Just keep investigating until he’s found ’guilty’
OK, so NSW Police said it did not have enough admissible evidence to proceed with an investigation against Christian Porter. Well then, let’s set up a kangaroo court to investigate him anyway. And if the kangaroo court finds the same thing, let’s set up an independent inquiry to investigate their independence.
Jim Barber, Parkville
The hounds of the media are baying for blood
One could be forgiven for believing one had emerged from a church into a place of public execution after contrasting the reverential treatment given to Australian of the Year Grace Tame (The Age, 4/3) with the media frenzy of hounds baying for Christian Porter’s blood. My own bewilderment matched his as this show of barbarity, without relief, and without intelligence, became frighteningly real.
Patricia Wiltshire, Montmorency
The only option is for the Attorney-General to resign
The Attorney-General is the first law officer of Australia. Therefore he must be seen to be beyond reproach. The current rape allegation and past allegations of inappropriate conduct with women means there is a perception that he has breached his obligations as attorney-general. He has no choice but to resign.
Geoff McDonald, Newtown
A double standard on presumption of innocence
Christian Porter was Social Services Minister when the robo-debt scheme was introduced. Its key feature was that people accused of owing money to Centrelink had to prove their innocence. This was very distressing for many people, some of whom ended their own lives. Now when Porter is faced with serious allegations, he insists on the presumption of innocence that he denied thousands of others and suggests that having to prove his innocence would undermine our justice system. Does anyone else smell hypocrisy here?
Denny Meadows, Hawthorn
A matter of respect
I note with interest the piece about the presumption of innocence (Opinion, 4/3). It is, without doubt, the linchpin of our criminal justice system. However, it is only quite recently, in a historical legal sense, that a jury could not convict on the uncorroborated evidence of the complainant in a sexual assault trial no matter how credible or reliable the evidence was. That is, the law has considered women or 50per cent of the population to be inherently unreliable witnesses.
This prejudicial attitude is still pervasive in our institutions and systems of public and private authority, the majority of which are male dominated. Too complicated to fix? Too hard to confront? A note to all, particularly men: treat others the way you want to be treated. With respect.
Cheri Lee, criminal barrister, Sorrento
Rowdy, rude questioning
I was appalled by the behaviour of the media when Christian Porter took questions following his speech. No discipline, no adjudicator to order the questions, just an onslaught of unruly reporters yelling out all at once. Whether he is innocent or guilty, he should have been accorded the simple courtesy of disciplined, non-aggressive questioning.
It felt as if this rabble was on a witch-hunt. A dispassionate, apolitical and non-aggressive inquiry is needed, including discussions with the alleged victims’ friends, families and those she was with in 1988, to clarify any known facts and allegations.
Ros de Bruin, Balwyn
So let us have a proper, extended inquiry into the anonymous allegations against Christian Porter. Does anyone really believe this will lead to a firm finding that the then 17-year-old Porter committed rape? Extremely unlikely. But what is almost certain is that any inquiry will test the veracity of the accuser, including this poor woman’s relationships over time as well as her mental health history. Indeed it will entail questioning her parents. Baying for political blood could cause awful – even if unintended – consequences.
Jamie Pearce, Port Melbourne
Bring out Mr Howard
Whilst Scott Morrison can see no reason for an independent inquiry into the allegations against the Attorney-General, many of us remain sceptical when the old war horse, John Howard (The Age, 4/3), is required again to prop up a party on the brink of utter collapse.
Andrew Dowling, Torquay
Try the ’hairdresser test’
Politicians often reference “the pub test” as a good indicator of what the community is thinking. I have always felt that was a very male filter. After my visit to the hairdresser yesterday, I would suggest our government might try “the hairdresser filter”. After all, women make up half the voting population. The broad-ranging discussion showed the Morrison government was not travelling well with many female voters.
Anne Maki, Alphington
Gone are the days when Andrew Peacock offered to resign as Minister for the Army when his then wife Susan appeared in an advertisement for bed sheets, unbeknown to him. If only such expectations still applied today.
Peta Colebatch, Hawthorn
In the heady spin of the Canberra boys’ club, one question stands out. Can Scott Morrison resolve the conundrum in the Attorney-General’s ability to perform his duties while he attends to allegations of misconduct? I give the Prime Minister a four out of 10: one for recognising an issue, one for obfuscation, one for media management and one for diversion. More points to be gained if he recognises Australia’s disgust and starts leading.
Teresa McIntosh, Keysborough
Our communal guilt
I agree wholeheartedly with Jon Faine about the exploitativeness of the “gig economy” – “Uber test case blows up fiction of who’s boss” (Opinion, 4/3). The corollary of this is that all who use services such as Uber, Uber Eats, Menulog and the like are participating in this exploitation of unprotected workers. As are the celebrities who are paid to advertise these “services”. One simple solution: boycott them.
Michael Healy, Surrey Hills
A timely, sensible move …
Most books have their moment in time, in the market and in culture and society. This is why lesser books are sometimes published ahead of better ones: timing and fit is critical. It is fair to say that for the wonderful (for the most part) Dr Seuss books, the time for some of them has passed – “The cancel culture that stole Dr Seuss” (The Age, 4/3).
Emma Borghesi, Mount Martha
… or an over-reaction?
First it was Enid Blyton, then The Muppet Show, now it’s the Dr Seuss books in the Nanny State’s firing line. The Grinch is not satisfied with stealing Christmas, he is now seeking to steal the fun from children’s literature. What a bad lot Noddy, Kermit and Horton must be.
Jon Smith, Leongatha
A strange dichotomy
Some Dr Seuss books are cancelled because of racist undertones but Readings still advertises for sale Martin Luther’s infamous tract, The Jews and Their Lies. Is something amiss here?
Jonathan Slade, South Yarra
Our right to attend, surely
I went along to watch the tabling of the Mental Health Royal Commission’s final report in State Parliament but was turned away at the door. No public gallery, apparently. The person at the door said it might be due to COVID-19. That was funny as there were plenty of people on the train ride in and plenty more in the city, which was understandable given 75per cent of office workers are allowed back in the office. Welcome to the state of democracy in Victoria. Invitation only.
Duncan Cameron, community member, Mental Health Tribunal, Parkdale
A family’s heartbreak
My eldest son Mark, in his early 20s after a diagnosis of schizophrenia, received excellent care by wonderful professionals who held him up after two years of rehabilitation as one of their great successes. He then had a sudden relapse and was admitted to a psychiatric unit. He was supposed to be checked on by staff at designated intervals. This did not happen and they found later he had absented himself from the unit. Tragically for him and for us, he died by suicide a few hours later.
Nearly 20 years later my younger son Daniel developed a psychosis and went to a major hospital’s emergency department in another capital city. After a few days, they referred him to a Melbourne mental health facility for diagnosis. The earliest a psychiatrist could see him was after 13 days. During that long wait he applied for a major IT job, regularly attended the gym and pool, and left an emergency department after waiting an excessive time without being seen. He died by suicide the following day, all this without a diagnosis.
Unless the Royal Commission’s report (The Age, 3/3) is implemented, unnecessary losses such as Mark’s and Daniel’s will be repeated, and the lack of appropriate care will continue to destroy the lives of those who need mental health support and devastate their families.
Brian McKittrick, Dingley Village
It’s power and control
Yet again, sexual attacks are linked to the “attractiveness” of victims – “Anger at ADF chief’s ‘prey’ warning to new recruits” (The Age, 4/3). Was I too “attractive” as an innocent three-year-old when I was “sexually interfered with” by a neighbour? I certainly was not out drinking after midnight. When will powerful men understand that this is about the power and control of the perpetrator? It is not the fault of victims and perpetrators have to take responsibility for their actions.
Name withheld, Kew
Why we must take care
At last, someone with a thinking brain. Congratulations to Pam Cupper – “Sensible measures” (Letters, 4/3). And to all the knockers out there, I ask: Don’t we teach our kids to look both ways before crossing a road? When withdrawing money from an ATM, do we let other people see our pin number? Of course, girls, take care. It’s a jungle out there.
Allan Ainsworth, Werribee
Wonderful front-row seats
I never met Michael Gudinski (The Age, 3/3), but he brought great joy to us and our neighbours. It has been a privilege to see the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen and Elton John perform in the paddock opposite our place. Madison Square Garden, Wembley Stadium – Hanging Rock. That was something. Thanks, Michael
Michael Lishman, Woodend
A world united by music
One observation overlooked in the tributes to Michael Gudinski is that, ultimately, music unites people irrespective of their politics, class or gender, and his networks and friends reflect that wonderful diversity. That is a sign of a great entrepreneur and leader.
Pamela Papadopoulos, South Yarra
In the Black Summer of 2019-20, East Gippsland was in flames: more than one million hectares was burnt and millions of animals died. Yet despite Australia’s horrific extinction record – “Australia’s wildlife loss widens” (The Age, 4/3) – East Gippsland is once again in flames – this time from deliberate, planned burns targeting key unburnt refuges. By the end of the autumn’s burning season, there will be very little forest left unscathed and many more thousands of animals will have lost their lives. This is state government-sanctioned ecocide.
Louise Crisp, Bairnsdale
Surely we have the money
We are spending billions on submarines that may be unfit for service when they are finally built and also talk about raising taxes to pay for aged care. We are meant to be a wealthy country and we have made a lot of money from mining. Why don’t we have the money to make a really caring and safe aged care system?
Chris Hooper, Castlemaine
AND ANOTHER THING
First it was ScoMo, then SloMo, then NoMo and now Nothing to ShowMo. Maybe it’s time to GoMo.
Keith White, Red Hill South
Prime Minister, please restore our faith in the right to the truth. An inquiry now.
Irene Morley, Seaford
Surely the PM and Liberal Party understand Porter cannot remain the chief law officer.
Linelle Gibson, Williamstown
Standing aside is not an admission of guilt. It is an exhibition of integrity.
Bryan Lewis, St Helena
The allegation against Porter, the PM’s handling of it and Reynolds calling Brittany Higgins “a lying cow” raises a huge question mark.
Bruce Dudon, Woodend
Porter’s position as AG is untenable.
Claire Merry, Wantirna
Will the anonymous letter writer have the courage of their convictions to reveal who they are?
Olivia Cuming, Hawthorn
Christian, I suggest you enrol in one of Dan’s seminars on “How to run a press conference”.
Julie Stayner, Mernda
An ″independent inquiry″ at the behest of, and generated, by politicians? An oxymoron methinks.
John Skaro, Malvern
Christian Porter, shaken but not stirred. How disappointing.
Linda Mackie, Collingwood
I wonder how Christine Holgate feels about this whole presumption of innocence thing.
Duncan Steele, Williamstown
After the 2020 COVID bunfight, we thought this year would be fantastic. What a start: Porter, Trump, Dr Seuss. Enough already.
Asa Smith, Montmorency
“Abbott laments modern politics” (3/3). The natural environment laments Abbott’s climate change denialism.
Mark Harwood, Ocean Grove
Message clearly received from General Angus Campbell: get ugly or invite danger (4/3).
Ron Slamowicz, Caulfield North
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