This is disappointing, as well as being selfish

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KRISTINA KENEALLY

This is disappointing, as well as being selfish
The proposed parachuting of Kristina Keneally into the federal seat of Fowler is not only disappointing but also selfish on her part. It is time for Anthony Albanese to show some leadership and retract his endorsement of her.

Politicians of colour in Australia are already woefully under-represented compared to other Western democracies such as the UK, Canada and the United States. The fact that Ms Tu Le, a bright and rising young lawyer of Vietnamese background, is stepping forward to seek nomination as a Labor candidate should be encouraged.

Fowler has a large Vietnamese, Chinese and other ethnic Australian community of approximately 25 per cent and it would not take kindly to being taken for granted.

Already a few Labor luminaries have criticised Ms Keneally’s intention to parachute into Fowler. It is not too late for her to show some grace by withdrawing from her intention to nominate. If she does, she will emerge from this debacle a much stronger and respected Labor personality. If she persists, she may yet live to regret her selfish nomination.
James Tan, Vermont South

Labor has failed its litmus test
News that Senator Kristina Keneally is looking to be parachuted into the safe Labor seat of Fowler in Sydney raises alarming signals for the multicultural communities in Australia.

The ethnic diversity of Fowler has been well-documented, including by the incumbent of that seat. According to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data, Australian ancestry accounts for about 8.1 per cent of Fowler’s population, and more than 75 per cent of its residents have both parents who were born overseas.

Labor had the opportunity to have Tu Le, a Vietnamese-Australian with legal qualifications, represent that diversity in Parliament. And yet, Anthony Albanese, Andrew Giles and Kristina Keneally have faltered when it comes to placing their actions ahead of their rhetoric, which they have circulated to this point with gay abandon.

Labor has failed its litmus test and continues to have little or no traction with the culturally and linguistically diverse communities it purports to represent.
Suresh Rajan, president, Ethnic Communities Council of WA, North Perth, WA

Keneally news raises an exciting prospect
With the possible election to the House of Representatives of Kristina Keneally and perhaps a similar plan for Penny Wong, what an exciting prospect it is to ponder the possibilities for a Keneally-Wong leadership ticket for the ALP.

It’s been a long time since men from either of the major parties led the country with any empathy, transparency, authority and competence. We’ve had enough of secrecy, obfuscation, venality, abuse of power and entitlement. Imagine. The future just might be female.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris

Keneally is the better choice
Yes it would be good for the ALP’s multicultural credentials if the party endorses Vietnamese-Australian lawyer Tu Le for the safe Labor seat of Fowler in western Sydney, but with Chris Hayes retiring at the next federal election, it makes perfect sense that Senator Kristina Keneally, a former NSW premier, has been suggested to be a candidate for the seat, which includes the suburbs of Cabramatta and Fairfield.

Senator Keneally, with her lengthy experience in state and federal politics, stands a better chance for Labor of retaining the seat of Fowler, and Tu Le, who will obviously be disappointed, and who is well-recognised for standing up for exploited migrant workers and for her connection to the Vietnamese and Buddhist communities in the electorate, should be prepared to bide her time, because in the years ahead she could be a significant player in the area for the ALP.
Eric Palm, Gympie, Qld

THE FORUM

We need this model
Your article (“COVID models give different view of future”, The Age, 13/9) underlined what we all now know – that there is considerable uncertainty even among the experts in modelling the effects of reopening our states and territories.

The modelling that is missing, however, is that associated with not opening at 70 per cent and 80 per cent vaccination rates.

For example, what are the various economic and other impacts of sustaining longer term shutdowns within Australia for another month? Another two months? Another three months? What are these impacts on shut-down industries and businesses, on debt levels, on lost education opportunities, on mental health, and so the list goes on.

It is incumbent on our leaders to talk transparently about all forms of modelling, health and otherwise – and to make holistic decisions that take into account the broad range of health and non-health factors.
Jon Morley, Caulfield North

A battle worth fighting
Thank you for the article “Good legacy follows bitter battle” (Education, 13/9) and congratulations to the teachers who took up the campaign for all teachers to be qualified to teach.

Strikes can be unpopular and can cause inconvenience and are not taken lightly. There was invariably little media support, too. But think of the long game, we now have a skilled and professional teaching force.

There are still issues, low levels of ancillary support staff, too many teachers on uncertain contracts and too much political interference in curriculum to name some. With World Teachers Day (5/10) approaching, we all should reflect on how important teachers are and thank them for their commitment.
Greg Hunt, Oak Park

Grief is one thing …
Well said, Nick Brennan (“Grief makes no distinction”, Letters, 13/9). Grief is one thing, revenge another, and then there is the sledgehammer approach to revenge which inevitably takes out the innocent as well as the guilty.

Susan Sontag hit the nail on the head after the 9/11 attacks. By all means let’s all grieve together, but let’s not all be stupid together.
Lindsay Zoch, Mildura

Tudge exposes his own bias
Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge, qualified or not, clearly believes it is his right to obstruct the educational integrity of this nation, to suppress historical facts and any other perspective (“‘Howard on steroids’: History wars reignite over the Anzac legend”, The Age, 11/9). He has exposed his own bias: paternalism, censorship and autocracy.

My father and grandfather served in several wars. They lost all their friends and broader community. Yes, all. An entire paratroop regiment and fishing fleet. They never spoke of war; never attended mass events. Glorious sacrifice? The Fallen? For king and country? They could never “forget” the mass slaughter of a generation.

I grew up on NATO bases in Germany. For decades, German children have learnt about the death camps, in detail. Germans still love their country.

Clearly, neither Mr Tudge nor his colleagues have the moral courage and integrity to accommodate wider perspectives on Australia’s history, whether it be war, colonisation or the genocide of our First Peoples.

Now is the time we moved towards a more open and mature understanding of our history. The good and the ugly.
Maggie Morgan, Northcote

The truth must be told
I am the daughter of an Anzac. My father fought at Lone Pine and died when I was seven from injuries sustained at Gallipoli. I grew up in Victory Square, the Prahran War Memorial – 16 houses rented for a shilling a week to war widows.

I can think of Anzac Day with nothing but sadness. Our soldiers deserve our respect. They sacrificed themselves believing they were doing the right thing. They had been misled and died invading another people’s country to increase the wealth and power of an elite few on the far side of the world.
I have often asked myself if the devastation wrought on the lives of my family and my neighbours was worthwhile. My answer is no.

A third-generation Australian, I am proud of the courage of our defence forces. But I am even more proud of our outstanding history of social innovation and strong sense of responsibility for each other shown once again during the pandemic.

We will be stronger as a nation if we build the understanding of who we are on the truth and the complexity of our history.
Barbara Wertheim, Brunswick

An imagined ‘freedom’
There is an inordinate amount of hyperbolic harrumphing around over “individual liberties” and “freedom of choice”.

Bewilderingly, this is not centred on rights to suffrage or education, but on an imagined freedom that has not before existed.

The only commitment we make when we live in a community is to give up certain choices in the interests of community health and safety. I was in grade 2 when we were lined up for the polio vaccine. No one protested it was an infringement of their rights.

Now, as then, members of the Australian community are required to make a commitment to safeguard millions living together in close proximity, safely.
David Baxter, Mornington

Don’t forget ‘bludger’
Michael Leunig (13/9) demonstrates his knowledge of the Australian vernacular with his use of the words “dobbing” and “snitching”.

No doubt, then, he also knows the word “bludger”, which can be applied to those who refuse to be vaccinated, hoping they will be protected from COVID-19 by the herd immunity that comes from others being vaccinated.
Mike Puleston, Brunswick

Takeaway options
I understand that people are sometimes inadvertently putting the wrong type of garbage in the recyclable bin (“Rise in recyclables sent to landfill”, The Age, 11/9). We live in confusing times.

Due to lockdown restrictions, and our cafes and restaurants still only being allowed to offer takeaways, there is inevitably an increase in the amount of takeaway plastic containers, cups, etc.

When I give myself a treat of a takeaway meal I only choose places that offer compostable containers, cutlery, etc. A bonus side-use of the compostable container is it can become a seed-raising container and the cutlery can be used as markers for what I’ve planted.

So, a useful start could be for everyone to insist that their takeaway containers are of compostable materials. And what do I get? Hopefully, a nice meal plus a feeling of wellbeing that I’ve done the right thing by the environment.
Caroline Heard, Glen Huntly

A garden treat
If you live close enough, and especially if you’re feeling a little grey, treat yourself to a visit to the Fitzroy Gardens. Go now. Their spring annuals are at their peak, and on display throughout. But for sheer perfection, visit the more formal plantings along the paths near the Pavilion Cafe.

There you will find hundreds (or thousands) of gorgeous yellow tulips, mass plantings of polyanthus in a range of vivid colours, and cheerful yellow pansies at the footpath’s edge. They seem to go forever and can banish the grey, at least for a while.

I am so grateful to the managers and staff of our public gardens. They have worked so hard to achieve such beauty to lift our spirits and restore a sense of normality.
Jill Dixon, Northcote

He didn’t think it through
We are all struggling with our mental health with this terrible COVID spread. But the school principal who said he was thinking about his students’ mental health and opening up in breach of public health orders (“Rule-breach school hit by COVID outbreak”, The Age, 13/9) should have thought also about his role in prolonging the lockdown, and the difficulty now for all those students and their families who have to quarantine for two weeks, some of whom may become sicker.

He has contributed significantly to the spread of COVID, and to the extension of the lockdown, as have all of those construction sites where tradespeople work without masks. And all of us suffer.
Peta Colebatch, Hawthorn

Lowering the bar
It’s 11.47am on Sunday on Gilbert Street in Torquay. The footpaths are filled with tourists openly and loudly exclaiming that they have escaped lockdown in Melbourne. Families, young people and all those in between sit sipping their lattes.

And with more than 390 cases of COVID in Victoria the day before, the level of care from my fellow humans could not be lower.

It’s time for some serious penalties. Time for a significant increase in police presence. And it’s time for people to do the right thing.
Andrew Dowling, Torquay

Reclaim the riverfront
With the development of the beautiful riverfront walk along the Yarra River beside the Paper Mills development in Alphington it is becoming even more necessary to reclaim the adjacent Yarra riverfront from the Latrobe Golf Club.

The golf club has been a good custodian and has beautifully maintained the river bank along its section, but it is time to return it to its rightful place – as public space and as access from the north side of the river to the Darebin Creek Trail and the footbridge over the Yarra.

The Ivanhoe Public Golf Club has safely excised its links from the Yarra banks with a tall mesh fence, it would be easy, though naturally involving some expense, to do the same along this section of the Yarra. David Williams, Alphington

AND ANOTHER THING

Politics
There would be no role for “hindsight heroes” if not for “foresight failures”.
Dale Crisp, Brighton

Credit:

Team “Guy”. So appropriate: the”old (white, middle-aged) boys’ network”.
Myra Fisher, Brighton East

Matthew Guy talks the talk but doesn’t walk the women into shadow cabinet.
Rob Hocart, Tyabb

Tony Abbott
It’s less Australian to let the rest of the team do the batting for you, Tony Abbott.
Eric Kopp, Flinders

Climate change
Hopefully the born-again climate change believers in the Murdoch media will now promote the single measure that led to a major reduction in our emissions – a carbon tax.
Peter McCarthy, Mentone

The pandemic
The virus can’t move by itself.
Rod Matthews, Fairfield

What on earth did we read about in the paper or listen to on the wireless before COVID-19 became part of the lexicon?
Jan Lowe, Greensborough

A big thanks to the Fitzroy Community School for acting as a control group in the experiment of what will happen if we open schools up too early.
Graeme Gardner, Reservoir

The footy
The last time Melbourne won the flag (1964), the Olympics were in Tokyo. Omen, anyone?
Geoff Combe, Cheltenham

Furthermore
Tim Smith has been appointed shadow minister for COVID-19 recovery co-ordination. Will a bat cull be part of that recovery?
Barry Kranz, Mount Clear

Finally
If snitching is “not part of the Australian character”, how about turning a blind eye, e.g. deaths in custody, Manus Island, corruption in government, the climate emergency …?
Bernd Rieve, Brighton

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