills

worthy words

I would gladly join the campaign to put the “l” back in “vulnerable” (Letters, April 26). In the meantime, can we please remove the “chew” from “opportunity?” Andrew Pringle, Paddington

I would like to join the campaign to put the “l” back in “vulnerable”. After that, can we put the “l” back in “Australia”? Dick PollittMosman

I support the campaign. I am also looking for help in stopping nonsensical airport announcements that your ‘through’ flight to Sydney is ready for boarding. Justin Fleming, North Sydney

It has become prolific but the pronunciation of “ceremony” as “ceremoany” drives me to despair. It’s even on ABC. Donna Wiemann, Balmain

Can I add my pet peeve? The unnecessary attachment of “the event” to various events. Mainly related to the weather. Jo McGahey, Belrose

What about “completely correct”? Is it possible that something is “inexactly true”? John Lees, Castlecrag

Combined misfortunes

Thanks to your correspondent (Letters, April 26). My day is better for reading “wholesale despair and prodigality”. Sally James, Russell Lea

digital vision
Online comment of one of the stories that attracted the most comments from readers yesterday on smh.com.au
A ‘cancer on our democracy’: How to solve Australia’s pork barrel crisis
Since RUkidding: ″⁣ Fixed-term government and no contingencies in budgets. It might help. A federal ICAC with teeth is a must.″⁣

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