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Procedural fairness in the eyes of the beholder

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CORRUPTION WATCHDOG:

Procedural fairness in the eyes of the beholder

With no hint of irony, Attorney-General Christian Porter rejects calls for the proposed Commonwealth Integrity Commission to hold public hearings saying the public expects that ‘‘those who come under scrutiny are not denied procedural fairness and are not subjected to trial by allegation’’ (‘‘Pushback on corruption unit plans’’, 3/11).

Meanwhile, Mr Porter has supported the trial of Bernard Collaery and Witness K, the former ASIS officer turned whistleblower, being held behind closed doors with parts in secret on the grounds of ‘‘national security’’. It defies any reason that actions taken in 2004 to bug the Timor-Leste cabinet room have any national security rationale, then or now. Unless Australia is a serial offender in that regard.
Maurice Critchley, Kenthurst, NSW

Commission proposal an arrogant self-serving sham
The proposed federal corruption commission is a sham and immoral. Why should federal Liberal politicians expect to protect themselves from corruption investigation? By contrast, federal Labor, Greens and independent politicians agree that politicians have no right to be sheltered from corruption investigations.

Additionally, why should politicians have discriminatory, lower levels of corruption exposure than public servants and others?

It’s another example of arrogant political self-serving immorality that debases the reputation of politicians in the eyes of the public.
Richard Gould, West Melbourne

Morrison plan is to actively avoid scrutiny
It would appear that the Morrison government’s federal corruption watchdog is being set up to avoid scrutiny of such things as paying 10 times too much for land, buying water from friends for double the cost, doing huge favours for fossil fuel donors, ruining lives with bogus debts, bribing electorates with sports grants and fabricating documents to smear opponents.
Phil Alexander, Eltham

Yearning for honesty and ethics in Parliament
The government has proposed a Commonwealth Integrity Commission that will not allow our right honourable members’ probity to be questioned. Does this reflect a paucity of ethics and honesty in Parliament?
Mike Francis, Fitzroy

Limit on investigation powers shows lack of integrity
Under Christian Porter’s plan for a Commonwealth Integrity Commission, Christine Holgate would be investigated, but suspect actions such as the Sports Rorts and inflated land prices purchased by the government would not be investigated as it would require the government to initiate an investigation into itself.

Unless the CIC can self start on investigations, this legislation is simply a screen that the government can use to claim integrity.
Alan Inchley, Frankston

Holgate delivers timely distraction on PM’s watch
Scott Morrison must be so pleased Ms Holgate has resigned. The story conveniently took attention away from the government’s pathetic federal ICAC.

It is no wonder that this insipid legislation will not be retrospective, is there any logical reason why not? It is not as if a new criminal offence has been legislated.

The main reason for retrospectivity would be the large number of LNP members who would come under attention for activities such as airport land rorts, grants rorts, Great Barrier Reef rorts, robodebt and forged letters.
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha

There is potential integrity in there somewhere
So the integrity commission, conceived and devised by people with little or no integrity, will have to have its potential integrity checked by the people integral to overseeing the disintegration of integrity in public office. Can’t wait.
Mark Brooks, Benalla

THE FORUM

Patient responsibility
As a paediatrician I agree with the health advice, that children must be kept home, even with a mild sniffle (‘‘Kinder: it’s not how it was’’, 3/11). I recently experienced a patient and parent who, after being in my office for 10 or so minutes, admitted that the child had not been to school for over a week because of ‘‘cold’’ symptoms and a cough.

They had been told to get tested but refused ‘‘in case it prolonged border closures’’. This level of thoughtlessness, not only put me and my staff at risk, but also elderly patients accessing specialists in the same building. It also inconvenienced other families while I isolated, got tested and awaited results.

As we ease out of lockdown, it is important that government messaging reminds folk of their responsibilities to the rest of society and not just their own convenience.
Dr Jo McCubbin, Sale

Locals crave crustaceans
The Chinese pick the eyes out of our rock lobsters leaving the Australian market with only the produce they reject (‘‘State’s lobster industry in a stew’’, 3/11). Sell the lobsters to us, not the Chinese. Producers should lower their exposure to the Chinese crustacean market, in retaliation for the tariffs China has put on our agricultural products.
Brian Sanaghan, West Preston

Trade neutrality
It’s time for the Australian government to quit posturing in support of US policy towards China if we value our reliance on Chinese trade. We should abandon our stance in favour of a policy of neutrality.

The Chinese arbitrarily detain our citizens, have refused to take our (contaminated) waste, sanctioned Australian barley and timber exports, and now 20 tonnes of live lobsters are probably going to die on the hard concrete of a Chinese airport. Chinese students are now discouraged to study here, further exacerbated by COVID-19.

Australia heavily over-exploits the lobster fishery, among other exploitations, to support our lifestyle. Will we become less reliant on the selling of our resources, and become more self-sufficient? Soon it will be a choice, one way or the other.
John Marks, Werribee

Excruciating politics
Applying army reservists as a temporary bandaid to extinguish mega bushfires will not turn around the root cause: climate change. Fires will be extinguished, when we stop causing parching droughts that make the land so combustible.

Stop using fossil fuels, stop deforestation, stop methane-producing livestock, stop methane-releasing fracking. The science is irrefutable – the politics is excruciating.
Louise Zattelman, Box Hill

O’Brien and a dog
It’s the fourth day of zero new COVID-19 cases and deaths. What do we get from Michael O’Brien on the evening news on Monday? No encouragement, just a silly question as to whether a man walking a dog in a empty park needs to wear a mask. The answer Michael is yes if you didn’t already know.
John Cain, McCrae

Submarine trials
We could have bought advanced ready-to-dive Japanese submarines at less cost, enhanced our relationship with this regional power and, just quietly, achieved a handshake agreement to end whaling in the southern ocean. Vive la France, certainly, but this time it should have been Banzai.
Lawrence Pope, North Carlton

Electoral gerrymander
A Joe Biden win as US President will be ‘‘a lick of paint’’ on the White House if his administration fails to reform the US’ electoral system. America’s gerrymandered Electoral College has drawn criticism from Australian aficionados of US politics but will it matter to the Democrats if they have a triumphant win?

Most likely the key undemocratic system will stay in place as neither the Democrats or Republicans, after winning a presidential election, move to change it. Donald Trump focused attention on the flawed Electoral College system with his shock win in 2016.

And yet in the next few weeks, if Biden wins, there will be an outpouring of emotion that America’s democracy has been saved.
Des Files, Brunswick

Praise post haste
Recent revelations have described disturbing evidence of corporate greed at the helm of Australia Post in the context of big profits gained during COVID-19 lockdowns.

While acknowledging the work of our health workers, we should also give special thanks to our posties. They have had to deliver 100-plus parcels daily in addition to ordinary mail, working under conditions of less income resulting from reduced numbers of weekly shifts and absence of compensation for heavy workloads and stress.

I am deeply disillusioned by Australia Post. It has succumbed to unethical and inhumane treatment of its ‘‘grassroots’’ staff and has betrayed my trust and confidence.
Rosemary Wearing, Richmond

Plea for calm dialogue
I hope the brutal acts of beheading a teacher and unprovoked killings in a church will not serve as a death-knell for diversity and harmony on our globe. In these politically turbulent and fractured times what we want is for some semblance of calm, empathy and dialogue from our leaders.

I am a beneficiary and a champion of multiculturalism and diversity, for me and countless others it is an essential prerequisite for a civilised life. By embracing diversity and multiculturalism we can embrace difference and go on to respect and live its core values: freedom of expression; and human rights. This is what we need now, not retribution and a retreat into intolerance.
Nalliah Suriyakumaran, Preston

Seeking truths
Nyadol Nyuon’s article (‘‘Taking stock of what life is missing’’, 3/11) is a poignant expression of what is possible, when we search within ourselves. Lockdown has given many of us the opportunity to re-evaluate what it means, when the freedoms we have taken for granted are not permitted.

Sadly for some the pandemic has taken much from them and a recovery road may be hard and long.
Judith Morrison, Mount Waverley

Hospitality failings
Brett Sutton’s advice to ‘‘vote with their feet’’ if hospitality venues are not complying with regulations is great to see. I would go one step further and ask the authorities to be actively encouraging people to report such venues.

This would act as a further incentive to venues to comply, as well as protecting other patrons.
Claire Merry, Wantirna

Gas questions
The Morrison government’s ‘‘emerging technologies’’ package posits hydrogen as the new fuel. But hydrogen has to be ‘‘made’’, generally by electrolysis of water and if the electrical energy for that is supplied from a fossil fuel power station then the ‘‘blue hydrogen’’ produced is just as polluting as the fossil fuel.

About half the energy in burning fuel for conversion to mechanical or electrical power is lost as waste heat. That waste, from everything with an engine, adds to the world’s heat load which is then locked in by the CO2 which produced it.

The only sustainable alternative is ‘‘green hydrogen’’, made with renewable electricity. It is CO2 neutral and the closed cycle of generation and usage means that there is zero net addition of heat load to the atmosphere.
Tom Keeble, Ocean Grove

Bigger fish
That Amanda Vanstone chooses to focus on Christine Holgate’s use of arguably taxpayers’ money to buy watches for staff at Australia Post (‘‘Fancy watches don’t pass the pub test’’, Comment, 2/11) should not surprise anybody.

While the optics are terrible, I suspect most voters would think it is hardly a hanging offence.
Moreover, the amount involved is peanuts compared to the recent examples of public money being spent inappropriately and/or inefficiently by the Morrison government, including the Sports Rorts scandal, the cost of the COVIDSafe app, which has proved to be largely ineffectual in tracing cases and more recently the ‘‘Leppington Triangle’’ fiasco in relation to the western Sydney airport land purchase. The Auditor-General referred this matter directly to the Australian Federal Police for investigation.

Not to mention the robo-debt disaster where the government has been forced by a Federal Court ruling, to return monies to Centrelink recipients.

Would any of the above examples pass the ‘‘pub test’’? I doubt it.
Ian Panther, North Ringwood

Hiding in plain sight
Amanda Vanstone’s vision was restricted to the next election, Christine Holgate’s to the next bonus payment. Both of them agree that dwindling business levels require reduced service levels but retailing has been changed forever by the COVID-19 lockdown and people have now embraced online shopping more than ever.

Jeff Bezos has become the richest person in the world by delivering purchases to his customers. Surely there is an opportunity now for Australia Post to expand services, increase employment and increase profits rather than contract the business to half the service level previously provided.

That opportunity has been hiding in plain sight for most of this year but the only questions being asked of management are about a few expensive baubles.
Gary Sayer, Warrnambool

Torquay Tuesday
It seems the “Ring of Steel” is actually a colander. Torquay Tuesday – few parking spots, huge crowds and many people sitting around (not eating or drinking) without masks.
Jon Apted, Highton

AND ANOTHER THING …

Credit:

Christine Holgate
In a scale of misbehaviour requiring resignation, Christine Holgate comes in a distant fifth behind government ministers, Bridget McKenzie, Angus Taylor, Richard Colbeck and Stuart Robert.
Rosemary Faris, Torquay

After a year of lost opportunities ScoMo claims his first political scalp in Christine Holgate. Gotta start somewhere.
Peter Randles, Pascoe Vale South

Why the big deal over Cartier watches and no drama over $30m paid for a $3m property?
Susan Munday, Bentleigh East

US election
The US is in a catch-22. If they re-elect Trump many more will likely die from COVID-19 and if he loses many will possibly die in the ensuing unrest.
Paul Chivers, Box Hill North

What happened to the vaccine Trump repeatedly assured Americans would be ready before the election?
Graham Williams, Glen Waverley

Coronavirus
Mathematically, a doughnut is a torus. So is a bagel. We have had double doughnut days and bi-bagel days. On Monday we had a TORI TRIO for VicTORIa.
Margaret King, Rosanna

Climate change
Action on climate change versus the inertia of denial. One renewable, the other not.
Andrew Remington, Travancore

Dear Prime Minister, do you really not care about your children’s future survival and their children’s future on our beautiful but fragile planet?
Katriona Fahey, Alphington

Furthermore
Is this the decentralisation that’s been talked about nearly my whole life? (‘‘Melbourne exodus a huge hit to economy’’, 3/11).
Hans Paas, Castlemaine

Finally
Boy! Does Wilcox bring it together beautifully (Cartoon, 3/11).
Patricia Grodski, Heidelberg

Wilcox is spot on. What does the federal government have to hide?
Andy Wain, Rosebud


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