The slippery slope to a dictatorship

The slippery slope to a dictatorship

August 27, 2022

Matt GoldingCredit:.

Successive Coalition governments have taught me two things I didn’t want to learn. The first is how easy it is to move from the compassion towards refugees of Malcolm Fraser to the demonising and incarceration of refugees of the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison years. All it takes is to constantly refer to people as illegal (even though there is nothing illegal in seeking asylum) and to portray them as something they are not. The second is how fragile our democracy is.
As Parnell Palme McGuinness writes (Comment, 27/8), we should be grateful to Morrison for showing us how easy it was for a prime minister to take over multiple roles. It is chilling to realise that in the hands of a malevolent PM, how easily our system could lead directly to dictatorship. A declaration under the Biosecurity Act gives the health minister the ability to give any direction that the minister is satisfied is necessary to prevent or control the spread of disease. How easy to use that provision to act as a dictator. How easy to use any disease as a pretext. We need the inquiry into Morrison’s actions to protect our democracy.

Louise Kloot, Doncaster

Awoken from ban
I am very pleased to see (″⁣Military lauds woke war end″⁣, 27/8) the reversal of the former defence minister’s ban on important departmental inclusive celebrations. Sadly, Peter Dutton’s reaction to this confirms yet again his complete insensitivity to others’ life experience.

Elaine Carbines, Belmont

Save the living
It was dismaying to read that $15million will be spent and 50 scientists will try to bring the thylacine (Tasmanian tiger) back from extinction (“Inside the bid to bring back the thylacine”, 27/8). Mammals survived after the asteroid struck about 65 million years ago, but they are now struggling to survive us. Thirty-four of the 320 land mammals known to have lived in Australia in 1788 have become extinct. Another 12 are critically endangered, the step before extinction.
Rather than throwing “crazy” money at the thylacine, surely the priority should be on saving our remaining endangered species by protecting their habitat, removing feral predators, and combating climate change.

Ray Peck, Hawthorn

Back home alone
With regard to bringing back the thylacine, imagine if the millions of dollars that have been invested in this project, with no guarantee of success, were instead directed towards saving the endangered species we still have. With habitat loss being a key driver of our current extinction rate, where do they suppose this thylacine hybrid would reside if successful?
It could possibly come full circle to becoming a lonely zoo exhibit once again.

Sean Burns, Point Cook

The late mail
Australia Post needs to understand in business, sometimes it is a good idea to
make a loss on some items while making a good return on others. That means service and not
simply dollars.

Bruce Dudon, Woodend

Class of their own
I read with bemusement of parents’ loathing for Book Week. As a teacher, I am expected to teach children the manners some parents have failed to. I must feed children breakfast and/or lunch if they have none. I must wake children in my class if they have been up until 4am gaming or on social media. I support children when parental relationships fail. I am expected to provide the meaning of consent, respect for girls and women and the LGBQTI+ community, to stamp out racism and foster resilience and mindfulness in a child.
Somewhere, amid all of this, I have to make sure that each of my students achieves the academic goals in our curriculum. So you will forgive me if I question how taking care of the social, emotional and learning needs of children has suddenly become all the responsibility of the teacher, and why one day of dress-up is too much to ask of parents?

Catherine Mackay, Stawell

No expiry date
Jacqueline Maley (Comment, 21/8) writes of the attack on Salman Rushdie, that it “came 33 years after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini … issued a fatwa against Rushdie, calling on Muslims across the world to kill him”.
Maley’s observation brings to mind two sayings: “Justice delayed, is justice denied” and “Revenge is a dish best served cold”. Both of which it seems, for some in the Muslim world, apply to Rushdie. For those of a certain viewpoint, the fatwa pronounced upon him is divine justice, and the knife attack, a just and retributive punishment carried out by the hand of a faithful jihadi – who, if he had been killed in the attempt, would be hailed as a martyr.
Such vengeful retributive ″⁣justice″⁣ has much in common with ancient vengeance codes of honour, blood and feud – codes which still run through many modern day cultures.
And while for most of us, the attack on Rushdie is attempted murder (unhinged, punitive revenge for a perceived heinous offence), from another perspective it is avenging justice and has no expiry date.

Deborah Morrison,
Malvern East

Give me my points
Re ″⁣Qantas says sorry with $50 discounts” (23/8): I have been waiting in vain for a frequent flyer points refund from Qantas for six months. Why doesn’t Qantas CEO Alan Joyce understand that I won’t be booking any more Qantas flights until I get my points back, bribe or no bribe?

Peter Burton, South Melbourne

Prattle fatigue
Thank you Michael Smith (Letters, 26/8) for ″⁣iconic fatigue″⁣. You can add ″⁣legend″⁣, ″⁣star″⁣ and ″⁣champion″⁣ to your list. Didn’t know we had so many of them.

Bob Utber, Mildura

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